September 30, 2008

How I Met Sandra Day O'Connor

Here's how my first meeting with former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor went down:

I was opening for her (and other author-acts) as this festival in Carmel.

I had just done my routine and was coming off the stage as she and her brother arrived, escorted by the superintendent of schools who was set to introduce her to the auditorium of high school kids that had been bused in for the day.

"Oh, that looks interesting," said Justice O'Connor, noticing my guitar. "What are you going to play for us?"

I had to tell her that I'd already played, and, to my surprise, she asked "and what songs did you play?"

So I told her that I had written a book called King Dork, so I had opened with the theme song to it, "King Dork."

"And then I played a song called 'I Wanna Ramone You' and after that another one called 'Even Hitler had a Girlfriend.'"

"Oh, we don't like that one," the superintendent said.

"He had a hell of a lot more than that!" said the Justice simultaneously, and somewhat cryptically I thought, though I have no doubt she was right. I was a little worried that she was as offended by the song title as the superintendent appeared to be. Then, however, she added: "I'm sorry I missed it."

I was asked to play a short song to open the second session for intermediate school kids even though I wasn't on the schedule. I did "Knock Knock (Please Let Me In)" and it went fine even though the kids never quite figured out when to say "who's there?" every time. When I came off stage, there was Sandra Day O'Connor sitting in the wing applauding and nodding, and she ended up getting there early and watching the whole set the following day.

I hadn't known what to expect, or if I'd even get a chance to speak to her at all, but she turned out to be very nice, very sharp, extremely interesting, and quite a good conversationalist. We actually ended up talking quite a bit back stage and at various events.

Lots of other stuff happened at the festival and there were all sorts of other interesting people there, but the main point of this post has been to explain how it was that things happened to arrange themselves so that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wound up listening to me play "I Wanna Ramone You" and "Even Hitler had a Girlfriend." And that's how it was.


Posted by Dr. Frank at September 30, 2008 03:52 AM | TrackBack

wow, congrats!

Posted by: aaron at September 30, 2008 06:08 AM

Glad to see she finally learned to "take it easy". That John Riggins was right. Neat-o story btw.

Posted by: josh at September 30, 2008 01:15 PM

I like how in that review you were introduced on stage by President Roosevelt. And from your story, sounds like a pretty successful festival all round!

Posted by: Leah at October 1, 2008 02:25 PM

I think that you and Sandra Day O'Connor should go out on tour together--find out if she can sing. Great story and great meeting of the minds.
Maybe in four years you run as Prez and VP--not sure who gets which slot.
Husband George and I enjoyed meeting you at Carmel--an event that brought all sorts of interesting people together. Never never would have met you otherwise and had not heard of King Dork before. You may or may not remember signing our book--you just may be the only author we ever met at a booksigning who did not have a pen on him--so you have ours. Just started King Dork and am laughing out loud.
Your new fan
Lauren John

Posted by: Lauren John at October 1, 2008 06:20 PM

My worlds have collided:

Posted by: Aaron R. at October 3, 2008 11:43 PM