A couple of days ago, my good friend, and fellow Jurassic Mom, Nasim, texted me and asked if I could meet up for a Moms Night Out.
In every group of Moms, there is always one Mom that organizes outings to get out of the house and away from the kids… And in our group, this person is Nasim. Nasim is loads of fun to be around and she has been blessed with the ability to locate some of the best and most quaint establishments in the city that feature great wine and Tapas.
If you don’t know, Jurassic Moms love to eat Tapas. I haven’t met one who doesn’t… And whenever we go out, we drink great wine, and enjoy portioned servings of caprese salad and macaroni balls… Also deviled eggs, which have made a HUGE comeback in these fine establishments, but have been given cute names like “Bird in an egg,” Or “Picnic Niblet.”
Whenever I go to a Tapas Bar in Los Angeles, I’m constantly looking around for celebrities. Everyone in Los Angeles is always trying to spot celebrities, and if they tell you they aren’t, they are lying liars.
Celebrities are like magical unicorns here… They are both everywhere and nowhere at the same time… And if you try to hunt them, you will never see them… They are like leprechauns that will pop out when you least expect them… You can walk Hollywood Boulevard for ten years and never see one, but one day be filling a prescription at Rite Aid, and look over and see Simon Cowell buying Dental Floss.
This is a big draw of living in Los Angeles, and it’s an especially big draw for someone like me, who spent her formative years in small Texas towns. I only remember seeing a real bonefide-in-person celebrity one time… And that was at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Abilene, where myself and some girls scouts lined up thirty people deep to get an autograph from Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who played for the Dallas Cowboys. None of us knew who Ed Jones was, but the scoutmaster insisted our Dads would appreciate the effort.
When we finally made our way to the front of the line to get our moment of facetime with ‘Too Tall,’ throngs of people were around him, and at one point, someone shouted… “Hey, Too Tall Jones! Will you hold my football?”
He did, and his fingers were as strange and long as E.T.’s. He held a football with the same kind of effortlessness that I have when I hold a can of Diet Coke…. And when I finally came face-to-face with “Too Tall,” I was really nervous, and my hands were shaking… Then, we had this conversation:
Too Tall Jones (friendly in a fatherly way): What’s your name, or should I write Miss America because you’re just that pretty.
Me : (overwhelmed by the flattery from a celebrity athlete and speaking with a dry mouth): Thank you, sir. This autograph isn’t for me. Please make it out to Charles Bridges.
Too Tall Jones: Is he your boyfriend?
Me: I have no boyfriend, sir. I will be giving this one to my father.
Too Tall (handing me the sheet of paper): Here you go! Tell your dad I said Hi… Enjoy this coupon for a three-piece chicken dinner.
That interchange with celebrity Ed “Too Tall” Jones, was water to my thirsty soul. There is no validation like celebrity validation, and if you disagree with me, you’re lying.
Now… If you do go to a popular tapas place in LA, you may spot a celebrity. This is true… And you especially have a good chance of spotting a Kardashian as they L-O-V-E tapas. At almost every tapas establishment I have been to, one of the wait staff has related a Karadashian was just there.
This makes me think the Kardashians eat tapas for pretty much every meal, and I walk into every tapas place thinking I will see one of them, but as of this writing, I never have.
The Kardashians are a family of Tapas Bigfoots with very high pitched voices. I’m sure one day when I least expect it, I will see a Kardashian eating a tuna tartar slider… But until that time, I’ll keep looking.
After a glass of really good Pinot, we retired to the main restaurant, for Tapas and conversation.
There were four of us. Me, Nasim (the organizer), Monica (Gorgeous, successful and a former prom queen), and Stacey (Beautiful successful blond).
We hadn’t been seated for five minutes when I thought I had witnessed a celebrity sighting just two tables down from us… and I said.. “Look you guys, that’s Ian Ziering.”
“That is definitely not Ian Ziering,” Nasim told me, who is an expert at celebrity sighting.
And it wasn’t. Upon closer inspection, it was a bald man over sixty.
What can I say… Through the haze of wine and a handmade mozzarella ball, everyone looks like Ian Ziering to me. I am terrible at spotting celebrities. They have to practically be sitting on me.
This turned the conversation to the popular 90’s television show… 90210… Which tells the simple all-American story of two normal mid-western teenagers, moving to Beverly Hills, and fitting in perfectly with the richest kids on earth, which affords them the opportunity to attend prom at the Beverly Hilton… hang out at the Peach Pit After Dark… and eventually rally around Tori Spelling (now a Jurassic Mom herself), and chant DONNA MARTIN GRADUATES over-and-over until it was burned into the brains of everyone who watched the show.
Then, we discussed who our celebrity 90210 crush was…
We all agreed in the 90’s it was either Brandon or Dylan. Brandon for me, as I’ve always had a thing for nice guys.
But then, I took a higher stance, and said, “You know what, you guys? If I had to pick one of those guys now… I wouldn’t choose Brandon or Dylan… I’d choose Brandon’s Dad because he is closer to my age than those high school guys, and he really cares about his kids… And he has a great job.”
The ladies groaned at the thought of celebrity crushing on the 90210 Dad, and it was during my monologue listing the attributes of a middle-aged gentleman with a receding hairline, a hairy chest, and a gentle but firm discipline technique, that something caught Nasim’s eye:
“Oh. My. God… It’s Sean Astin,” she exclaimed.
