I Touched Aretha Franklin – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Aretha Franklin Weight Loss
Before and After… Way After

There are stars in the world who are on a very special Celebrity Touch™ list that I call the “That Bitch is Gonna Die” list.   This is the list of celebrities who I need to hurry up and touch before they die, because once they are dead, it is really hard to touch them and not feel just a bit creepy.  Now, you can make it on the list if your personal tragedies HAVE interfered with your ability to do good hair (Amy Winehouse), you are just plain old (I got my eye on you Betty White) or you have some health ailment, usually obesity, that is going to lead to a very early demise.  The person at the top of that category is the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who is my latest Celebrity Touch victim.

I happened upon Aretha at the US Open tennis tournament.  Now dear reader, you may be wondering what I am doing at a sporting event, as I don’t strike you as the athletic type given how busy I am with my glass blowing.  But, the US Open is prime Celebrity Touching territory, plus we all know how much I adore men swatting at fuzzy balls, but that’s a tale for another day. 

Celebrities attend the US Open not because they are interested in tennis, but because it is soooo easy for them to get on TV.  Got a new TV show coming out?  Show up at the Open!  Want show off that sex reassignment surgery?  Show up at the Open! Want to demonstrate you’re not at Lavo sniffing cocaine off a toilet seat for the fifth night in a row with Suri Cruise?  Show up at the Open! 

Aretha was apparently at the Open for two reasons:  to prove she is still alive and to show the world that she misplaced some Aretha somewhere.  That bitch has lost like ten Jada Pinket Smiths and looks pretty damn good… not dead at all.

Now, when you go to the Open and you sit in the front row, as one does, you will spend 10% of your time actually watching tennis, 20% of your time looking for Matthew Perry’s chin (he was seated in our row, an easy Celebrity Touch victim who’s fame and facial features… how would you say?  Have drooped a bit), and 70% of your time scanning the stadium for other celebrities.  Lucky for me, Aretha stood out like Michelle Obama at a Waffle House, resplendent in a green Chinese silk pants suit (yes, the bitch can now even fit into pants!) and a wig that looked like a golden roller coaster spun from the locks of 40 awkward Mormon children.  She was kinda hard to miss, but also was going to be tough to touch on the other side of the stadium in a luxury box.

Then, as Annie Lennox predicted, here came the rain again, pouring on Aretha’s wig like a tragedy.  People darted back inside the stadium halls, and I was crestfallen.  Aretha would surely leave the event and not wait out the rain delay.  One of the top candidates on my “That Bitch’s Gonna Die” List was slipping from my grasp, like so many suds at a foam party in Barcelona

I retreated to the concession stand to drown my sorrow in a beer and doughy pretzel, salty with failure.  Even the touches that night of Martina Navratilova, Judah Friedlander and Matthew Perry (again! Tell him to get away from me!), could not quell my disappointed.

But then, what to my lazy eye should appear, but the Queen of Soul and three giant bodyguards to fear (virtual high five to me for making that rhyme work).  But she was headed to the exit!  I had to move quickly.

Faster than you can say “Angora is the new Cashmere” (which we all know it’s not), I bolted into action, moving swiftly over the concrete floor, sticky with stale beer and Andy Roddick’s tears, directly towards Aretha.  Unfortunately, in my adrenaline and $15 beer- fueled haste, I was now literally charging at the R&B legend with my abort button nowhere to be found (I gave it to Kate Gosselin…)

Thankfully, as I was just about to collide with a bodyguard the size of Wilson Phillips (all of them), the group turned to go down a hallway, leaving Aretha’s ever-shrinking flank exposed.  I skidded behind her, just grazing her with my finger (the one not broken by the tranny volleyball player – again, a story for another day) on her silk-encased back.  Celebrity Touch™ secured!  And now, I can remove Aretha Franklin from the top of my “That Bitch’s Gonna Die!” touch list and put Whitney Houston where she rightly belongs.

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