Daily Archives: May 7, 2012

An accidental dinner with a movie star’s parents. Colleges screwing over students over loans. And a crazy-scary bus accident turns out OK.

Despite having lived in New York City for the past nine months, I haven’t had too many encounters with celebrities.
It’s sort of a myth about NYC that you bump into famous people, or at least see them across the street, all the time.
But last Thursday night I had a sort-of celebrity encounter. I was at a charity foundation dinner with my girlfriend and her parents, seated at one of those long  tables with about 15 other people. I only knew a few people at our table, so when this guy seated next to me started talking to me, I responded politely because that’s what I do. I’ll talk to anyone, about anything. How I’m made.

Anyway, we talk for a little while, about the quality of the dinner, the evening’s entertainment (a bunch of comedians were hired to make us laugh, and most were really good), that kind of thing.

I say hi to his wife seated across from him, and somewhere around dessert I finally introduce myself.
He turns to me and says “I’m Gary Tomei, nice to meet you.”
Turns out I was breaking bed with the parents of an Oscar winner. Marisa Tomei’s mom and dad couldn’t have been nicer; turns out Patricia Tomei was a schoolteacher for 30 years in the NYC schools, while Gary is a trial lawyer. Patricia has a laugh that could’ve been heard in New Jersey, while Gary kept asking me questions about the charity we were there for. (it was for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, a great cause).

I wanted, really badly, to tell them how much I love “My Cousin Vinny,” and how great Marisa was in “Untamed Heart,” and “The Wrestler ,” and ask them if they’ve ever held her Academy Award … but I figured everyone tells them that.

So we just kept chatting and I didn’t really bring Marisa up.
But it was very cool to know that her humility and kindness comes from her parents.

**This is one of the craziest, and scariest accidents you’ll see. At a rally at the University of Texas, Austin, a student starts to run across the street. A city bus runs a red light and, well, fast forward to the :28 mark and you’ll see what happens. Amazingly, the guy wasn’t seriously injured…

**Finally, a story that will hopefully make you mad. College and universities have started refusing to send students’ transcripts to potential employers, because the former students are behind in making their loan re-payments.

So let me make sure I have this straight: Students can’t pay their loans back. They’re trying to get jobs that will help them pay the loans. But schools are sabotaging those efforts by refusing to send transcripts, thereby making it less likely the students can pay the schools back.

The even MORE ridiculous part? The schools aren’t even the lending agents here.
So, so ridiculous.