King Solomon’s Cigar, Jack’s life in College, and the Hamburglar Experience


In June, 2009, we attended the CineVegas Film Festival because Norman had participated in a documentary film that had been accepted into the Cinevegas Film Festival. The Director personally invited us and got us passes to the event. We had no idea what to expect, having never attended CineVegas, nor had we stayed at the Palms Place Hotel. We had three days to find out.We got all checked into our suite at Palms Place, and quickly realized, THIS IS PARTY HOTEL. (Duh!) We still didn’t realize the full impact of this fact until we started exploring the hotel. Sure, I had called the hotel before booking, to see if, based on Norman looking like an international superstar, we could get a VIP pass to all of the clubs. Having been successful, this helped us in our “exploration” efforts, no lines, etc. Our first experience was at the “Ditch Friday’s” pool party. We were escorted past all of thehanburglar lines and straight to the pool area. Never before had we seen so many drunk 20 somethings in the same place. Now we knew how the event got its name.So we thought we’d take a stroll around the pool then, we would head out and sort of stay under the radar the whole time. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Norman was MOBBED by at least forty people around the pool. After about thirty photos, Norman’s business suit covered in water, the VP of the hotel asked if he could “get us anything we wanted”. Okay, so that was within the first hour of our mini-vacation. We never got home earlier than 4 am. The loud party music in the elevators was just as loud at 4 am as it was at 4 pm. We had to be escorted out of a potentially-dangerous mob scene only twice. One woman actually pushed me away while she took a photo with “Jack”. I told her, “Don’t ever touch me again and that was the rudest thing I have ever seen.”

Surprisingly, in spite of her over-consumption of alcohol, after I said that, she instantly transformed from a fierce stalker from hell, to an apologetic business woman. I told her, “I forgive you”, and all was well again.Strangely, a few minutes later, another extremely rude person walked up to “Jack” (most people are really nice!) and asked to get his photo taken. He obnoxiously handed Norman his drink to hold, which I quickly took and placed onto a table. Meanwhile, he asked “Jack” for a cigar, and Norman gave him one. Then this fine gentleman turned around and started yelling at me for putting his (empty) drink on the table. Okay, then I turned ridiculously rude myself. I actually tried to take the cigar back from him. I didn’t think he deserved it. It was like King Solomon and the baby; we were fighting over the cigar in a way that was surely to rip it in half. I finally gave up, like every good cigar mother would do. Okay, yes, I hit a low point, but he deserved it.Later he tweeted that he had “partied with Jack” all night and I burst his bubble. Okay, another low point, but he was the second rudest person I had ever met, two in one night!The overall mob situation escalated, so a gentleman decided to play our bodyguard and escort us to another part of the club. Astonishingly, this man, convinced Norman was Jack, and carried on as if he went to college with Jack, for about an hour. The price you pay for protection! I don’t think Jack even went to college, did he?Next we were off to the club at the top of the hotel. An older gentleman, very sweet, bought us both drinks and talked to  “Jack”, as if he had known him for 20 years. He didn’t make a big deal about “Jack’s” celebrity status, it was more of a man-to-man discussion about life in general.When Norman told a newlywed couple sitting next to us that we had met and married in 5 days, which is true, the older gentleman assumed we had JUST MET AND MARRIED WITHIN 5 DAYS. So he leaned over to me and in a hopeless tone, said, “Well I hope it lasts.” I couldn’t tell him we had been married for 17 years. I just couldn’t wreck his day by telling him Norman was Norman and not Jack. It’s a slippery slope and once you start pleasing people to the level like this, unless they ask, we don’t tell. It is our “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. There is a fine line between making someone’s day and ruining it. We prefer to make it. Is this unethical? What are your thoughts?

By the third and final day, we had hit every club at the Palms and many more outside the Palms and had been written up by numerous reporters, bloggers, celebrity review sites, and more. Some reporters took the whole “Jack” thing very lightly and others who showed a bit of repressed anger that they were “fooled” by Norman’s look, but each had their own angle on why Norman was at the film fest. Watching Norman get interviewed by reporters on the red carpet was a hoot, he is always entertaining and makes everyone laugh. Part of Norman’s humor is that he can’t hear very well (remember, he is a full-time high school art teacher) and he tends to sometimes, well, um, misunderstand the questions being asked due to his hearing problem. So his answers are even more bazaar than they should be!

On our return home, we stopped at McDonald’s in god-only-knows-where, a small town with a lot of trucks. We got to the front of the line and Norman ordered a hamburger. I ordered a salad. Norman said he had to go to the restroom, he gave me $20 to pay. While Norman was gone, I noticed the pimply-faced teenager behind the counter looking at me in a strange way. As I pushed the $20 across the counter to him, he slowly pulled it toward himself. The whole money exchange seemed to be in slow-motion and very surreal. The teen just kept staring at me, it was like an eternity, then finally he reached into the cash register and pulled out a pen. He marked the $20 and said, “I’m saving THAT one for later” and he slipped it into the drawer. It didn’t occur to me until a few minutes later that his odd behavior was because he thought Norman was Jack. If that was his thought process, why would Jack be eating at a McDonalds instead of being at the Lakers Championship game at the Staples Center? I guess that made the whole thing even more bizarre to the poor kid. The historical basketball game continued to play as we chowed down our burger and salad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s