You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Friday, October 10, 2008

Laser Tag, Josh Hartnett, and me.

Instead of talking about Matt's celebrity encounters I decided I will have to talk about mine. Specifically, my interaction with Josh Hartnett.

Yes, that Josh Hartnett.

As most people know he is from this area, but this happened in 1995, the summer I moved to the Twin Cities, and long before Josh Hartnett was JOSH HARTNETT.

I shall explain.

When I moved up here after my sophomore year in college to transfer to the U of M, my pressing concern was to find a place to live and find a job. I lived with my boyfriend in an apartment (Yeah, I'm going to HELL) and got a job working at the Mall of America. Specifically, I worked at Express and worked in the stockroom with another girl and we would unpack the daily shipments of clothes, check off the invoices, put the sensor tags on the clothes, hang them in the stockroom, and make periodic sweeps of the floor to see which items needed to be replenished. It wasn't a terrible job; I thought it was better than working the floor and trying to make sales quotas by assuring a 65-year old lady that, "Why no, that denim mini-skirt and tube top doesn't make you look like a retired Vegas hooker."

I just did my job and I also liked closing the store because I could dust mop the floors, refold sweaters (I like to clean and organize) and change the light bulbs. My boyfriend at the time worked in the mall too, at a place called Starbase Omega. It was a laser tag place that was popular with the tourists and kids. Basically, he got paid to wear a jumpsuit, run around in the dark with a gun, and "shoot" people for fun.

One day, near the end of summer, I was done early and wandered over to Starbase Omega to see when he would be finished working. I find him standing with another guy outside the entrance clowning around. They are wearing their jumpsuits and trying to entice the mall goers to come in and play a game. I notice the guy with him is extremely good looking. His name is Josh.

I ask my boyfriend when he's done and they say they have another group coming in, a birthday party and that there is room for another person. Josh says, "You can play for free. We won't tell."

I say, "Okay, but I don't know how to play laser tag."
My boyfriend says something like, "Dude! You just shoot them!"

Okay, then.

I go in with this group of screaming 8 year-old boys. Josh shows me how to wear my pack and how to fire the gun. You stand in this little room that looks like a space pod and they close the door and there's light and noise and smoke and shaking, like you're being transported to the moon. All the boys on my team are hollering with excitement. I'm wondering, "My god, now what?"

The doors open to a dark room with day-glo paint and black lights. The floor is rubber and there are foam boulders and other obstacles scattered about. Music is blaring and Josh says, "Let's go, team!" We run out the doors and the other group comes out of their doors and everyone starts shooting.

It is absolutely asinine. I can't really hear anything, don't know if my gun works properly so I run around like a headless chicken just pulling the trigger. Apparently, if you get hit three times your gun loses its power so you have to go to a recharge station to activate it again. I didn't know this, so I obviously get hit right away and never recharge my gun. After a few minutes I go and hide behind a foam boulder and crouch down with my knees up to my chest. Every so often a kid runs past me, sees me and stops, then shoots me execution style. I lay there like I'm actually dead and wait for it to be over.

After what seemed like forever the music stops and the lights come up and everyone goes to see how they did.

If I remember correctly it was like the arcade. The winner got so many points and could pick out a plastic piece of junk for a prize. Everyone looks at their scores. Some people have 40 points.

I have zero.

The boys look at me with disgust. "You stink!" one of them volunteers happily.
I try to say I didn't know I had to recharge my gun.
My boyfriend shakes his head; I sense he is embarrassed by me.
I'm embarrassed by me.
Josh says, "Yeah, I think that's the worst score ever. It's probably a new record."
"Thanks," I say.

Now I've tried to verify that this in fact was Josh Hartnett, because at that time he would have been still in high school.

A few years later when I saw him in a movie, I remember thinking, "That looks like laser-tag Josh."

So although I have not been able to verify these facts, I'm sticking by my story. And if Josh Hartnett is reading this and thinks I'm a bald-face liar he can send me an email message and I will definitely retract the story.

Confidential to Josh: Please attach a picture of yourself with the email for authenticating purposes. Preferably shirtless. Thanks.

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