I've got them fooled. I've got them all fooled.
My original plan for my arrival in Chicago was to parachute into the middle of Soldier Field during the fourth quarter of a Bears game, to catch a pass from Jay Cutler between my teeth while the marching band plays "Baba O'Riley", then to sign copies of my novel, my screenplay, and the book version of my blog, after which Barack Obama himself was to embrace me as I walk off the field. I was halfway into the planning phase of this operation when I asked myself an important question. WWJD?* My perspective altered, I went in pursuit of a more humble beginning.
Instead of exploding triumphantly into the third largest city in the US, I'll take everyone here by surprise. Like Clark Kent^, I'll pretend to be meek, unintelligent, bumbling, low status. I'll answer simple questions over and over. I'll bend eagerly to the will of every high schooler, college drop-out, and dirty old ship captain on Navy Pier. I'll treat overweight mid-Americans most superficial concerns like they're of the greatest import to me, even when they don't say "please" or "thank you" or even "hello." Then, at night, I'll kiss people and they'll forget all about me. (Isn't that Clark's superpower?)
"Like"-rs, you won't believe how well this plan is working. No one here has any idea that I'm going to be famous soon. No one. They don't know that I co-wrote the best-selling musical in ImprovBoston history. They don't realize how many announcements I have brewing in my back pocket. They treat me like I actually am the person I'm pretending to be, a simple $10-an-hour layman in an orange shirt who yells "boat rides" all day long, 30 - 40 hours a week.
I try to drop hints. For example, when there are only a few people near me, I'll make up new lyrics to songs they're familiar with, offering them the opportunity to notice my creative spark.
Boooooats on the water
Boats, boats, boats.
Boats, boats, boats, boats.
Boats, boats, boats.
Booooats on the water . . .
Nothing. I show off my projection, my enunciation, and even my dance skills.
Boooooat riiiiiides! *tappity tap tap tap*
Nothing. I even put on my little nametag that says my first name and last initial.
Unbelievable. No one can see through my disguise, and it's not like they're not trying. I'm just that good.
What am I going to do when October arrives and my acting career begins in earnest? I'm not sure. My cover will be blown, and there'll be no getting it back. You can fool the people of the Midwest once, but they won't get fooled again.
Okay, so there's an expiration date on this game. But I've still got a few weeks. So if you know someone who's going to be touristing around Navy Pier, don't tell them who I really am yet. I'm enjoying this charade far too much to give it up until I have to.
No one knows what it's like
To be the boat man
To be the dock man
Behind Shoreline . . .
*This question is especially relevant when you are trying to climb the ladder of fame. I mean, that guy's way up.
^If I had hair, I'd part it the other way.