It happened. And it was awesome.
Many people I know have “that time I met” celebrity stories. “That time Nick Jonas held the door for me on the subway.” “That time Miley Cyrus accidentally took my coffee at Starbucks.” But, every now and again, you hear about a celebrity encounter that sounds so insane, so beautifully, inexcusably ODD that it just takes the whole “that time I met” genre to a whole new level.
I know this because I’ve experienced one of those moments personally — those unicorns of meet-and-greets with celebrities — so I know that they really exist.
This is the story of the time that Mr. T accidentally stabbed me.
(It wasn’t really his fault. He's a very nice man.)
Here’s how it happened — It was 1993. I was 16 years old. I really wanted to road trip with some friends to a comic book convention in Chicago, but I was dead broke. So I begged my sister to loan me sixty dollars. She thought about it while looking at a flyer for the event and eventually said "yes," under ONE condition.
Mr. T, the mohawked star of The A-Team, was scheduled to make an appearance to promote his new (and regrettably short-lived) comic book, Mr. T and the T-Force. My sister agreed to give me the money IF, and only if, I got her Mr. T’s autograph. (We were both teenagers, so his signature held quite a bit of ironic cache.) I wanted the money, so I said “Fine” and agreed to her terms.
A few days later, we arrive at the convention and, surprisingly, NONE of my friends want to wait in a long line with me to meet the man who brought B.A. Baracus to life. They leave to go wander the convention floor, and I spend the next 40 minutes watching excited fans taking Rocky-esque staredown pictures with Mr. T.
And Mr. T is really selling the shit out of himself to the crowd. He’s like a carnival barker. “I AM THE WORLD’S ONLY REAL SUPERHERO!” he’d yell. “All those other guys — Superman, Batman, Dance Man, Flash Man — they ain’t got nothing on Mr. T!” And then he’d hold up a gold-plated spoon, fork, and knife that hung around his neck on a thick gold chain and scream, “BRING ME CRIME, I’LL EAT IT UP!”
Finally, I get to the front of the line and I decide to have some fun with Mr. T.
I approach him and say, “Mr. T, I am an ENORMOUS fan, but my sister is the world’s biggest Mr. T fan, but she’s very, very sick. So I drove all the way here from Detroit today, just to get your autograph for her.”
There’s a moment of silence and then Mr. T LOSES HIS SHIT.
“OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD — THIS IS THE WORLD’S GREATEST MR T FAN!” he loudly declares and he happily pulls me into a bear hug. He starts squeezing the life out of me (not surprisingly, he’s crazy strong) and swinging me around in a circle, causing my legs to knock over several racks of comics.
He’s squeezing and squeezing and, suddenly, I feel a VERY sharp pain in my chest.
Remember that gold-plated knife that was hanging around his neck? Fortunately, it wasn’t stabbing me.
But the FORK was.
Mr. T was squeezing me SO hard that he was driving the tongs of the gold-plated fork from his necklace directly into my sternum.
So now I start screaming.
“MR. T! MR. T!” And I’m thrashing, trying to break his grip. But I can’t, and he can’t hear me. He’s screaming in joy and still swinging me around. This is my punishment. This is my punishment for being an ironic Mr. T fan. This is what happens to teenagers who decide to be a smart-ass to an entertainer who's only signing autographs in a convention center in Chicago to help pay off his tab at the gold chain outlet.
Finally, he stops and puts me down. And we both look down at my shirt. I was wearing a white They Might Be Giants shirt and, suddenly, a HUGE blossom of blood starts spreading out from the center.
I say “Oh shit.” In an instant, like five people from the convention are whisking me away into a first-aid area. (I never even get to see how Mr. T reacts or if he even knows what happened.) I take off my shirt, and I have three tiny little holes right in the center of my chest, right where the fork punctured me. An EMT cleans me up and puts a bandage on the wound. Someone appears out of nowhere handing me a random t-shirt that they must’ve grabbed at the closest booth possible to replace my ruined white one.
A convention rep asks if I’m fine. I nod, “Yeah,” but then I stop and say, “But I never got my book signed.”
He grimaces and says “c’mon." He leads me back to Mr. T’s booth, past the line, right to Mr. T, who is NOT happy to see me.
He’s looking at me like I’m a predator, like I’m there to extort the last of his A-Team money from him, like I’m a lawsuit waiting to happen. I hand him the Mr. T comic I bought in line and ask him to make it out to my sister. He does it without a word, never taking his eyes off me (which causes him to mess up his signature twice). He hands me the book (still locking eyes) and I walk away.
I meet up with my friends ten minutes later and they ask why I bought a new shirt. And I have no idea where to begin.
To this day, if you push past a forest of chest hair, you can still see two tiny little scars from where the golden fork stabbed me.
So, just remember, if you’re ever underwhelmed by your first celebrity encounter — maybe you trade a polite nod with David Boreanaz at IKEA and it’s not as fulfilling as you would’ve hoped — just know that, occasionally, people DO get truly life-changing, weird-as-shit “that time I met” moments with the celebrities they idolized in their youth. And, if they’re lucky, they even get the scars to prove it.
• • • •
This is me, in 1993, a few hours after the Mr. T incident. Wolverine — quite insensitively — is using his claws to point to where I got stabbed.