Today, for the LA84 Foundation, I presented a coaching talk to some youth coaches. (Adults who coach young athletes, not coaches who happen to be very young.) Prior to the start of the presentation, as the coaches were filing in, I noticed one particular coach in the crowd who looked familiar. Not ultra familiar, mind you – not the kind that drives you crazy – like, “Goddammit, I KNOW that guy…” but more subtle, as in “Hmmm, I think I’ve seen that guy before…”
There was nothing particularly memorable about the guy, per se. He was about 65 years old and maybe a little short in stature considering I was addressing a group of basketball coaches. But nothing stood out to jog my memory. I figured he probably had been to the clinic before as I’ve done this type of clinic hundreds of times throughout Los Angeles and have had a number of repeat customers.
Just then as I was about to let it go out of my mind, I noticed he was angling his way towards me to speak to me. I figured this should clear it up, but didn’t want to have one of those embarrassing moments where someone who’s a virtual stranger comes up to you and says, “Hey John, great to see you again! How’s the family? Remember that time we – blah, blah, blah…..?” Those kinds of moments are my most uncomfortable social moments. I have no idea what to do. Is there really a right way to address this situation? What would Emily Post say to do?
It doesn’t matter. It didn’t go down like that.
It went like this:
Familiar face: “Are you the one giving the presentation?”
Me: “Yes, Sir.”
FF: “Hi, I’m musician Glenn Frey, I’m coaching my kid this year.”
Me: “Oh Yeah, Glenn Frey, the musician, of course… nice to meet you.”
And we had a nice talk for a few minutes.
And, yes…. He actually introduced himself as “musician Glenn Frey.”
What the hell kind of a way is that to introduce yourself? I almost said “Hi musician Glenn Frey, I’m presenter, John Amneus – how’s Life in the Fast Lane?” But I kept my shotgun of sarcasm holstered.
Does he do this to everyone? When he gets a coffee at Starbucks does the coffee dude have to write “mucisian Glenn Frey” on the cup? When he orders a pizza or reserves a table at a restaurant, does he go with the full intro? His introduction struck me as if, not just weird, possibly over the top narcissism. What a douchebag, right? Musician Glenn Frey… Give me a break.
Well, I’ve been thinking about it…. He’s not a douchebag, at all. He’s a REALLY good dude and completely earnest. Consider this:
- Glenn Frey likely has so much money from being a world famous rock and roll Hall of Famer he could hire Phil Jackson to teach his 8 year old son basketball. But Glenn is coaching the team himself.
- He is enrolling his son in an LA Rec and Park public program – not some elite “youth basketball academy” for the rich, famous, coddled, and future drug addicted.
- He took the time to come over and introduce himself and talk like a totally normal guy about his goals for coaching the team this year, and was genuinely interested in presentation I was giving.
- He sat up front, stayed for the whole thing, and was even taking notes on the handouts.
- And most impressive of all – Glenn Frey uses a flip cell phone! A goddammned flip phone!!! Not an iPhone or Blackberry super gadget kind of phone. A circa 2002 flip phone. Just like me.
So what about the narcissistic, borderline douchebag, ultra-thorough self intro? Does he really need to be “musician, Glenn Frey?”
Yes. And I’ll tell you exactly why.
Every day of his life people must give him the same look I no doubt unconsciously gave him. That look that screams “I know this guy, but from where?” When people recognize someone but can’t place it, there is a common facial expression attached to it. That expression is what guys like Glenn Frey see every time they meet someone. Glenn Frey has figured out that if he introduces himself that way, he can eliminate the bullshit and get right to the “Heart of the Matter.” (Yeah, I know that’s a Henley song but they were both in the Eagles, OK?)
My kids go to the same school (and are actually in the same classroom) as a kid whose dad was one of the Backstreet Boys. The Backstreet Boy is a good dude too, but he’d do well to take a cue from Glenn Frey. We all would.
When you see a face looking back at you that’s screaming, “Where do I know this person from?” just take 3 seconds to introduce yourself Glenn Frey style. Emily Post would approve.
And, as usual, I’m actually the douchebag for not immediately recognizing Glenn’s contribution to keeping society rolling along and not getting paralyzed by the “don’t you know who I am?” attitude that seems to be growing out of control across the USA.
By the way, Glenn looks great and seems to have fully recovered from his well publicized case of Smuggler’s Blues and is obviously living Life in the Fast Lane. I Can’t Tell You Why, but he looks like he’s ready to Take it to the Limit One of These Nights….