I've never been very big on being big. Sure, there were the obligatory peer-fueled vanity attempts at eschewing the "wimp" and "sissy" tags I naturally grew across my delts, pumping mild iron while attempting a gander up an unsuspecting spotter's shorts (once a sissy, always a sissy).
But, in general, the fruity protein shakes that visited my gullet swiftly found their way out my backside, with all of their nutrients and size-promises intact. I kept the fruit.
Meaning that I was meant to look like this, of course.
Imagine, however, a parallel universe where I am nothing but big (insert squiggly blur lines here), where a six-pack isn't something that I buy to pick up straight boys, and my legs are about as wide as my twiggy waistline. I could enter a room with pushing grunts, squeeze people until they're purple and devour celebrities like semi-fine caviar. Maybe then I might shut up.
Anyway, Lou Ferrigno has recently returned to the touring-celeb fray on the heels of his blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the new "Hulk" crowd-pleaser. I really don't want to meet him, so I mistakenly attempt to set up a phone interview to precede his obligatory Altamonte AMC glossy signing. Then I remember, um, he's deaf, right? He's going to crush me. I just know it.
So it's a hot ride up the I-4 to meet my maker. Or my future ex-husband.
"He's really efficient," warns the AMC rep, as I wipe the vodka from my summer-wet brow. "So you may only get to ask one question."
"OK," I think to myself, squiggly lines returning. "How about, Ã?How does it feel to be an icon of the big-dumb-man movie enterprise, dummy? With Ahhh-nold, and stuff.'" Or better: "Wanna date?"
"You'll have to speak to him directly to his face," the rep slaps me back to reality. "He can't hear, but he's very good at reading lips."
"OK, read my lips: no more stupid-man movies," I blur back. "And hold me."
Whatever. It's helpless. I don't want to make him angry, after all. I wouldn't like him when he's angry.
Assembled in the makeshift waiting line is the expected hodge-podge of manual laborers with sweat rings and single moms with middle-parts. None of his handlers wants to break the news to the trailer-park crowd that Lou will indeed be charging $20 per signature, so they all mill about nervously and pass hot potatoes through two-way radios, hoping the onus will eventually land on somebody else. When it does, the expected evacuation occurs, soundtracked by the sighs of stiff blue collars.
The diehards wait around, though, clutching their sniveling kids and/or their armpits as Lou arrives, sets up shop (glossies, glossies, glossies!) and looks genuinely uninterested. You know, like he's paid to look.
As if things couldn't get any worse, I'm outed by one of the min-wage AMC ticket handlers who probably recognizes my spite, or my hair, as cigarettes are clearly not allowed at this gathering.
"Hey Billy," he beckons. "Come over here."
So, naturally, I pretend the sea of Hulk-heads is actually a throng of paparazzi and I push my way over to the ticket counter. He must want my autograph. Damn hounds.
"Can you make sure that Lou gets this?" my admirer winks from beneath his Puerto-Rican curl. "And make sure that it's made out to Jose."
The fact that said ticket handler is sporting a nametag that clearly reads "Juan" throws me, so I laugh nervously and walk away. Do you think Juan and Jose are living together underneath their silent "J"? Si.
Back to my periphery, then.
"He knows you're here," smoothes the lady rep. "He just wants to take care of a few of the fans who have been waiting here for awhile. Can I get you some water?"
We all know the answer to that.
Several miscreants come forth, dropping their life savings for a Sharpie and a pose (a few ask Lou to flex his biceps, tastefully) and then I push my way in, squeeze a few of them and eat their heads like, well, Thrifty Maid beans and franks.
"So how does it feel," I lean in for the kill, "all of the new excitement about "The Hulk" and stuff?" I tuck my tiny tail.
"How does what feel?" he doesn't read my lips, but probably smells my breath. "Oh, it's weird because dah Hulkmania happen all over again. Parent know about dah Hulk, but young kid, dey don't know about da Hulk. But dey learn about dah Hulk, dey learn about dah series and it entertain dah kid."
Um, pardon me?
"The best thing that happen to me is that I made a lot of people happy and I entertain a lot of people of all ages."
I'm not listening, anyway. The presence of his tricep just to the left of my bird chest has got me heaving with dumb-guy lust. Somehow, I muster a question (my third take that!) about Lou's current occupation as a motivational speaker. That's right, folks: a motivational speaker. Ouch.
"Like, what do you talk about?" I run my hands down his chest in my head.
"My life. How I overcame all my handicap. How I became successful where I am today."
At a mall. In Altamonte. Maybe staying scrawny is the best thing I ever did. Oh, wait. I'm at the mall too.