Every week I am reminded by how unfamous I am when I’m mistaken for Hugh Jackman.
Regular readers will know that this started about 6 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. We’re the same height, both from Australia, I bear more than a passing resemblance but most importantly I live in a city of people who are desperate to see celebrities.
And I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t used it to get tables in restaurants, attention in stores and getting to the top of wait lists. You don’t have to say anything, the person in front of you will do all the presumption and the work. Profiting off the hard work of other people has its benefits, that’s for sure.
But here’s the odd thing. Though raised with no religion, I seem to have inherited a Catholic/Protestant/Jewish work ethic/guilt/shame thing and feel that somehow these fringe benefits I get are undeserved. Which, of course, they are. But rather than simply enjoying the strange genetic lottery that fate has thrown my way, I feel that I need to work for it.
So, I consider myself something of an ambassador for the man.
Paul coined a wonderful term, “You’re getting Hughed,” to alert me to when someone is mistaking me for that all-singing, all-dancing, all-helping-Jennifer-Lawrence-up-from-her-fall-at-the-Oscars, all-round nice guy. And when such a moment is happening, if I am a douche, then people will think Hugh is a douche. And this is where I can do the smallest amount of payback.
Given that the Oscars has been just recently, the Hughing cycle is kicking into high gear. So Paul and I were recently at the Grove getting things for the house. I had to dash to the loo for a pee and being a fancy-schmancy place like the Grove is, there’s a bathroom attendant guy working there.
I get Hughed before I’ve even had time to unzip. I get the nod, the smile, the OMG internal moment, the act natural recovery and the loud silence. I’m suddenly conscious of how loudly I pee. And I’m like a Russian racehorse with all the water I’ve been drinking in this heat. Just me, and the guy, and my pee.
God, this pee is long.
Finally done, I wash my hands, and chat to the guy.
Me: G’day mate, how you goin’?
I see the Australian accent confirm my Hughness for him. He is writing a tweet in his head.
Guy: Awesome man, how are you?
Me: Great, you know. Getting things for the house.
He hands me a towel. I wipe up, hand it back to him with a smile and open my wallet to give him a tip.
Not everyone tips this guy. I think they should, it’s a tipping culture and he’s providing a service. I’d happily drop the guy a single, which is the standard tip per drink that you order in a bar. But to him, I’m not Karl, I’m Hugh. So, here is the dilemma. I probably should be more generous… a fiver is nice. But is that ostentatious? Is that cheap? I don’t know any celebrities, what do they tip? Somehow the math of celebrity tipping resolves with a “more than normal, nothing stupid” result of a fiver. And, I did dodge that wait line at that restaurant last week.
I then discover that all of this is a moot point because my wallet is empty. I always swore I’d never be one of those Creative Directors that never has money on them, yet there I was, cashless. I am scarlet with embarrassment. I’m such a fucking Angelino sometimes.
Me: Oh man, I’m so sorry, I haven’t got a cent on me.
The guy is seriously disappointed but hides it well.
Guy: Oh, yeah, that’s cool. You probably… yeah no problem.
I have no idea where he was going with the, “You probably… ,” thing. You probably have people who follow you around and pay for things. You probably don’t have to carry cash. You probably haven’t had to carry a wallet since X-Men. Whatever it was, I was feeling like a douche. And that makes Hugh a douche too. And the Catholic/Protestant/Jewish thing was making my temples pump with shame. That tweet he was writing in his head just turned into a twat.
Me: I’m sorry…
And he makes the “everything’s cool” motion with his hands as I scurry away into the daylight.
And this is where it gets really dumb. I run to find Paul.
Me: Babe, I need some cash because the attendant in the bathroom thinks I’m Hugh Jackman and I have no money to tip him with.
Paul doesn’t even blink, he just looks at me for a microsecond before reaching fishing out his wallet and handing me a single.
He grabs another single.
He gives me a look. I give him the, “C’mon just don’t… ,” look. He hands me a five.
I race back into the bathroom. The guy’s face lights up as he sees me swing back in with his tip and drop it into his crystal tip bowl.
Guy: Oh dude, thanks man.
Me: No worries.
He beams and goes for the bro-shake and I of course, comply. He can see that I need to go, not because I have anything movie star important to do, I just need to escape the crushing awkwardness of this moment.
And on my way out the door, when I know I’m scott free, I can’t help myself…
Me: Hey mate, go see the movie!
Guy: I will!
Mr Jackman, your ambassador to West Hollywood would like to report that all is well with your reputation and a good story shall ensue. And that fiver is making its way back to you in a ticket sale. Ten if he takes his girlfriend.