Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 39

The Time Mookie Saw "Carlton Banks"

A few months ago, I was asked to "volunteer" my services at a local charity golf event put on by PGA golfer, Zach Johnson.  The extent of my service was to wear a fancy shirt, and keep people from crossing the rope and going out onto the fairway.  We were advised that in previous years there had been "breaches" in securing the perimeter, so our job was to make sure that didn't happen.  Needless to say, I was prepared to abuse my "authority" and make sure there would be no security breaches on my watch.  Thankfully the crowd was orderly, and just teased me and my fellow security staff about having to stand in the freaking hot sun all day.

After a few hours of standing around, my group was "relieved of our duties" by a 2nd wave of volunteers.  This meant we were free to leave, or we could walk around and enjoy the festivities.  I thought I would at least have a look around, and see who Zach conned into coming into town for the event.  As I was wearing the same fancy tournament shirts and passes as the "celebrities," I was able to get closer than most people could, and go places they couldn't.

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I eventually made my way over to the driving range where Zach and his PGA cronies (Stewart Cink, Scott Stallings, Ben Crane, Kyle Stanley, Bo Van Pelt, Johnson Wagner, and Taylor Leon-Coutu) were giving a "clinic" to the audience.  As they were all mouthing off at each other and being funny, a golf cart pulls up right next me and two dudes got out.  One of the guys looked reeeally familiar.  He was a shorter black guy with a goatee.  Then it hit me who it was.  I turned to the guy standing next to me, and at the same time he looked at me and we both went "Is that Carlton?"

Indeed. It was.

The Carlton

Of course when I say "Carlton," I am referring to the character Carlton Banks on the TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" starring Will Smith.  You know who I'm talking about.  The guy that adored the singer Tom Jones and essentially created his own dance called "The Carlton" when he danced to the song "Its Not Unusual."

Alfonso and some Jackson guy
In case you don't know, his real name is Alfonso Ribeiro.  He has been around forever, and been on shows like "Silver Spoons," and recently hosted a game show on GSN.  I always remember him as the kid in the Michael Jackson-Pepsi commercial in the 1980's.  Sadly though, he will be FOREVER known as "Carlton."

Anyway.  As he is standing there watching Zach introduce all his friends in attendance, it slowly became apparent to the audience that Carlton is standing off to the side.  At this point Zach had not acknowledged him yet, so it was funny to watch the reaction of people as word was whispered across the audience, and people were all turning and pointing in his direction.

It was then that Zach started taking questions from the crowd.  After a few random golf-related questions, someone asked "Can you do the Carlton Dance for us?"

Zach then said, "Well, I won't but maybe Alfonso might."  The crowd laughed and looked towards Alfonso.  Zach introduced him, said some nice things about him and his soon-to-be wife, and how he came to meet him through the various events they have crossed paths at.  He gave the microphone to Alfonso who said a few nice words about Zach, and that he was happy to come help out his charity that day.

Then he said he would do "The Carlton" just once, and that would be it.  EVERY camera in the place went up to capture the moment, and do you know what he did?  He proceeded to do a VERY HALF-ASSED four-second version of "The Carlton."  It was very disappointing.

The crowd laughed and cheered for him, and that was it.  He walked back over to where he was originally standing in front of me, and Zach continued his Q&A with the crowd.  While Alfonso was walking back towards me, I did manage to pop off a pic or two of him.  He gave me a "whats up" nod of the head after I took it, so that was cool.

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In hindsight he was probably thinking "F You."  Yeah, well F you too Carlton.

While on some level he probably appreciates being known for a character that everyone loved.  But then again - I can totally see him getting sick of having to do the whole "Carlton" shtick every where he goes and probably being asked to dance 100 times a day.  There is no way that guy could make it through and airport without being accosted and being asked to dance, or being asked if in real life he nailed his older sister on the show (she was HOT).  I would bet there are periods of his life where goes to bed at night cursing people and saying "I wish everyone would stop asking me to do this shit.  My name is Alfonso!  Not Carlton!  WHY DOESN'T WILL SMITH RETURN MY PHONE CALLS???"

Keep your head up Alfonso.  Will Smith didn't have the style you do.  You da man.

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Carlton would want you to.

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