August 09, 2006

Strange but true: grocery store celebrity run-in

You know my thing for grocery stores? Well, now I've got another point to add to the list of what's fabulous about them: you're more likely at a grocery store than anywhere else to inconspicuously run into a famous person.

I've run into Dave Matthews before at a Whole Foods, but didn't bother saying anything other than "hi" in passing, because it was crowded and he's a regular there -- I figured I'd save the mobbing for later.

But last night, there I was at the grocery store, in the aisle with all the soups and sauces and whatnot, when I looked up, and the overhead lights had been blocked out by a gigantic man holding a box of macaroni, pushing a teeny tiny shopping cart and with a teenier tinier young woman next to him.

It was the (very large and somewhat famous) Bob Sapp.

For those of you unfamiliar with Bob Sapp, here's a rundown:

Defensive Lineman for the UW, before being drafted by the Bears and then leaving the NFL because of (gasp!) steroid use.

He's also a kickboxer, world champion wrestler and general martial arts guru.

He appeared as the enormous convict in "The Longest Yard" with Adam Sandler.

Neck-to-head ratio? Ridiculous (clearly).

6 feet, 7 inches, nearly 400 pounds.

He's been nicknamed "The Beast", and has made it big in Asia as a fighter, where apparently they think he is a terrifying ape-like creature, per this video, which actually has some pretty crazy highlights in it, after you get over the part where he eats a plastic baby doll's head off its body.

"Hey!" I said, (in retrospect, not very polite, particularly as he's huge and could crush me with one hand...) "I know you!"
Bob grinned and then actually giggled, which surprised me. It was sort of a melodic, silly little giggle for such a large, imposing man. (Like Tyson's lisp. What is that all about, anyway? Big men with little, wussy voices and mannerisms -- it's weird, and almost formulaic, like huge black men:wussy voices as little fuzzy rabbits:fluffy tails.)
"Well," I stuttered a bit, "I mean, I don't really know you, of course, but you're Bob Sapp, right? Longest Yard? Football? Fighter?"
"Yeah, that's right!" Bob said through a widening smile, almost like he was surprised I recognized him. This exclamation was followed by another giggle, which I discovered he would use as regular and consistently surprising punctuation every time he spoke from then on out.
"Well, I'm a big fan!" I said, though I'm pretty sure recognizing him doesn't really constitute 'big fan' status.

(I mean, I didn't want to hurt his feelings with a 'Well, I know who you are, but only care a little as you're presently the only celebrity in sight. Now, if William Shatner were to suddenly appear, I'd drop you like Britney Spears' baby in favor of him, but...')

I continued: "What was it like beating The Refrigerator? Is Adam Sandler cool in real life? Do you really take steroids? How in the world do you have sex with that tiny asian girl who is clearly your girlfriend who is shopping with you without permanently damaging her?"

(Okay, maybe I didn't exactly ask that, but you get the gist.) Poor guy giggled and answered and giggled and answered some more before I realized I had unexpectedly become a weird fan, and apologized, saying I'd let him get back to his shopping.

Later, he actually hunted me down in the produce section (that part's not a joke -- he seriously came and found me to chat some more) to tell me about his upcoming movie with Rob Schneider (who, strangely enough, I referenced in my "Naked!" post a week or two ago).

"I've got a movie coming out in 8 months with Rob Schneider," said Bob.
"Really? What's the plotline?" I asked.
"Well, that's the problem," he said/giggled. "If I tell you, you might not see the movie!"
"Try me," I challenged.
"Well, Rob plays this guy who's trying not to go to jail because he doesn't want to get fucked in the ass," said Bob, making a thrusting motion when he said "fucked in the ass".
I swallowed, and tried not to laugh. "Go on..."
"And, well, I am the guy trying to fuck him in the ass," he continued. "But I get beat up in the end."

Yeah, maybe not such a sophisticated plotline, but now that I've met the guy in person, I've gotta go see the movie, of course. So I'll let you know, in 8 months, how it is watching Rob Schneider run around covering his cornhole for an hour and a half.

In the end, he drove away in his F-150 (no obnoxious rims, or tinting or anything!) after we each checked out and chatted a bit more, and that was it. Just me, my groceries, and yet another reason to go shopping again tomorrow: Close (if a little strange) encounters of the semi-celebrity kind.


jali said...

I wouldn't have recognized him - I would have probably would have wondered where I'd seen him before, but I don't think I would have put it together.

Cool that he stopped to chat with you.

Chuckles said...

I would have said, Jeezus Christ!


I might go see that movie.

missy&chrissy said...

i KNEW there was a reason we were so obsessed with grocery shopping. thank you for this awesome story - a reminder that i should be spending more time in Shoprite hunting for celebs

kibby said...


I just found this blog via Drew's trapperjuan-- so now i have something else to read while i'm bored at work. Thanks!
On another note-- i also had a celebrity run-in in a grocery store. A few years back while visiting my grandparents in Lake Forest, illinois i met MR. T (!!!) in the grocery store. It was the best day of my life.

Blonde Vigilante said...

Girl, you are a GREAT really capture your experiences. I wish I could write like that. Just great! Hysterical!

Trebuchet said...

Chuckles: I think my "HEY!!" was sufficient. Also, I might have peed a little. He was very large.

M&C: I know. I've been singing the praises of hanging out in grocery stores since before it was "cool". Oh, wait, it's still not cool. Well, fuck it,then. It can be our little secret.

Kibby: I PITY THE FOOL!! Very cool, and welcome to the depravity! Hope to see more of you...

Blondie: I'm a huge fan of flattery. Even undeserved flattery. Thank you. I'm glad you're here!

ShadowAngel said...

Is it just my imagination, or do you seem to have a story-too-good-to-be-true on average once a week! LOL

Hmmm... my best celebrity encounter was when I was 14 and I saw Andre the Giant, of WWF (now WWE) wrestling and acting (The Princess Bride) fame, at an Italian restaurant. His nickname is very appropriate, shall we say. Sadly, the friend that I was with and I couldn't get up the guts to go talk to him, mostly because she was wearing a shirt of his biggest rival of the moment.

Trebuchet said...

"Stop that rhyming and I mean it!"

"Anybody want a peanut?"

Egan said...

I had no idea Bob Sapp was doing this. He's a legend in these parts.

Egan said...

Hey, which grocery store was this? Can I guess the U Village QFC? That's where I saw him back when we went to school at the same time.

Trebuchet said...

Not the UVillage, but good guess (I used to be a regular there, too!). It was the Kirkland one. On 85th. (Where I'm now, sadly, a regular. Aaaah, yuppies. So boring.)

Egan said...

Ha, that's my hometown. I grew up just north of Totem Lake. I know that area all too well. I'm so proud of you for approaching The Beast. I'd quietly hide in the Organics section.

Trebuchet said...

You know what I love in Totem Lake? Cafe Veloce. My favorite mediterranean restaraunt of all time. Plus, I dig the checked tablecloths and motorcycle memorabilia. You wouldn't expect that place to have a fabulous wine list and a solid menu, but it does!

Anonymous said...

I went to Mitchell High School With Bob Sapp and just by accident realized he was famous. My friend (who also went to HS w/him), was doing some research about diets and happened to run across him, as he endorses the products they sell.
Anyhow... He is the nicest guy. His locker was just near mine, so I was lucky to get to know him pretty well! He once lifted me up over his head by my jean belt loops and ripped them-- he was huge back then, but seeing the recent pictures of him is unbelievable, he's almost unrecognizabele! He would really be an fun person to run into at the grocery store, fun and friendly. Your story is just how I remember him!