I like to have people over for dinner, and sometimes I fantasize about the celebrities it would be cool to invite. Maybe you do this, too, and have your own wish list.
Now, I’m not naïve. First of all, it’s not going to happen. Secondly, I have met some celebrities, mostly athletes, a few musicians, a couple of actors, and, surprise, surprise, they’re not always as charming as you’d like them to be. Some are, some aren’t.
So, should the invitation be accepted, the potential for disaster, or at least an awkward few hours, is very real. But it’s a fantasy, so let’s get on with it.
Near the top of my list are Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. I know, I know, it’s a guy thing, probably even a Boomer guy thing. But wouldn’t it be something to sit around the dining table with those two bad boys? Maybe I’ve heard all their stories before, but I’d have no trouble sitting through them again. Over drinks, or whatever it is Keith consumes these days.
Speaking of musicians, I’d love to have Sarah McLachlan drop by, but Dianne has a veto here. Seriously, I like her music and her politics, so I feel like an hour or two over dinner would teach me a lot. And I would try not to flirt. Dianne and I agree that having Jann Arden as a dinner guest would be fun, partly because we like her music, but mostly because we like her personality. She seems genuine, funny, yet thoughtful; I read her touching memoir about losing her mother to Alzheimer’s. I think she’d be as good a bet as any.
Margaret Atwood would be a good guest, I think. Intimidating, though. She’s so well read, smart, witty, occasionally acerbic. I haven’t read all her work, but enough to get by, and we did have an English professor in common, so that could break the ice. Besides, I’d be mostly there to listen – and to serve.
I’d like to invite the New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik. He is one of the journalists I most admire, staggered as I am by his perception, his knowledge, and the eloquence of his writing. I met him once, briefly, and found him quite personable.
It’s too late for some others. Neil Peart, for instance, best known as the drummer for the rock band Rush, who died too young a couple of years ago. Somehow I missed out on Rush when I was younger – the songs that got radio play weren’t their best –, but I got to know Peart more recently through the books he’s written, about his cycling and motorcycle adventures. I cycle, too, and his stories inspire me to do more bike tours. He had a home in the Laurentians and cross-country skied there, so I always wondered if maybe we’d cross paths. But I know he was shy of celebrity, so I wouldn’t have bothered him.
And, of course, Muhammad Ali. The Champ. I’ve already told the embarrassing story of my missed opportunity to meet him and interview him, so it would be great to have a second chance. If the timing was right, and he was still healthy, I think he would make a stimulating guest, too, one of those guests with whom the conversation would never wane, and possibly go on all night. I’d have to train for it.
Now, let’s be clear, there are a few who will never get an invite – you probably have your own list. Mine is quite long, but let’s not get petty and spoil the fun. Or risk a libel suit.
Of course, wrapping up our playful little game, should anyone on our wish list actually accept, reality would bite very quickly. What to serve? That’s always a pertinent question these days; are they vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, gluten-averse, do they have allergies? Do they drink, and if so, what’s their preference? And, gulp, how much? Should we hire a sommelier for the evening? Or someone from Beau’s?
Proceeding along these lines, of course, we’d become increasingly frazzled. What will they think of our house; should we redecorate, or hire a gardener? Will they mock the art on our walls or the books on our shelves? What should the background music be, if we want them to think – to know — we’re hip and cool. What do we call them? Mr., Mrs., Ms.? Mick and Keith?
Oof! It’s all too much. Better off, I guess, to have our friends over again. Talk about sure bets.