Of Napoleon and Mr. Holland

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I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit. I’ve always been sort of a history nut, so any time I go somewhere I have a plethora of places that must be seen. In fact, I have a bit of a “bucket list” of goal locations. This has been somewhat of a problem to some of my traveling companions since they aren’t always interested in seeing the largest ball of twine or the cow with the two heads.

I have yet to get to China but when I do, walking a mile on The Great Wall is on the list. I always have my photo taken when I accomplish one of these small feats but sometimes getting that snapshot is not as easy as it would appear to be. I offer my experience with Napoleon Bonaparte. The real Napoleon Bonaparte. Not a look-alike mime on the Champs-Elysées.

I always had a “thing” for him and high on the aforementioned list was a visit to his tomb in Paris. For those of you who don’t know or have never seen it, he designated that his coffin be placed on the lower floor of Hôtel des Invalides  with an opening up to the second floor. This was so that when anyone came to see his memorial they would in essence have to look down and in the process subtly bow to him in order to see over the railing down to where he lays.  A megalomaniac even in death.

It took some research to figure out how to get down to the same level of his final resting place since that was the only way I could be in the picture with “him.” When the time came and I managed to plop myself in front of this huge sarcophagus for my photo op it was difficult for me to figure out what type of pose to strike. Do I smile the smile of victory for getting there?  or do I strike a somber look since it is someone’s final resting place? The actual photo makes me look like I’m smirking. I’m not sure what the little despot would think of my end result standing near his end result. I haven’t had any threatening mail from his publicist about it so I guess it was okay.

I never like asking someone to take a picture for me. I think it stems from the fact that The Ex was really concerned when a tourist would approach us and ask us to snap them in front of some landmark. He just didn’t like the responsibility for someone’s lasting memory of a time and place. I was happy to do this, but if I weren’t available then he would do it. Later on he confessed to me that if the people were really annoying and aggressive about doing them the favor he’d cut their heads off in the picture. He could get away with that before everyone had digital cameras and phones that can do everything but deliver a baby.

Speaking of The Ex, he bears a striking resemblance to the actor Richard Dreyfuss, especially when they both were sporting beards during the Mr. Holland’s Opus era. We always got great tables in NYC restaurants but he was often asked for his autograph, which caused no amount of consternation to him. He frequently would try, ever so politely, to say that he was not the actor, but this was usually met with grumbling and under-the-breath comments that Mr. Holland was just stuck-up and who did he think he was to turn down a fan for a simple thing like an autograph.  Once on a flight to Europe the flight attendant approached him and said “Mr. Dreyfuss, you’re flying with us again so soon?” Apparently the real Hollywood star had just crossed the pond the day before and she couldn’t figure out why he’d be going back again. And why he was now in coach.

Perhaps the funniest episode as a look-alike occurred in New York City. We had a business dinner with another couple at a well-known restaurant frequented by those who didn’t want to be seen, but really did want to be seen. In other words, they “weren’t” there but someone would make sure it would show up on Page Six the next day. That particular evening the likes of Paul Simon, Robert Loggia, Kelsey Grammer and a few other notables were dining. When it came time to leave, The Ex excused himself to use the rest room while I went out front with the clients to wait for him. He came rushing out a few minutes later,  bid our guests a very quick good-bye, grabbed me by the hand and started hot-footing it down the street towards the parking garage. After about a block he slowed up and said “We had to get out of there right away.” 

Apparently while visiting the Men’s Room none other than Tom Selleck walked in and stood right next to him to answer nature’s call. He looked over at The Ex and said “Richard, I didn’t know you were in town!” The Ex explained that considering where they were and what they were doing he opted not to get into the “I’m-not-who-you-think-I-am” mode. He simply said, “Tom, always good to see you!” hurriedly washed his hands and bolted out the door.

Personally, I don’t look like anyone but myself. During my years of fatitude people used to tell  me I looked like Rosann Barr. I’ve never been a fan of hers so I sort of considered that an insult. The professional portrait I use for PR purposes is really good. Amazing what an airbrush can do! In fact, it’s so good when I first posted it on Facebook as my profile picture my older daughter called her sister and said “I don’t know who this lady is in the picture on Mom’s profile, but it’s certainly not our mother!” The MOTNSO refers to it as “…the picture of Judy at 40.”

Frankly, I never looked that good at 40. I looked like Rosann Barr. And for the record, that’s not the picture I had posted on the internet when MOTNSO and I first met. I had one of Josephine Bonaparte.

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One Response to Of Napoleon and Mr. Holland

  1. admin says:

    I have been reminded by The Ex that we were NOT in coach when the flight attendant approached us and asked why “Mr. Dreyfuss” was flying again so soon. We were in Business Class. In my efforts to always “blog accurately” I wish to set the record straight.

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