A Sighting. A Sniff. A Story.


April 17, 2012 by jooshanoosh

Lindsay and I lived in California for the first year of our marriage. It was lovely and when I think back on that time the whole year is golden and hazy like pony boy thinking about life after the Karate Kid died. One of the best parts of that year was living so close to two of my best friends Adam and Katie. If you have ever lived away from family you find that you get to pick the people you spend your Sundays and holidays with. Not that I would ever change my family, they are the very best…better than yours even, but when they were far away we scooped up a few of the finest folks on earth, and Adam and Katie were, and are, those.

So back to living in LA. The lot of us (me, Lindsay, Katie and Adam) were at the Grove, an outdoor shopping complex which is the great grandfather of The Riverwoods, and we saw Sean Hayes walking to get an ice cream with his buddy. You know Sean, from Will and Grace, he was neither Will or Grace but the boy one of the other two. Well, Adam and Katie are very cool around stars and I am very Not. I broke into a full sprint as Lindsay and Adam cheered me on calling, “No! No! No! Patrick Don’t!” As I got closer to Mr. Hayes I realized I didn’t really have a plan, so this is what I did. I got in line for ice cream right behind him, and I mean right behind him. Then I started, very slowly, to inch as close to him as I could–surely if I got close enough we would become fast friends and we would laugh about the time Sean found me curled up like a Mongoose on his back. I do have to say that I got VERY close, but then I still didn’t have a real game plan so I did the only thing one could do from such an insanely close position… I smelled. I took a good, quick whiff and walked away. And that was it…for a time.

Lindsay and I lived in New York City for the 2.5th-8th year of our marriage. And we scooped up more fr-amily. Lots more actually and I have good Liz and Jared stories and Matt and Buffy stories but this one is a Nathan and Suzie story.

So Nathan was a dancer on Broadway…no like he was in the shows and stuff not just out dancing on the street. Anyway, he was in the show Damn Yankees and wouldn’t you know it was starring Sean Hayes! And wouldn’t you know it but he invited us as is plus 2 to join him opening night for a small (400 people) gathering after the show?!

So there we were standing in line to meet Sean Hayes and my all but forgotten memory of the neck sniffing came rushing back to me.

“Do you think I should tell him that I smelled him?” I asked Lindsay, Nathan, and Suzie.

“No!” Said Lindsay.

“Do Not.” Said Nathan.

“Wait…You smelled him?” said Suzie.

I knew that I had the thought that I wanted to think about wondering if I was going to tell him, but it was Nathan’s show and I had once gone on a date with the girl from Major Dad and had prepped by reading her Bio on-line and then told her facts about herself throughout the night. She never took my call again. So I would hate for Nathan to have to see Sean in the showers of the locker room and have to apologize for his psycho stalker friend. (I don’t know if there are locker rooms in the back of a theater, but I couldn’t risk it.) So I absolutely made up my mind not to say anything…until.

Sean: I like your suit.

Me: Yeah? Target. I got it from Target.

Sean: Really? Are you kidding?

Me: NOPE (kinda shouting) Target! 80 bucks! Who knew.

This was all fine as I did get the suit from Target and it was 80 dollars. But then he looked at me sideways and said, “Do I know you from somewhere? You seem kinda familiar. “

I closed my mouth as tight as I could but the words were falling all over each other scrambling up and out of my throat.

“I may have snuck up behind you at the Grove in LA and smelled the back of your neck.”

Sean: What?

Me: Yeah…smells the same.

At this point I was thinking, ‘This is real cool. It’s kinda funny and he doesn’t seem to be armed.’ but then I look at my wife and friends who’s faces all were blank and round with dismay dripping off their chins and staining their carefully picked outfits.

Sean: So you just walked up behind me and went…(he wafted his hand toward his face as a chef who’s just finished baking a cake.)

Me: Well, I was real close. I doubt I used my hands.

I think in the end he thought I was kidding him. He was so nice to us and (really) every person that wanted to talk to him. He would never think to run up and smell someone’s neck and so we must be kidding him. He went on tell me I should be a writer and Nathan told him I was. (Part Time anyway) But then he was swept up by other neck sniffing fans and I was brushed aside.

And that was it…for a time.

Remember Katie and Adam from LA, well Katie moved to our couch in New York and while she was there we wrote a play and that play got sorta big for a while and we did it in LA then New York then LA again then New York again. It was real fun and people sorta liked it and once it was reviewed by the New York Times and you will never guess what they said! (Luckily you won’t have to.)

“Patrick Livingston gives a nice Sean Hayes-accented comic performance…”
Anita Gates, New York Times. Published: October 12, 2009

Well, there it was! In the blooming New York Times! What was I suppose to do when Nathan came home and told us that he had got us tickets to the opening night of his new show, Promises Promises starring the lovely and talented Kristin Chenoweth and her dear friend…well it wouldn’t be a story if it wasn’t…Sean Hayes!

Here is a picture of me handing Sean a printed out copy of the Review…I had highlighted the pertinent information, make things easier for him.

3 things you should know about this picture:

#1: That white haired man toward the bottom is Burt Bacharach.
#2: That girl in the grey dress over my shoulder is Merill Streep’s daughter, Mamie.
#3: Just off screen to my left (your right) Lindsay and Suzie are weeping with embarrassed laughter. Holding on to each other for emotional and physical support. It was priceless.

So there you have it:
A sighting.
A sniff.
A story.

Every word true. And the moral? Easy.

‘Smell life by the neck, cause you never know what the New York Times might say about you.’

13 thoughts on “A Sighting. A Sniff. A Story.

  1. Beautiful tux, Target?

  2. Lisa says:

    He will never forget you now. And I will never forget this story. "80 BUCKS!!!" (I understand you.)

  3. Momma says:

    I think in heaven you and Sean Hayes were standing in front of me, and I was sort of doing enee meanie min-e moe, and I am SOOO glad someone even smarter than me, with a much greater plan, said take that one, he will be AMAZING and have the best blue eyes, marry well, and bless your life everyday! And who knew he was RIGHT! I love stories about you being in fancy places written close to home. your Momma

  4. Josh Bingham says:

    Patrick, I love this story (though not as much as the St. Paddys fight, true.). I also love your mom.

  5. Josh Bingham says:

    I think God asked me the same thing he did your mom about who I wanted to have in my book club, and I'm so glad I chose you. Because I'm pretty certain Sean Hayes could never tell a story like that. Also, because he couldn't sniff his own neck.

  6. Mallory says:

    Definitely one of my favorite Patch Stories. Told only as you can tell it! I also really love the $80 suit.

  7. Lowdogg says:

    Great story (came here via Eric Snider's tweet)

  8. Ken Craig says:

    I will be telling this story at every party I go to. Once I start getting invited to parties. LOVED it.

  9. Chris Liv says:

    That is a great story. Who knew that Sean Hayes would play such a huge part in our family. Mom thinks she knew him in heaven! And I thought you peaked when you got that autograph from Rosie O'Donnell!PS I also toss my vote in for a St. Paddy's Day fight post in the near future!

  10. Momma says:

    I totally agree about the dashing young husband on st PATRICK'S day, But a favorite has to be the zooming scout camp story too.

  11. Allison says:

    On the BEST. STORIES. EVER. List, without question. I could even picture the actual sniff.

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