I don’t follow the lives of celebrities at all, just so you know. I don’t watch non-Netflix TV and I only pick up a magazine if it’s Pedicure Day, and they usually don’t put celebrities in Traditional Home. I have no reason to know what goes on in Hollywood, is what I’m trying to say, and even when it’s screamed all over Facebook, my feelings toward celebrities typically fall on a spectrum somewhere between “I could not be any less interested” and “these people repulse and disgust me.”
But I haven’t always even had such depth of character.
Back in the day when I was young and single, a certain hottie with a Texas drawl – who happened to be from the next city over – was just hitting the big screen. And side note? I HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET HIM AND TURNED IT DOWN. My boss at the hospital where I worked at the time said he had some tickets to meet yada yada some moviestar from Longview yada yada at some meet and greet and blah blah blah you can have the tickets if you want them, and I was all, “Pshaw. As if I’d want to meet an unknown actor from LONGVIEW,” spitting the word ‘Longview’ with as much contempt as I could muster, because it was common knowledge in those days, when I was in my early twenties and self-absorbed and immature and had not yet been knocked down off of my high horse, that Tyler people were just BETTER than Longview people, and I had better things to do than go flatter the ego of some pimple-faced redneck who had made it into some dumb B-movie. And then I saw A Time to Kill, realized what I’d missed out on, curled up in the fetal position and sucked my thumb and refused to eat for 3 days because HAVE YOU SEEN JAKE BRIGANCE IN A TIME TO KILL? I COULD HAVE MET HIM. AND HE WOULD HAVE FALLEN FOR ME, NATURALLY. AND I WOULD HAVE MARRIED HIM AND HAD BABIES AND BEEN A MEDIA DARLING AND HIS LIFELONG DATE TO ALL THE RED CARPET EVENTS. AND I MISSED OUT on account of my sheer snobbery.
Let that be a lesson to us all.
So yeah, Matthew McConaughey caught my eye, and suffice it to say, I know who he is, though I haven’t stalked him with binoculars even once
since the restraining order since I got married, because I have found the true LOML and when you find your LOML, you can stop daydreaming ridiculous daydreams about celebrities you missed out on meeting. Not that I daydreamed about Matthew McConaughey or had his posters up in my apartment. I didn’t. I didn’t, ok? Gosh.
HOWEVER, Texas drawls always go a long way with me, it’s true.
But other than that Texas Drawl, the crush I had on him in A Time to Kill back in the mid-90s, and of course his proclivity for interesting bongo-playing sessions, I don’t know much about him. But one thing I do know is that Urban Legend has it that his father is deceased.
And I say ‘Urban Legend’ because I have seen his father. Several. Times.
You know, I’ve told several friends this story, and they’re all, “Matthew McConaughey’s dad is dead, and yada yada yada, and you don’t have proof, blah blah blah,” but I can’t get bogged down in those kinds of details right now. Sometimes you just know things in your gut, you know? And what more proof do you even need? The gut feeling never lies.
The first time I met Mr. McConaughey, Senior, was at a garage sale I had with my sister. A man walks up with the exact same voice as Matthew.
Exact same slow drawl.
But you know, I didn’t catch on to that at first. The guy hung out for quite a while, perusing all of our treasures and chatting with us, and it dawned on me: there’s something familiar about this guy. And the more he talked, the more I KNEW. “Betsy,” I whispered, “I think that’s Matthew McConaughey’s dad,” which was TOTALLY plausible what with the family being from the next town over. I mean, people drive 40+ minutes from Longview to shop Tyler garage sales all the time, right?
“It can’t be,” she whispered back. “His dad is dead.”
But then the more we looked for it, the more we saw it…. THIS GUY LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE AN OLDER, SCRUFFIER VERSION OF MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY.
He looked like him.
He talked like him.
AND IF IT LOOKS LIKE MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY AND TALKS LIKE MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY… KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN’?
And WHAT ARE THE ODDS, with us living a mere 42 MINUTES FROM LONGVIEW, THAT ANOTHER MAN SHOPPING AT OUR GARAGE SALE, THAT LOOKED AND SOUNDED LIKE MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, COULD NOT BE HIS DAD? There is literally NO WAY this man could have been anyone else. I could calculate the odds in my head using all of the advanced math I learned in college, and it would be like a 0.0000000000342% chance that it wasn’t Matthew’s Dad. We were 99.99990342% sure.