And lo… Not a mere fifty feet from our table, sat the son of television’s Patty Duke… The underdog Football Hero, Rudy… Samwise Gamgee, the faithful friend of Frodo, but most importantly Michael “Mikey” Walsh of Goonies fame.
We were watching Sean Astin feed in the wild… There he sat, munching on tiny crab cakes and overpriced brussels sprouts… We had spotted THE WHITE WHALE!
In a word, he was… “MY PRECIOUS.”
Back in the late twentieth century, there was little publication called TIGER BEAT, and Sean Astin was one of the Princes of Tiger Beat, along with fellow royalty, Ricky Schroder, Jason Bateman, and the guys from Menudo.
Nasim, immediately began collecting her things. “We are getting a picture with Sean Astin.”
THE HUNT WAS ON!!!
What?!?!? Right now?!?!?
Admiring a celebrity from across the room is one thing… Approaching them while they eat… That is something else entirely… That kind of hubris can be dangerous… For every great story about celebrity run-ins, there are a mass of horror stories. Russel Crowe, throwing a phone… Sean Penn punching a camera guy… Sweet Reese Witherspoon shouting “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!?!” as she is hauled off to the can… They can be wild and untamed and you must approach them with caution.
We had a good fifty feet to figure out our game plan.
We sat in silence watching our prey. He was feeding with a friend, a man with a beard. They were conversing…This was probably the conversation between these two guys:
Sean Astin: (Quietly eating)
Bearded Friend: Holy crap. I am the luckiest man alive to be sitting here with you, celebrity, Sean Astin, and eating this quail egg fritata… This Argentinean Malbec compliments well your flawless complexion that hasn’t aged a day since you were in RUDY.
And on a side note, Sean Astin looked exactly like what Sean Astin is supposed to look like. Let me drop this on you… The final LOTR film, Return of the King, was released in 2003… That was over 10 years ago!!!! But he looks EXACTLY THE SAME. He hasn’t aged.
He’s a unicorn.
There’s a saying around here: You can admire a magical unicorn.. But if you try to feed it sugar, it will melt your face and turn you into a troll. (That’s actually not a saying… I just made that up).
I was beginning to feel confident… The 1980’s Tiger Beat knowledge I’d amassed as a young tween was growing inside me and filling my veins like a fresh can of NEW COKE. I was beginning to feel that same strength I’d had as a young girl scout standing in line at the KFC.
“We are doing this,” I told them. “Goonies never say die!”
Stacy looked at me as if I’d expelled a genuine Kobe Beef Mini-Slider Stinkbomb… “Please, don’t say that in front of Sean Astin.”
Monica gently put her hand on my shoulder… “If you say that, I swear to God, I will slap you.”
Then Nasim piped up, and said these oddly familiar words perfectly applied to our situation…
“No, ladies… Amy is right. Don’t you realize? The next time we see sky, it will be at the beach with our kids. The next time we take a test, it will be at the DMV… We are parents and we want the best stuff for our kids.. And out there, we do what’s best for them.. Because it’s their time… Their time out there… But in here… In here, at this high-end Tapas restaurant with half-priced wine and calamari fried in duck oil, it’s our time. It’s our time in here! And that’s all over the second we get the check and pay the valet.”
Then, Monica put her hand in the center of the table above the fois gras.
“I’m in,” she said.
Stacy put her hand in as well…”I’m in.”
Nasim put her had on top… “I’m in as well.”
I was last to go… “Let’s do this thing.”
“What’s our plan?” Nasim asked.
And then it hit me… I remembered seeing a trailer for a new movie entitled MOMS NIGHT OUT. It opens next week, and guess who’s in it? If you guessed Sean Astin, you would be right…
MOMS NIGHT OUT was the treasure map that would lead us to the One-Eyed-Willy.
“Okay,” I said… “We have a way in now… We just walk up to him and say… Hello Sean Astin… We are a group of ladies on a MOMS NIGHT OUT, and you are in a movie called MOMS NIGHT OUT… Imagine the coincidence. Please take a picture with us.”
“Great!” Nasim said. “You’ll do it!”
And with the strength of four Texas-born girl scouts standing in line at the KFC, we marched across the restaurant and asked celebrity Sean Astin, of Goonies fame and Tiger Beat Centerfolds, for a picture…
At least… I think we did… Because I do not remember a single thing that happened… Other than this… I rushed his table and shouted… “Hi Gentleman! We are four adult women on a moms night out!”
After that, I flew into the sun…
This is what I will say about my facetime with Sean Astin:
God chooses only very special people like Sean Astin to be teenage dream machines…
And somehow, after all these years, Sean Astin, is still as humble as dreamy as he was in any TIGER BEAT photo, reclining against a stool with a flared collar and a Rubix Cube.
Sean Astin asked about my blog and I told Sean Astin it was called Jurassic Mom and Sean Astin said that was a great name for a blog.
If you can’t tell, I am on a mission to use the words Sean Astin as much as possible.
I share with you this photograph, taken with celebrity, Sean Astin, featured in the movie MOMS NIGHT OUT, with a group of four adult women on a MOMS NIGHT OUT.
I am feeling very confident now. And there is no confidence like Tapas Confidence.
90210 Dad… I’m coming for you next.