Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Friday, August 21, 2015

My self- centered encounter with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil (note how I call Neil deGrasse Tyson, Neil?   After all I’ve been through; I can call him that.) came to town and spoke at the Winspeare Opera House in Dallas.  While I was happy he didn’t sign for anyone when he arrived( because I was late), I wonder how everything could have been different if he did sign…

As the norm, I got off work ‘early’, about 5:30 or 6PM.  When I arrived at Winspeare, I was told Neil was already inside the building and he didn’t sign for any one. This was 'good' as I didn’t miss my opportunity.  I would also have some friends to hang out with.

Four of us went out to eat and gabbed about autographs and upcoming events. It was a good excuse to get out of the heat and the sun.
Once we got back to the opera house, we waited. We watched the crowd leave after the show. And we waited. We watched the police that directed the traffic leave. And we waited. We watched the employees leave the building. And we waited…

Then, there he was. Neil deGrasse Tyson was leaving the building.  He looked surprised that we were there.  I think he was hoping he outlasted us. He asked what we were doing. We told him we were waiting for him. He started to sign. As he signed the first photo, someone asked about his podcast with George Takei.  As he answered, he started to warm up to us.  He started interacting. He started asking questions.

As he stepped over to me, he asked me about my story. 

Me, I smiled and said: I started off as an astronomy major in college.

Neil with a slight eyebrow raise: Oh, and then what happened?

Me:  I failed Calc.

Neil with a knowing nod:  And then what happened…?

Me with a grin: I switched majors.

Neil with another knowing nod.  Calculus is the bane of a lot of dilettante astronomers:  And then what?

Me: I switched majors to Psychology.  That way I didn’t have to take Calc again.

Neil: Big laugh

All was good. He spoke to our small group of us. He posed for selfies. Everyone was having a good time.  Then he left.  Then we left. Then I missed the last step.

Yes, that horrible feeling as you think you are on the ground but your foot only finds air.  I knew what was happening. I could see it all in my mind’s eye. In flash, I thought I could just gently lay down the signed photo and take a tumble.  No big deal.  In flash, I thought I could do a fancy Krav Maga roll (I did Krav for a while) and pop up unharmed and impress everyone.  In reality, I did neither; I slowly crumbled to the ground in a hard painful way. I was shocked by the sharp pain in my back.

As one of my fellow hounds helped me up, I noticed I did successfully lay down the autograph so it was not harmed.  Score one for me. my fall was not graceful and my back did hurt with each step I took. Score two for the gravity.

Besides being embarrassed and in pain, I was also wondering how long the recovery time would be. The date was 6/15. SDCC was 7/8. Not a lot of recovery time if something was seriously wrong… Yes, it’s all about SDCC. Haven’t you learned that about me yet?  Didn’t I say this was my self-centered encounter?

After my fellow hounds walked me to my car (very nice of them) I drove home.  It was uneventful.  No pain. I just sat and drove for 30 minutes.  It’s when I got out of the car that the pain really started. I shuffled into the house. I shuffled passed my very concerned wife. I shuffled into the shower. Still the pain was sharp. I shuffled to bed.

In the morning the pain was still acute when I moved. However, it was slightly less obnoxious. I knew it was not serious and I should make a full recovery for SDCC. My stress lowered dramatically.  Four days later I was no longer shuffling. My full strides were pain free.

Somewhere in the quantum universe a version of me fell gracefully.  
Somewhere in the quantum universe a version of me did a fancy roll and impressed his fellow hounds.
Somewhere in the quantum universe a version of me is still in bed recovering from the nasty fall. That version of me missed SDCC and is bitter at the quantum universe.
In MY quantum universe I can't complain about the ending or the results.




  1. your just telling us now?
    testing to see if I still read your blog?
    your in big trouble with you know who.

  2. Yes, I'm in trouble with mom.
    As I said, I was up and about quickly and my ComicCon went without a hitch.