But there was one catch… “But this guy is so SHORT,” I whispered to Betsy. “It can’t be him,” at which point she gasped,
“MATTHEW. MCCONAUGHEY. IS. SHORT.”
Did you just get chills? Because I did.
We were ON TO SOMETHING. I didn’t know whether to call up E! True Hollywood Story, or the local news, or what, so we just called up Betsy’s friend S., who was THE WORLD’S LEADING EXPERT and BIGGEST obsessed fan of Matthew McConaughey, EVER. She would know.
I mean, S. would TOTALLY boil Camilla’s pet bunny given the chance, and after we may have possibly mentioned that we had this particular real live celebrity SHOPPING AT OUR GARAGE SALE, she burned rubber, broke 7 laws and may have run over a couple of small children and outrun a cop screeching over to Betsy’s house on two wheels to meet the guy. At which point she laid eyes upon Mr. M, Senior, and may have yelled at us, there may have been profanity and things thrown, I can’t remember and it’s not important now.
“THAT. IS. NOT. HIS. DAD.,”
she barked through clenched teeth.
And granted, Mr. M, senior, did look a little, how shall I say, HOMELESS. And ‘scruffy’ may be a bit of an understatement.
And, you know, there were odors inconsistent with how you’d expect celebrity families to smell.
I remained undeterred. It WAS him, I just knew it, and like I said to S, “If YOU wanted to avoid the paparazzi, and carry on about your normal life, shopping at garage sales and whatnot, doesn’t it make sense that you’d pretend to be dead and dress homeless?”
Seriously, how does that not make sense?
But I had to be sure. And seeing as how Mr. M was at our garage sale for OVER AN HOUR digging through our old paraphernalia and bric-a-brac, we worked up the courage to ask.
Which I thought was an innocent enough question, but it turns out that no question is safe when someone is that intent on hiding from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.
“Do you have a son?” I asked Mr. M’s back as he stood at the table in front of me, rifling through our old pots and pans.
His back stiffened. He straightened up ever. so. deliberately. slowly. and turned around in slow motion to face me, frighteningly expressionless. “NOOOOO.” he answered, very definitively, drawing out the two-word with his signature McConaughey Texas drawl, and giving us the icy cold bird eye of death.
“Why?” he asked, just as slowly, his flat, neutral poker face entirely devoid of any remnants of the connection we’d felt we had forged with the guy, much less any friendship or emotional traits, as he stood there like a cowboy from an old western about to blow the bad guy to kingdom come out front of the saloon.
“Oh, you just look like somebody… ” my voice trailing off as I realized from his body language that THIS WAS NOT THE THING TO ASK.
“No. Not me. I don’t have a son,” he answered hurriedly, dropping the armload of garage sale loot he’d spent OVER AN HOUR gathering up, and turning on his heel abruptly, and LEAVING.
Just like that.
The man hangs out at our garage sale over an hour, but when he realizes we’re on to him, he’s GONE. JUST. LIKE. THAT.
Betsy and I were stunned. Because if that is not PROOF of our little theory, and he was not afraid that we had exposed his cover, then WHAT?
There is LITERALLY no other way to explain the man’s bizarre behavior. Literally. No. Other. Way.
At this point, we were afraid.
If Mr. McConaughey had gone to such extreme lengths to convince the public that he was dead, and then proceeded to dress, act, and smell like a homeless person to avoid the fame and paparazzi that goes along with being a McConaughey, WHAT DANGER WERE WE IN, NOW THAT WE’D LET ON THAT WE WERE IN ON HIS LITTLE SECRET?
We packed up the contents of the garage sale, lowered the garage door, and closed the drapes, and vowed to never have another garage sale again, because this guy is Hollywood and that meant his goons would soon be ALL OVER US.
And then some time went by, and we forgot about our little chance encounter, and one of us moved again, I forgot who, so naturally we had another garage sale.
And GUESS WHO SHOWED UP:
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY’S DAD.
And guess who has shown up at every garage sale I’ve had since then? In all of the various neighborhoods around Tyler in which my sister and I have lived, who has shown up at every single one?
You guessed it.
My friend, Mr. M, professional garage sale shopper, possibly homeless.
Or is he?
Perhaps he’s just a guy who wanted to escape the McConaughey spotlight and…
just keep livin’, man, l-i-v-i-n.
We’ll just never know.