Arnold Schwarzenegger ambushed my USC campus tour. I then gave him a tour ... and convinced his daughter to enroll.
This story wasn't supposed to be about Arnold Schwarzenegger. But as occurs with most things surrounding the man, this story became about Arnold Schwarzenegger.
While at USC, my on-campus job was tour guiding, and during my senior year, I was the Head Tour Guide. One of the perks was giving "VIP tours" in golf carts. One Thursday, my boss let me know that Maria Shriver, her daughter, and their two friends would be visiting the next day, and that she wanted me to give the tour.
At the time, Maria Shriver and Arnold were still happily (to the public, at least) married, and Arnold was in his second term as California Governor. Arnold wasn't coming on the tour, and no mention was made of him during our preparations.
The tour went well. We were parked at our final stop - Tommy Trojan, the famed statue/university landmark - and I was about to ask if they had any last questions when Maria exclaimed, "Arnold!" and hopped off the cart.
Before I could turn around to find the Governator, Arnold had plopped himself down next to me in the front seat. The cart shook. He then extended his hand, nodded and smiled, and said in a way only he can, "So tell me about USC."
Off we went (again).
I didn't have to worry about repeating the same material because Arnold fired question after question at me, all while waving and smiling at everyone we drove by. He couldn't be missed - his massive frame clearly did not fit well in the golf cart.
All was fine and well until he asked me to see a dorm. At USC, we don't show dorm rooms, but it was Arnold; he was the Governor. I told them to wait for a second while I confirmed with the dorm security (there was no such thing).
I walked in and found a freshman checking his mail. I told him that he was going to show the governor and his wife and daughter his dorm room. He had never been so excited.
Arnold didn't walk behind us and try to keep a low profile. He led the group through the dorm hallways. It was the first week of classes, and this was a freshman dorm building. Reactions from people in the hallways varied from punch-drunk laughter to saluting Arnold (yes, really).
The kid's dorm room was essentially my worst nightmare. Clothes strewn about the floor, and swimsuit model photos all over the walls.
Arnold had one comment: "Niiice."
After the mini tour for Arnold, I took them to meet with the Vice Dean of USC's College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, where Katherine Schwarzenegger was considering studying. The two girls met with the Vice Dean while Maria and Arnold sat with me in the reception area.
I sat quietly, relaxed after knowing my job for the day was done, and listened to the two of them discuss USC. This is when Arnold brought it to a whole 'nother level.
I will do my best to type how Arnold sounded.
Maria: "You know what really impressed me was the study abroad program here. They have programs in 26 different countries. Just amazing."
Maria: "I suppose that's most colleges these days. Impressive study abroad programs are almost requisite to attract the best students."
Arnold: "Yaaa. With deh Intahnet now'days, ev'ryting is so gloohbahl."
I've never had to work as hard to keep myself from losing it.
Yes, Arnold. Everything is so global. And we have the Internet to thank.
(Epilogue: Katherine Schwarzenegger ended up enrolling at USC. Maria Shriver pimped USC while doing a few national TV interviews. I'm still waiting for my commission.)
Answer by Ken Miyamoto, Screenwriter,
My professional background is from the film industry. I'm a screenwriter. Before that, I worked at Sony Pictures (Sony Studios). I started there as a security guard to get behind the walls. I moved into an office position, became a studio liaison, then worked in development as a script reader.
So when people find this out, the most common question I get is: What famous people have you seen and met?
I've met and worked with a lot. I've seen even more.
I usually throw out some names that I know people will enjoy. But I like to tell two particular stories that people always find really interesting.
I'll start with the small story.
I was working a side access gate at Sony. In a nearby stage, Harrison Ford was shooting "Two Cops," which would eventually be retitled "Hollywood Homicide."
The stage doors opened, and people started to file out. They were obviously in between shots and most were taking a little coffee and craft services break.
Anyway, I was sitting by the gate and suddenly heard the revving of a car engine. Loud. Over and over.
Being the excellent security guard I was, I walked to the gate to "observe and report" the disturbance. A car detail shop had a number of expensive sports cars within their garage. Somebody was revving the engine of a Lamborghini.
