I'm a dolt. Pure and simple.
My wife brings up pop-culture names that I should recognize — like Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman and Rihanna — and, I confess, I have no idea who they are.
Wait! Wasn't Anne Hathaway William Shakespeare's wife? Seems I once visited her cottage in England.
To demonstrate my utter doltishness when it comes to celebrity, I offer the following true story:
Seven baseball seasons ago, a good friend of mine, Doug, invited me to attend a Dodger game with him in Los Angeles. An investor friend had given him two expensive field-level tickets to a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
We arrived at the park and immediately realized our good fortune. Our seats were literally sitting on the field next to the visiting team's dugout, not more than 15 feet from the on-deck circle. We were treated to a free pre-game buffet at the restaurant under the stands behind home plate.
As the game got underway, the two seats to my right were empty. They remained that way until the top of the third.
As the inning began, two young, nice-looking guys slipped quietly into the seats next to me. I looked up as they sat down. We made eye contact and nodded a polite greeting.
The blond guy closest to me inquired as to what had happened in the game to that point, and I provided a summary.
In the bottom of the third, an attractive young woman from somewhere behind us came and stood next to the two men. She held out a game program and handed them a pen. They each proceeded to sign her booklet.
I shuddered. Is she going to ask me next? Perhaps autograph-hounds seek signatures from everyone seated in field-level seats.
But, no. With a broad smile after securing her treasured inscriptions, she moved back up the aisle to her seat.
That was strange!
A few moments later, two young women stood next to the men. They held out programs and pens, and were rewarded with signings.
Who are these guys?
In the top of the fourth a steady stream of damsels lined up for autographs. I turned to Doug. Do you recognize these dudes?
Doug shrugged his shoulders. No surprise. Doug's as big a dolt as I am.
He turned to the woman on his left. She told him they were Hollywood actors, brothers Luke and Owen Wilson.
That didn't help much. Doug still didn't know who they were, nor did I.
Women, who very obviously did know their identities, sought autographs throughout the game. Luke and Owen graciously complied. The Wilson sitting next to me — Owen, I think — continued to make periodic verbal observations about the game in my direction.
We both agreed it would be "cool" if the Dodgers maintained their one-run lead in the ninth so that reigning Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, Éric Gagné, might come in to get another save.
We were granted our wish.
Gagné came in, threw heat, and blew the Pirates down, 1-2-3.
With the final out recorded, Luke and Owen took their leave. We nodded politely as they made their way out.
The next morning my 20-something daughter called the house. I grabbed the phone.
"Hey, honey," I inquired, "Do you know of a couple of actors by the names of Luke and Owen Wilson?"
"Uh … yeah, Dad. Why?"
"Well, I sat with them last night at the Dodger game."
"Yeah, I sat with them. They're terrific guys."
"Did you say anything to them?"
"Of course. We talked about the game."
"Did you get an autograph?"
"Uh, no. I didn't know who they were and I was too embarrassed to ask."
"Dad … you're a dork!"
Yeah, well, now I know who they are. I've since seen a number of their flicks and I've become a fan.
Luke and Owen: Should I ever see you again, I promise to recognize you. And, if you don't mind, I'll request an autograph — for my daughter!
JIM CARNETT lives in Costa Mesa. His column runs Tuesdays.