On February 25th, 2008, my body glistening with the sweat of my hero, my poor brain swollen to incomprehensible dimensions, I walked out of a Foo Fighters concert aglow with the euphoria of live music. On February 26th, I filed a police report.
After the nearly three hour set, the plan was to sprint to my car–parked 5 blocks away–grab a framed photo of the band, and return to have it forever slicked with Sharpie ink. With Dave’s autograph. On my way out of the arena that plan was voided when I noticed the band already shuffling toward the tour buses. It would be impossible to make it from the car back to the bus before they became permanently inaccessible. Decision time just came knocking...and I wasn't about to answer the door in my skivvies.
I had only three things in my pocket: a cell phone, a dollar bill, and some Big League Chew. Since I could never in good conscience relinquish the Chew (which was grape), the obvious choice became the dollar bill. Shoving through the crowd, I waved the green wildly near Dave Grohl’s face, screaming for him to “sign it, sign it ” He appeared confused. “Put your name on it with that pen in your hand!” He looked at me, then at the dollar, and then at me again, finally taking the bill. I stared, horrified, as he walked onto his bus without saying another word...dollar in hand.
I was stunned. Here I was, a loyal fan who had waited everlong to meet my idol, forced to leave that meeting tragically dollar-less.
It’s at this point that I hear at least a dozen people ask how I could get so up in arms over something as silly as a dollar. Maybe it’s because I have morals. Okay? Don't misunderstand; I can appreciate the “edginess” of rock and roll as much as the guy behind me at the concert (who accounted for no less than 12 percent of the overall perspiration on my body) can, but a guy has to draw the line somewhere.
And quite frankly, big me to talk about this experience openly. I applaud myself for not falling prey to the mysticism of superstardom that allows regular people to be walked on by those with famous faces. And I will re-tell this story as many times as it needs to be heard before my message rings throughout the nation: famous people, stop stealing my money. I'm serious with this. It's disrespectful and I don't have to take it.
It saddens me that a successful, Grammy-winning singer/guitarist of one of the greatest rock bands in the history of singers and guitars would think it funny to thieve away MY dollar. It’s not funny. It’s heartbreaking. I’m not some incredibly stacked actor that throws his dollars around like quarters; I’m a poor college student who could’ve used that very dollar to buy a McDouble for sustenance, which is exactly what I would have done had I known where its final whereabouts would be.
It’s times like these that I worry about the future of the celebrity/fan relationship. I mean, all my life I’ve been raised to believe that if you respect people and follow the Ten Commandments, good things will surely happen. Well, guess what? The last time I checked, “thou shalt not steal” was still listed on the stone tablets. And from the moment I was without that dollar I found myself wishing I still had it. That’s coveting, Dave! So now you’ve turned me into a sinner. And for what? Is this retribution for that time I illegally downloaded a copy of Monkey Wrench instead of purchasing it off of iTunes? Because, if so, that only cost 99 cents. You still owe me a penny.
To date, the police have done nothing to help me regain my monetary property. One officer went so far out of his way as to openly mock me in a private rebuttal to my police report. In it, he claimed that my request for legal recourse was “a waste of time, energy and ink” and that I should spend more time trying to “locate” my “balls.” Though I have yet to formally reply to these statements, let me say here and now that this sounds like a classic case of the pot calling the disheartened victim of theft black.
Dave Grohl hasn't returned my calls, either.
I find it difficult to think that I’ll ever be able to move beyond the events of February 25th, 2008. The events that took place that night will never completely dissolve from memory. In the end, Dave got the best of me. I learned, much to my own displeasure, that the deepest blues aren’t black, but green. I also learned that you don’t always get what you want or what you expect. From this point on, I will never again ask for an autograph from a famous person, or anyone else for that matter. Especially Dave Grohl.
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you, Dave: you gotta promise to stop stealing my hard-earned cash.