I’m trying to just eat my chicken because goddamn, it’s good chicken, but finally I look up. These two guys are in their 20s and they’re acting kind of formal and nervous and I already know what’s going to come out of their mouth before they do. When I look up, it’s like that button in their brain got pressed and, like, it sets off this chain reaction and then the question, that same question as always, drips into his throat and drops out of his mouth and hits the ground with a splat.
“Hey, uh, aren’t you Kevin Smith?” Guy Number 1 asks, nervously looking over to his friend for validation. Guy Number two nods in support. Good man.
“Nah, I just look like him”, I tell him. If I’m lucky, they’ll laugh and walk off, but Lady Luck’s off fucking her new boyfriend or something because I get Option B.
“Oh man, it IS you! You rock, dude!” Guy Number 2 is also enthusiastic and starts praising all of ‘my’ movies. I raise a hand. “Hey, whoa, seriously guys, I’m not the him. I just look a little like him, but I swear, it’s not me.”
What they hear and what I say seem to be two entirely different things. From the look on their faces, I can tell that what they heard was ‘You got me, I’m Kevin Smith. Like a Leprachaun who’s been caught by the toe, I now owe you cameos in my next film which I’m presumably making in this town for some reason’.
They start telling me how great Chasing Amy was, how much they liked Clerks and are glad “I” didn’t use the original violent ending. They talk about how Jay and Silent Bob Strikes back is “awesome” even though it “totally sells out”, and more. I keep trying to tell ‘em it’s not me.
While this whole thing is going down, my awesome chicken is entropying all over my goddamn plate. If I don’t eat this delicious meal it’s going to be a sub-awesome chunk of congealed chicken faces next to a rock-hard lump of cold rice, so I need to wrap this up.
“Hey guys, I’m on a tight schedule. I gotta finish this and get back to work.” <- Entirely true sentence, but I accurately figure that these guys will interpret it through their Kevin Smith colored glasses as an affirmation that I’m who they think I am. They back off, nodding, and keep thanking me for being “so awesome”. Fuck, where was all this when I was in High School cramming bytes through our old network and Not Playing Sports like the fat nerd I was? I have an excess of ‘awesome’, and it’s all counterfeit.
I start sliding that delicious fucking chicken down my throat again and get back on the pepper-induced Endorphin release train. Awww yeah, this is what it’s all about. I see them looking over at me a few more times while I eat, but I’m buried in my phone reading a book. Do Not Establish Eye Contact. Good advice from my visit to the primate cage at the Zoo, completely applicable for all the uncaged monkeys that walk around in clothes every day in the civilized world too.
When I’m done, I pay and start to head out. This apparently marks me as a conversation target again briefly.
Guy Number 2 yells out “Hey, are you like scouting out places to film here in Eugene?” and I pause. Do I protest the ID mixup again? Or do I bend like a willow and start demanding blowjobs? I choose somewhere halfway between the two: “No, nope. Not at all.” It’s true, I’m not scouting out filming locations because I’m not fucking Kevin Smith.
Guy Number 2 and Guy Number 1 share a conspiratorial nod, then respond back as I’m heading out the door: “Totally, man, that’s exactly what you’d HAVE to say, right?”
Yep, it was. But I’m still not Kevin Smith.