Tom Clyde: Rules for safe celebrity encounters
January 18, 2014
This is not a normal place. That’s why most of us are here. Things are just different here, and of course this week, things are abnormal in very abnormal ways. Our ski resort town had been converted into a remote location in some movie production. All week, you will see images on TV, or if you are more courageous than I, in person, that look something like Park City. But it’s not. It’s the faux Park City, kind of like when your fat uncle dressed up as Santa Claus. It was the same person, only not.
There are some protocols involved in navigating Park City this week. The streets are fairly littered with people who are very important, and don’t hesitate a second to let you know it. There are hundreds of people who dress in black from head to toe, and then wander aimlessly down the middle of the streets at midnight. They are completely invisible, save for the glow of their cell phones. It is generally considered rude to run over them, no matter how sporting they make it. Let’s show them some hospitality and wave with all five fingers when suggesting they get their very important butts over there on the sidewalk.
Proper behavior this year is more important than ever. Rumor has it that there will be Kardashians in attendance. And even if there aren’t actual Kardashians, there will be people of equal importance, basking in the glow of that kind of vacuous celebrity that comes from being famous for no particular reason. Given the density of celebrities this week, encounters with them are probably unavoidable. To avoid injury or embarrassment, here are some official rules to observe:
1. Bow or curtsy when first coming in contact with a Kardashian.
2. Do not address a Kardashian unless spoken to. Only then can you speak. A Kardashian should always be addressed as "Your Majesty," unless drunk, when "Your Highness" is appropriate.
3. Do not touch a Kardashian. Failure to observe this rule could result in an unpleasant encounter with the business end of a Taser. There is also some risk of contagion.
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4. Avoid bright colors, rapid movements, or loud talking, as Kardashians are known to be excitable. Do not make eye contact.
5. An adult Kardashian can run toward a camera at about the same speed as a moose. Best not to use a flash.
6. While the risk of an unprovoked attack is small, it does exist. Never turn your back.
7. Try to appear larger by holding your hands above your head. Holding your jacket wide open may be misconstrued, especially if it is of the longer, raincoat style. (See item #3.)
8. If the Kardashian appears to be stalking you, make loud menacing sounds, baring your teeth and growling. They can also be repelled by references to "The Great Gatsby," or NPR.
9. When hiking in areas where Kardashians may be present, it is advisable to carry a small bell. Most attacks are a result of surprising a normally docile Kardashian, which reacts defensively. A small bell on a belt or walking stick will help announce your arrival and avoid unwanted contact.
10. If you encounter a Kardashian on the bus, at least one of you is on the wrong bus.
By observing these simple rules, the risk of being attacked by a celebrity, or somebody who thinks they are a celebrity, can be greatly diminished. The safest course is to stay home with the shades drawn and muskets ready.
Speaking of the bus, the City’s new building that will provide housing for bus drivers is coming along nicely, and is quite attractive. I’ve never understood what part of the Constitution makes it a Federal obligation to provide housing for bus drivers in resort communities. The City has people who are extremely good at grant writing and generally milking the Federal Treasury for our benefit. It’s in weeks like this that we should all really appreciate the local bus system. Even if we aren’t personally riding it, it has taken hundreds of cars off the local streets, making it relatively clear sailing for the limos.
The free local bus system is funded through an 80-percent Federal grant. Locally, we have to come up with 20 percent of the capital cost of the buses, buy the fuel, and pay the drivers so poorly that they have to live in subsidized housing. I’ll have to ask Senator Lee where that puts us on the "takers-versus-makers" spectrum.
If the new bus driver apartment building has not been officially named, I’d like to suggest "Ralph Kramden Towers" in honor of TV’s most famous bus driver. (Look it up, kids. Wikipedia.) To the moon, Alice, to the moon . . .
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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