The day started like most do: My alarm clock made a terrible noise which I have grown to resent. As always, Omar the cat with the not-so-good learning curve waited to get underfoot so I could trip on him as I tiptoed to the bathroom.
Little did I know that I was tiptoeing to destiny – only moments from stepping on my cat, but mere hours from my hand touching Kevin Federline.
The first hint that my life might be taking an exciting new K-Fed-related turn was when my producer said we’d be conducting our Senate candidate interview in a conference room that Showbiz Tonight would also be using. When I heard their guest was Kevin Federline my heart skipped a beat – like a bad musician.
Up to this point, nothing in my life could have prepared me for the experience of meeting Mr. Federline. I’d met many celebrities but they had all been famous for things like singing, or politics, or being pretty, or acting in films. Never had I met someone who was famous for marrying the legendary, oft-pregnant Britney Spears. This, I imagined, would be a larger than life moment – bigger than a vision of St. Clare telling me TiVo was doomed.
In Saving Private Ryan Spielberg brilliantly conveys the terror the soldiers felt as their landing craft approached the Normandy coast. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that’s exactly how I felt when I realized I would soon be deposited on the shores of Federline Beach to storm the bunkers of his mind.
All day my thoughts were consumed with the potential meeting and frankly, nothing else mattered. This was a man who had at least twice humped, unprotected, the woman who sang Oops! I did it again. Over and over in my head I tried to recall the etiquette for being received by an emissary of pop culture. I was sweating – and I’m positive it’s not just because I was wearing three layers and drinking hot coffee.
When we approached the room in which Mr. Federline was said to be located, my heart raced. Could it be true? I saw a lone black gentleman in a yellow leather jacket sitting outside the room. I knew this just had to be K-Fed’s posse.
Minutes later the door opened and there on the eighth floor of the Time Warner building I found myself face to face with Kevin “K-Fed” Federline. Here, before me, a man who had married and babied with Britney Spears – and by doing so had shown that no matter how rich and famous a girl might be, she’ll always revert to her true roots.
My world changed at that moment. There would be no going back, unless I turned around to go to the break room.
The greatest thing about K-Fed is he seems like a totally common person. I had always imagined he’d enter the room on a litter carried by slaves. He’d be wearing fine silk garments and Britney’s jewelry, and I would bow a gentleman’s bow and he’d allow me to approach. But it was much, much different than that. He really seemed like an average person. In fact, if I hadn’t known better I might have assumed he was there to deliver Anderson Cooper’s lunch fritters.
Turns out Kevin, despite being an incredible superstar, has the unpretentious air of a go-kart mechanic.
Indeed, my companion – Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins – was introduced and had absolutely no idea in whose great presence he stood.
“Are you a New York voter?,” said Hawkins.
“Anfg, blurble, mrrrph, no, no,” mumbled Kevin, who raps.
Howie handed him campaign literature and a Green party pitch. Kevin took it all in with grace. He’s as soft-spoken as the Dalai Lama and has mastered the ability to explain himself in as few words as possible.
“Cool,” said Britney’s future ex-husband.
I was thunderstruck when I realized that within moments the world-famous Federline would be taking his gaze off of Howie and directing it at me. It was now or never. When we made eye contact my instinct kicked in. “Hi Kevin. Brian Sack,” I said. Our hands connected and I immediately realized my firm grip was nothing compared to Kevin’s limp, regal squeeze.
I wondered if one day I would be able to deliver a handshake as powerful as an infant’s wheeze. I knew that the answer would be no, for I am nothing.
People often say that at very intense moments – such as right before you pilot your helicopter into a mountainside or plummet off a building – life seems to slow down. In most cases that’s because your brain perceives the potential for grievous bodily injury and wants to enjoy the last few seconds it has left. But in the case of touching Kevin Federline’s hand, it’s different. Your brain slows down because you can’t believe you’re touching the very same hand that’s been used to both cup the fake breasts of and collect allowance from pop-goddess and Madonna-kisser Britney Spears. Was I not, at that very moment, only two degrees separated from another music superstar – one who can adopt black children on a whim? Amazing.
I could feel my heart racing (I believe this is conveyed in the photograph) and my mind filled with a thousand thoughts: Why is he mumbling? What is he saying? Are they done with the conference room? Who’s the gay guy with the Technicolor dreamscarf? Is Laurin Sydney still on Showbiz Today? Or is it Showbiz Tonight? Why, God, why?
Just as soon as it had begun, it was over. Having been stunned by Kevin’s Clintonesque charisma I was unable to come up with anything to say. It was as if we were playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons and Kevin was a powerful level 14 wizard elf who’d cast a silence spell on me. Compared to Kevin I was a mere goblin. Or hobgoblin. Whichever one is smaller.
It was probably a blessing that the time was short anyway. What good would more time with him have been? What can I talk about other than books, news, history and wine? Kevin doesn’t need to know of these silly “little people” things. The best I could have offered was my opinion that Kanye West is a twat. But I would not dare risk upsetting such a man with my insignificant views on things I don’t understand.
Within moments, short girls yammering on mobile phones had guided Kevin away from me. Nevertheless, with a man like Kevin a brief moment is all you need. Those few seconds put me in a unique class of individuals: People who have touched Kevin Federline’s hand. My life was going to be different from that point onward, and I knew it.
Once the excitement had died down, I made it a point to tell Howie who he’d just met.
“He married Britney Spears,” I said.
“That guy?” asked Howie.
Yes. That guy.