Ever meet one of those people who's simply been everywhere, done everything? I knew a guy like that once — an amazing person ... The Great Gilldo.
From our first visit, I knew Gilldo was not of this earth. His talents, his experience all seemed otherworldly by comparison to the average human. Had I not encountered him in the men's room now and then, even I would have questioned his mortality. Alas, even Gilldo had to pee on occasion.
As magnanimous an he was magnificent, he told me, “Recognition? Fame? Fortune? Don't need it. Been there — cover of Fortune, Time magazine ... made millions ... bought low, sold high ... beat 'em at their own game — done that.” To him, he said, the thrill was in the chase, the joy in doing for others.
But the “48-inch vertical leap” thing was just too much. “You mean,” I asked incredulously, “you can jump ... straight up ... FOUR FEET ... from a standing start?!”
“You betcha!” he answered, unnervingly confident.
“So, what you're saying,” I continued, “is that your mom was a kangaroo?”
He chuckled condescendingly. “Can do!”
“Prove it,” I said.
“Nope. Don't need to,” he said. “My word is my bond. You can take it to the bank.”
“Unbelievable,” I told him. “You are truly an amazing person,” I said, shaking my head, as I left his office.
For weeks on end, I practiced jumping — straight up ... from a standing start. At my best, in my $150 Nike Air Jordans, I reached a summit of 22 inches. I so wanted to believe him. “Maybe he has some kind of anti-gravity boots,” I reasoned. “Or maybe he fell once and bounced four feet ... ”
I decided to put him to the test. One morning, walking into his office, I announced excitedly, “I was abducted by aliens last night! A UFO landed in my backyard, kidnapped me, and tortured me for two hours by forcing me to listen to old Andy Williams recordings they'd picked up in space from itinerant radio waves.”
His eyes turned skyward. “I got him!” I thought to myself, leaping 48 inches for joy in my mind's eye.
The Great Gilldo pushed himself back from his desk and leaned backward in his overstuffed leather hydraulic-suspension executive VIP chair. “Been there ... done that,” he sighed.
“Incredible,” I muttered to myself. I slumped against the door jamb, wide-eyed, suspended 48 inches above the earth in airborne awe.
“Yup,” he continued ... fantasizing in fast-forward. “About four years ago, when I was climbing Mount Everest. They were from a distant galaxy — can't recall the name, but I'll get back to you on that.”
“They found me fascinating. Probed my brain ... said they'd never seen anything like it. Kept it for further study.”
“Wait,” I interrupted him. “They removed your brain?” I asked, delirious with disbelief.
“You betcha!” he said. “Replaced it with a cantaloupe.”
I settled back down to earth, humiliated and humbled. At last, The Great Gilldo had redeemed himself. “A cantaloupe ... ” my voice trailed off into space.
Finally ... now, there was something I could believe.