Every year on June 24, the Canadian province of Quebec celebrates its "national" holiday, La Fete de St. Jean Baptiste. Booze is drunk, fireworks are launched and people raise their fist in what is arguably the strongest show of inebriated national pride for any territory on the face of the Earth not officially a nation.
This year, while celebtating St. Jean with hundreds of festive Quebeckers at a raging house party in suburban Montreal, I overheard a friend, Anaïs, say something to the effect of: "Elle a shagé avec lui, pas plus" (Translation: She shagged him, nothing else.)
Now this piqued my interest. I pushed the dirty shagadelic thoughts of a celebrating Quebecoise from my mind and thought to myself: Did Anaïs just use "shag" as a French verb? In the past tense? I'm not sure about you, but back in my day, when we learned French in school, they never taught us how to conjuagate the verb "shag." No, in the wonderful French-learning world of english speaking public school, shagging was definitely out of the question. Especially in the past tense.
Fast forward to four days later. I'm in New York minding my own business and finishing up the remains of my 99 cent McChicken on the side walk on some quiet street in the West Village when who do I see? None other than the man responsible for a generation of native French speakers who euphemistically describe faire l'amour, Mike Myers.
So, of course, I stroll up to Wayne/Austin/Dr.Evil/Shrek et al, shake his hand, praise his work, get a pic and provide him with a business card for this website. All in all about the most surreal and awkward 60 seconds of my life. Funny how one minute you can be lost in your own thoughts enjoying low-priced processed poulty and another you bump into the person responsible for embedding the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody into the mind of every person born after 1977. It's not every day you meet a living legend. But some days you do. Or did. There's that past tense again.
Anyhow, Mike's probably the most normal guy I've ever met. Scarily normal. He was even with his wife who stood on the corner, tapped her her toe and checked her watch. Eeerily normal, but in an absolutely unforgettable kind of way.
Did I tell him about his linguistic influence on the masses of Quebec? Alas, no. I forgot. Call me evil if you will, call me not worthy if need be, but remember, be thankful for good old words. That's the beauty with writing words instead of speaking words: Forget to bring up that fun little anecdote about some random overheard french conversation during a chance encounter with a multi-talented pop-culture influencing catchphrase creator? You did! Well then just get yourself in front of a computer and fire the words in there exactly how you imagined. And this time, include the word "alas" without receiving an Austin Powers-strength judo chop from a man wearing a wedding band.
And, be able to write, "You put the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong syllABle." while completely alienating all but the hardcore Mike Myers fans.