My Luke Wilson Story
Eight years ago, I was at a birthday party with a girl I had a crush on, when I got a text from a friend that said, "Luke Wilson is eating dinner across from me right now!"
This was in Lincoln, Nebraska.
I didn't believe it, but Luke Wilson was in three of my favorite movies at the time (Wes Anderson ones... not Legally Blonde), and I wasn't going to miss out if she was right.
So I walked out of the party without saying a word.
I got to the restaurant, joined my friends, and ordered a beer. Luke and his brother Andrew were just getting ready to leave.
When our waitress came back over, I asked if she knew where they were headed. She said they asked for bar recommendations and she told them to head downtown -- where there were plenty of options.
I paid for my beer without ever taking a drink and headed there as well.
For some reason, I needed to find him. To say hello. To introduce myself. To shake his hand. Whatever. My naive, glass-overflowing-with-fullness mind believed that there was a reason for this, and that if I didn't do it, I would always wonder.
So I wandered in and out of bars downtown... searching... hoping.
Thirty minutes later, I came into a bar and found Luke and his brother Andrew seated at the counter.
Holy shit. This was it.
I played it cool. I ordered a beer and took a seat at a table across the room. It was a weeknight. Not too busy. I had time.
What I really needed was a reason to walk over there without looking like a crazy person.
I filled a basket of popcorn, casually approached the counter and said, "Hey, I don't want to make a big scene here, but I did want to say hello. Popcorn?"
But it was fine. Luke declined the popcorn (having just ate... what was I thinking?!), but was incredibly pleasant. We chatted for a bit. He shook my hand.
I walked away feeling incredible. I had just met one of my favorite celebrities... without coming off like a total weirdo. It could not have gone much better.
I finished my beer, waved goodbye and walked back over to the party. No problem.
But there was a problem. People had noticed my disappearance. My date, Angie, in particular. And they had questions.
So I explained what had happened.
Angie was excited. She wanted to go meet him too. But this put me in a predicament. I couldn't go back over there and risk exposing my stalker side, so I offered to wait, and she took a friend instead.
Well five minutes turned into ten... which turned into thirty. Eventually, I had no choice. So I walked back over to the bar to see what was going on.
The four of them were exiting just as I reached the door. Angie said, "Tyler! We're going to another bar! You should come with us!" And Luke said, "Tyler! I met you earlier! You should come with us!"
Get out of town and take a bus, you say? I know.
We walked five blocks to another bar, mostly making jokes about sorority girls. It was awesome. And now, once again, I felt like my night could not get better.
As we reached the other bar, rumor had begun to spread. People were calling their friends and shouting "hey, Baumer!" on the street.
The place filled up instantly. And suddenly, I was kind of on the outside again. But it didn't matter. I felt content. Eventually I went up, shook hands again, said my goodbyes and left.
Really. Felt like the best night ever.
I got home and I couldn't sleep. I was giddy. And as I lay there, I had a thought.
Luke Wilson plays golf. I play golf.
Quickly, I called my friend Angie.
"Hey! Are you still with Luke Wilson?!"
"Yes! We're going to give him a ride back to his hotel!"
"Awesome. Will you tell him that I'd be happy to take them golfing tomorrow if they want."
"Sure! I'll let them know."
End of conversation.
Now, it was late. It was loud. People had been drinking. My expectations weren't high.
But my phone rang immediately. It was Angie.
"Oh my God! He said they'd love to go golfing! Can you pick them up at their hotel at 9?"
That was that. And I promptly went back to not being able to sleep.
Early the next morning, I called the my uncle (the Executive Director of the Nebraska Golf Association... huge bonus) for help. He worked a little magic, and suddenly I had two sets of rental clubs and a tee-time at one of Lincoln's best private courses.
I posted a quick message on our work intranet, "Hey, might not be in today. I'm golfing with Luke Wilson. NBD. Call if you need me." and headed to the hotel.
I was early, so I waited. It was 8:50. It was 9:05. It was 9:15. Dammit, I thought. They probably didn't even remember.
I didn't know what to do. But I figured I had nothing to lose, so I approached the front desk. Would you ring Luke Wilson's room and tell him that Tyler is here.
She dialed the number, delivered the message and put down the phone. "He said to say sorry... and that they're on their way down."
Pee in my pants. I couldn't believe this was happening.
They came downstairs, I escorted them to my rust-ridden Honda Accord and away we went.
I won't bore you with the details of the golf. But I will mention a few things:
1. I crushed my drive off the first tee. This was a high pressure situation and a lot of people might have snap hooked one into the trees, but no... I handled it like a champion. Sweet relief.
2. Luke recognized my sand wedge as a Hubert Green , and I've proudly referred to it as such ever since.
3. Just to give you an idea of how genuine these guys were... Andrew once hit into the group in front of us and felt so badly about it that he rode up and apologized.
4. I still owe one of them $1 from a terrible shot that I had on a Par 3.
Anyway, it was an amazing day. We finished 18 holes and made our way back up to the clubhouse for lunch where we sat, ate and laughed some more.
We decided another 18 holes were in order but only played 9 before opting for afternoon beers instead. Paradise.
By the time I dropped them off at their hotel, we were like old pals -- cracking inside jokes from earlier. It was surreal. And just strangely comfortable. I felt like it was the first day of school and I had met two kids that I knew I was going to be friends with for the rest of my life.
We hung out again that night. At a bar. And then with a few other people back at their hotel room. Around two or three in the morning, I said my final goodbye.
Both Luke and Andrew were extremely grateful for the golf and hospitality-- and insisted that I come play with them at Bel-Air Country Club next time I find myself in LA. Luke gave me his phone number.
And that's kind of where the story ends.
I called his number (a voice mailbox) and left a message a few weeks later -- with some bunk story about a "work trip" that was going to bring me to LA.
Several months went by, and then one day I missed a call from an unknown number. I checked the message and it was Luke Wilson saying, here's a better number to reach me. Let me know when you'll be in town.
Whaaaat. I know.
I called him back immediately. He answered.
We shot the breeze for a bit. He was working on a movie, but we discussed some possible dates -- and decided that I would get back to him in a day or so with what worked.
Just planning a trip to LA to golf with my buddy Luke Wilson. Not freaking out or anything.
But then the worst thing in the world happened...
The very next day, Paris Hilton's phone was hacked into. And every phone number she had was listed on the Internet. Including Luke Wilson's.
His number changed. A little while later, my number changed. And time went by. Eventually I just accepted that as the sad, but very poetic ending to the story.
So that's where it stands. I've since changed my mind... I don't believe that's the end of the story, but we'll see what happens.
I'm working on my golf game just in case.