Louder, louder, and louder.
Suddenly, a voice spoke near my right ear.
"Well, that's a little obnoxious."
I replied, "Yeah. What the hell are they doing?"
I look to my right and see Harrison Ford, a.k.a Han Solo, a.k.a. Indiana Jones, a.k.a. John Book (hee hee). He's standing close enough for me to smell the coffee on his breath.
Now, for frame of reference, I have a gift. I don't get starstruck. I just never have.
But this was Harrison Ford, people.
I kept my cool, and we exchanged some more thoughts and observations. Just two guys hanging out. Okay, he's Harrison Ford and I was a security guard, so that's saying too much.
Everyone was called back into the stage by a PA.
So Harrison ... I can call him that, right? We're buds now. Harry. Harrier Ford. Harrinator. Harri-Harri-Ding-Dong. John Book ...
Anyway, Harrison Ford nods to me, winks, flashes that trademark smile and says, "It's a nice car, though."
So that's a story people enjoy.
Here's the one they love even more, because it altered my life.
Adam Sandler Tore My ACL
So by this point, I was a studio liaison for Sony. I'd handle incoming film and television production needs. I worked with a lot of actors, directors, producers, and such ... and all the way "down" to the crew.
Adam Sandler's Happy Madison company is based at Sony Studios. The Barrymore building to be exact.
Up to this point, I had run into him and his crew often. I worked with many of them. I was in his office many times. I played with his late pups Meatball and Matzo Ball (May they rest in peace). I hooked Sandler's guys with the best parking on the lot.
Now, anyone who knows Adam knows that he's an avid baller. Basketball that is. And he's damn good too.
Sony has an Athletic Center, complete with a basketball court. It has since been renovated since my time there and is now officially known as Happy Madison Square.
Anyway, I would often play pick up games with Adam and his crew after, and sometimes during, work.
You'd recognize some of them.
And Jon Loughran...
Jon wasn't there that day, but Dante was.
So I played a pick up basketball game with a bunch of guys, Adam, and the Happy Madison crew.
Adam was on the other team, and we actually ended up covering each other for the whole game.
He was Adam. The guy you often see ... but more soft spoken. One guy on their team was trash talking me for not taking the ball to the hole. "Get some balls man."
As I covered Adam, who now had the balls, Adam starts cranking jokes as we try to outplay each other. He's talking in that Sandler voice saying, "Oh, he's got some good balls. Some hairy ones. Big hairy ones..."
Hilarious. He makes a moves, my body goes one way, my knee goes the other slightly and POP!
Something in my knee pops. Pain wasn't there yet, but I could feel something was wrong. I limp. The game stops. I try to walk it off as Adam says, "You're alright?"
Some dumbass from my team says probably one of the most stupid things I've heard, "Uh oh, looks like you got a lawsuit coming your way Sandler."
I was focused on my knee but heard Adam reply, "How about I punch you in the face." Tension for them. That idiot knew right away that he said something stupid. He was nervous. First time playing basketball with Adam.
I walked around. Felt no pain. So I went back into the game. Two seconds later, as Adam made another move, POP... I GO DOWN HARD. Throbbing pain in my knee. One of the worst pains I've felt in my 37 years.
Adam sprung into action. He ran and got me some water as security called medical. I wanted to be off the court so they could play. Adam and Dante literally carry me off of the court. Adam waits for a bit until medical gets there. I tell him thanks and that I'm fine. Go play.
Medical checks me out. Adam keeps checking in. And then I'm driven to the nearby emergency room.
I later find out that I have a complete ACL tear. Complete. Thus ending my basketball hobby. Thus ending my volleyball "career." I haven't repaired it yet, despite the fact that this happened in 2005, because my son was born a couple months later, and I couldn't be off my feet. I work from home as a screenwriter so I watch him and now our second son.
So here I sit, no ACL. I haven't played real basketball since. I'm able to do martial arts though, despite a slip of the knee now and then.
And it's all because...
Adam Sandler Tore My ACL.
For some more stories, including a better and more personal Adam Sandler one (These two are told here as well, but not with as much details), check out my answer toMore questions on Storytelling: