Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Mystery Of The Rich And Famous

The other day, my mother calls me up with one of her typical "work" stories.

She begins: "So I'm in the store, and in walks this tall, very handsome black man. He's very well dressed, gorgeous, you can see he works out... not too bulky, but nicely toned --"

"Get on with it!" I beg.

"OK, sorry. So in he walks, and I can't take my eyes off him. So he shops around a little bit, picks something out, and I go ring him up. He bought one of our argyle sweaters, in navy -- the only color we have left! -- and no wonder, it's only $68, but for such a nice fabric, it's really not a bad price and happens to fit beautifully --"

"Mom! I swear to God, PLEASE just TELL me the story!" I get a fabric breakdown about 3 times a day from this woman.

"Haha, ok. So you know those watches I buy at the flea market, the "Locman" copies? I have one in every color, so today I was wearing my turquoise one to match my turquoise Ellen Tracy jacket, and I had on black Dana Buchman slacks that I got at Loehmann's, originally $250, I paid $70..."


"So he comes up to the register, so handsome! And Michelle, he has on a real Locman watch!"

"Get out!" I feign.

"I swear! So he looks over at mine and says 'I like your watch', and I go 'Well, I like yours, dahling!', and we laugh, and I tell him his total. So, he opens his wallet... and out comes his black American Express card!"


"You know, they don't give that to just anybody! It's way more exclusive than the Platinum Card... the Gold Card is shit compared to it!" (She then mentions something about being "turned on" by the whole exchange, but as I found it embarassing, I'll spare you.) "I couldn't believe he had the black card!"

The Centurion Card, center, flanked by its publicists.

Curious, I wanted to learn more about the Black Amex, aka the Centurion card. And she was right: you must be "invited" into this exclusive club, however once there, you can charge just about anything you want. I read one insane request out loud to my mother over the phone, found on the ever-reliable Snopes.com: "One cardholder wanted to locate and purchase the horse ridden by Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves. The horse was located in a stud ranch in Mexico, purchased and delivered to Europe."

"What! (laughing) Mendy!" she called out for my Dad, likely eating cold-cuts in the kitchen alone, and possibly, in the dark. "Mendy! Someone used the black American Express to buy the horse that Kevin Pollock rode in Waterworld!"

Me: (chagrinned)

She continues.

"Anyway, so I wrap up his shirt, and he gives me his card, and I look at the name... and Michelle, you'll never believe who it was!"

"Um.... Was it Kanye West!?" He may not be tall, but he was certainly well-dressed and handsome.

"Nuch, no... give up?"

Sigh. "Yes."

"A. Reynolds."

(Incredulous) "Who?"

"A. Reynolds!"

"Ma, who is that!?"

"You know, A. Reynolds! Isn't he some big-time hip-hop mogul??"

"No! No, he isn't! Do you mean Al? Al Reynolds? The gay man who's married to Star Jones?"

She gets angry. "No! I know who Al Reynolds is! This was A. Reynolds. The hip-hop mogul!"

NOT the A. Reynolds my mother met.

"Mom, I swear to God, I've never heard of him."

"I have! I read his name in the gossip columns sometimes."

"Mom. All I do. All day at work. Is read gossip columns. And never, EVER, have I heard of A.-Fucking-Reynolds."

"Well my co-workers told me that there's some kind of conference going on down here (here being Miami, natch) this weekend, so I'm sure he was with them."

I didn't even want her to begin to elaborate on what kind of "conference" she was referring to. I figured I'd make this easy, and call up a friend of mine in the hip-hop record biz (not Jay-Z, my other friend) for information and moral support. Sure enough, A. Reynolds didn't ring a bell.

I began fantasizing about this mystery man. Riding bareback through Saks Fifth Avenue, sporting a close-fitting argyle and flashy watch, ladening compliments on the amazed waitstaff. "(clip-clop, clip-clop) Love those heels, honey! (Loud whinnying, tail snap) Looking good, Gina!"

Could this be my mystery man? (ps Good to see Will Ferrell’s modeling career is back on track.)

This morning, at work, I couldn't leave well enough alone. Being the rabid celebrity whore that I am, I made it my MISSION to discovery the true identity of "A. Reynolds" and his black magic Am Ex card. So, I logged into a celebrity photo service I subscribe to and searched for all "Reynolds'", figuring perhaps here is where I would be schooled in the world of hip-hop by my fifty-humina-humina year old Jewish mother.

If only I knew it would be this easy.

There. The first result. A photograph taken of an "A. Reynolds" in Miami, on October 8, 2005, a day before the sweater incident occurred. And what can I say other than...


More proof? Gladly.

(cut to me in bra and undies, hair a-mess, smoking a cigarette, loudly exhaling) GOD, it feels good to be right.

It all makes sense: These days, Al has been looking very good! The man absolutely loves accessories. And of course he adored my mother -- she's a born beard!

My Mother's Senior Portrait, Class of 19-humina-humina.

(Oh God, what have I done? Insulted a man with the BLACK AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD! Gah! Al -- (laughing) -- I was kidding! Love your... work...? OMG, I don't even know what you do for a living! Call me, let's discuss.) But seriously, why did he marry Star Jones again? She's supposed to be an absolute nightmare in person, and from everything I'm seeing/reading, he seems absolutely lovely! Genuinely speaking! And these days, Star is looking less and less like a bloated peanut M&M and more and more like those little jelly dolls we had as kids, where you squeeze the belly and the eyes pop out.

Star Jones looking svelte at this year's Emmy Awards.

I should really watch what I say. God forbid Star refuses to give me a red carpet interview -- I could be ruined. RUINED. I gotta go UPS a home-made card and a Whitman's Sampler stat. Wish me luck.

And a final congrats to Dear Mu-mah -- after a little over a year, she's officially sold $500,000 worth of clothing! Another half-million and she earns an exclusive trip aboard the J. Crew Corporate Jet! Sadly, the jet only flies between Nantucket and East Hampton, but we'll figure something out.

Even teen heartthrob Cliff Richard sends his best!

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