Thursday, January 19, 2012

Behind The Wheel: The Rude One

This is another part in my ongoing series about the time I spent as a chauffeur in Panama City Beach, FL, in the mid-90s. Because he's made the news in the past couple of days for some asinine remarks, I thought I'd write about the time I drove Mark Wahlberg. Actually, "drove" should be in sarcastic quotes and "Mark Wahlberg" should read "Marky Mark," because that's who he was at the time.

Almost 20 years ago Panama City Beach used to host MTV for a week-long spring break festival that was taped and aired to the world. They may still have such programming, I don't know, I'm not even sure if MTV is still on the air. But back then it was a big deal and we were contracted to handle all of their transportation. Marky Mark showed up and did his little song and dance number or whatever it was he did back then and on the day he was to fly out I showed up at his hotel to pick him up and drive him to the airport. I was in a 15-passenger van because Marky Mark didn't travel alone. No, he had a whole group of lackeys and hangers-on, enough to fill up a van. So I stood outside the hotel and waited. And waited. And waited. I went back into the hotel to discuss his absence with the front desk several times. I called my boss, who called Marky Mark's handlers, and they searched the grounds for him. After about an hour of this, word came down that he was on the 11th hole of the hotel's golf course and had decided to leave the next day. He just didn't bother to let anyone know. Asshat.

It's pained me over the years to enjoy the movies he's made and to almost - almost - become a fan. I like a lot of the movies, and came close to putting his rudeness of two decades ago to rest. But then he goes and comments on being a real-life vigilante and I'm reminded that he's really just a big, goofy face on screen. Or on MTV, if it still exists.

I wasn't much of anybody back then. I'm still not. My time wasn't worth as much as Marky Mark's time was, but it was still something to me, and to my boss and his small business. Yet Marky didn't take that, or anything, or anybody, into consideration.

I drove a lot of celebrities back then and, while most were aloof and needed to be pointed in which direction to walk, they were at least cordial. When I returned to pick up the Marky group the next morning, there was no mention of the previous day, just a bunch of kids in long shorts and backwards ball caps. I got back at him though. I snubbed him, I didn't even tell him, as he exited the van, to have a nice flight as I normally would have. That'll show him.

The word today is that Mark Wahlberg, the movie star, apologized for his recent statements, which is big of him. After all of these years, I haven't received an apology, and I hope my snub still stings.