A redemptive name for a righteous son: Eko.
This is a 100% true story.
So there I was, living on Los Angeles. It was almost guaranteed that I would run into a B or C level actor at least once a month, maybe more. Meanwhile, it was the prime Lost watching years, where you had the first season or two behind you, and nothing but open possibility ahead. Lost was a show immune to haters, and they were trying things that had never been done on television before. It was a good time to be alive.
Over time, I started to run into some of the actors from the show. There were two I would never forget: first, Sayid, who looks way smaller and balder in real life. He also has the voice of a chipmunk. And not even an Iraqi chipmunk… a British chipmunk! As for the other actor, well, that’d be everyone’s favorite drug dealer-turned-priest, Mr. Eko.
One day, I had some grandparents visiting, and we were showing them the sights. Here’s the Santa Monica pier, check out the Hollywood sign, yada yada yada. Now the deal was these grandparents were proper Texans (from Waco, no less), and I was on my best behavior. I was polite, I opened doors and let other people walk through first, I even chewed my food with my mouth closed. I was the perfect gentlemen. And there we were, my spouse and a perfect gentlemen and her grandparents, waiting at a light to turn onto Rodeo Drive, and whom do I see at the crosswalk but Mr. Eko himself. I am thrilled, super-hyper excited… it’s three more days until the next episode of Lost, but it’s like I’m getting one in advance. I am pumped.
So I say, “Hey, that’s Mr. Eko!”
And the car goes silent.
Out of the corner of her mouth, my wife says, “What is wrong with you?”
“What do you mean?” I said.
“My grandparents are in the car.”
I was totally confused. ”What did I say?”
She pressed her lips together very tightly, and leaned forward, and whispered something in my ear.
Apparently, what I had actually said, no, SHOUTED, in my fit of ecstasy, was:
Holy f**king s**t it’s Mr. Eko!!!!
Needless to say, there were massive apologies to the kindly old couple in the back seat. Also, Mr. Eko was staring at me from the street (I think he had heard me), and let me tell you, that is one scary dude. I’m pretty sure I even apologized to him, from inside the car.
Postscript: To make it up to the slightly traumatized grandparents, I took them to a proper cowboy movie that night: Brokeback Mountain. After watching that, they forgot all about the incident in the car.