In the spirit of not keeping any secrets, it's time I confessed something to Melissa and to the world. I was the one that farted on Ted Danson. I was the one that allowed people to blame it on the old gentleman recovering from surgery. I am the one that claimed not smell anything even though it was awful and I knew it. I am sorry, but you can understand why I wouldn't want to take the credit or blame in the moment. I was embarrassed, but also sort of proud. I knew there would be hell to pay, so I vehemently denied it even though I was the one that supplied it.
Ted Danson grew up in my hometown, Flagstaff, AZ. We claim him the way small towns claim celebrities, unrequited and from afar. Ted is not as big a deal as he once was, and so our claims aren't as big as they once were. Back in the 80s, at the height Cheers and Three Men and a Baby, man, there was no one bigger. You'd hear stories about Ted from the old locals. You would do your best to imagine Sam Malone as a kid playing in the same woods as you, but somehow it didn't seem possible.
Like Ted, I grew up and moved away. Successes and failures take you further away from the places of your childhood, but you never really leave. The myths and legends of your town stay with you, the way a part of Woody stayed in Hanover long after he moved to the big city to serve beer to Norm and Cliff. Your town is who you are, and that is bigger than a place. So, when my Mom offered to get us tickets to a fundraiser to meet Ted last fall, a part of me jumped at the chance. It was a chance to meet that small town kid who made good. Sure, Flagstaff discovered Pluto and was almost Hollywood, but nothing compares to giving the world Becker.
The fundraiser was being held to support my Mom's church, St. Andrews in Sedona. My Mom was the priest there at the time, and so had the clout to get us in. Ted's sister was a member of the church, and so he was doing her a favor. The day of the event I started to come down with a head cold. My parents had been looking forward to this event for months, so there was no way I could miss it. A few doses of Sudafed and Tylenol later and I was good to go. Like then, I have head cold today. That is what got me thinking about that night. Like then, I've loaded up on sinus medicine, and like then, it is having the same affect on me today. My head feels less like a over inflated balloon. The problem is that my gut now feels like the balloon.
As the night progressed it was getting harder and harder to hide the side-effects of the cold meds. Thankfully, the event was outside and there was a slight breeze. That is, until the sun went down. As luck would have it, just as the night started to grow still Ted decided to make the rounds to each table for pictures.
As Ted was making his way around the party my stomach started to grow more and more agitated. I lost sight of Ted, so figured we were in the clear. At that moment my insides sounded the all systems go alarm. I felt immediately better, but suddenly became aware that there was no breeze, and this was going to hang around for a little while.
You know that moment when you are trying very hard not to laugh, but just can't manage it? Well, Melissa caught that, then caught the odor. She looked at me in disbelief, so I returned the look. There is nothing better than answering an accusation with an accusation. In a haste to find another culprit she focused in on the older gentleman across the table from us. He appeared to be recovering from minor surgery, and therefore was likely on medicine. Right root cause, wrong person. Was I wrong to allow her to jump to that conclusion? Perhaps; but it got me off the hook.
My Mom then chimed in. Now, my Mom does not have a good sense of smell. It is almost nonexistent. I can attest to this personally. Remember my story about Betty at the Painted Desert? She had a comfortable ride back to Flagstaff while I did not. For my indiscretion to cut through that says all you need to know. Like Melissa, she jumped to the same conclusion and our poor injured friend was put into double jeopardy.
As Melissa and my Mom were remarking on the situation Ted showed up. As I can now personally attest, that man is a genuine class act. Whether it was supreme tact or years of training, you could not detect an ounce of discomfort in him. We talked with Ted for a few minutes about his new show, Fargo. If you have not seen it, it is excellent. He then leaned in for a picture with us, which my Mom later had signed and given to us for Christmas.
That picture is all the evidence you need. Look at the smile on my face. Look at the slight forced grins on theirs. Now tell me you would not have done the same thing in my situation.