This month’s Hollywood story is one of my bigger, more dramatic ones. I don’t have that many stories that really spark anger from people, but this is usually one of them. In general, people don’t believe what I went through, but I was young and – yes, stupid – so I remember it differently than it comes off.
As is the case when I’m telling a less than positive story, I’ll refrain from using the actors real names. Some of you may guess and that’s fine, but I’m not comfortable – yet – spilling it here. Maybe I’ll save it for a non-fiction bio. LOL.
Okay, enough of the build-up.
Early in my career working as a stand-in on a big show, I was rehearsing a scene with the main cast. I was seated next to the co-star of the show (let’s call him Patrick) on the sofa in the living room set, while the star of the show (let’s call her SpongeBob) paced behind us. In the scene, SpongBob’s supposed to be upset at her daughter. (In case you haven’t figured it out, I was playing the daughter for this rehearsal.)
SpongeBob is supposed to smack her daughter across the top of her head. Nothing hard or painful. Just what I refer to as a schkaba. It’s not supposed to hurt, it’s just a wake up call that you did something dumb. Well, I don’t know what SpongeBob was thinking, but apparently she thought it would be funny to haul off and flat hand the side of my head. I don’t know if she was aiming for anything in particular, but her aim was precisely over my ear and her hand was cupped in just the perfect way that when she hit me, I heard this big popping sound in my head followed by a ringing. Naturally, she laughed because she got a kick out of herself. I’m sitting there with my mouth open wide and my head ringing, thinking, What the hell was that? But the scene continued. Patrick starts saying his lines and it dawned on me that I couldn’t hear him from my right ear. The ear nearest him that was just smacked.
My inner dialogue went something like this: “Oh shit! I can’t hear anything out of my right ear! But I can’t stop because the show must go on. I have to keep rehearsing. What if I get in trouble for stopping? What if I get fired from this great job?” As all that is running through my head, I’m barely paying attention to the scene. It comes time for me to say my character’s lines and I start to speak, but the words come out low and odd because I can’t hear them! Have you ever tried to talk when you can’t hear? Let me tell you… freaked me out. At that point, I was so mad, I threw caution to the wind.
“Oh my God! I can’t hear. I can’t believe you?” I yelled to SpongeBob. “You effing popped my ear drum! I can’t hear anything!” (Yes, I let fly an F-bomb.)
Her response was to laugh some more.
I was not amused. Then I took it a step farther and said, “I’m going to sue your ass!”
Her reply: “Get in line.”
Well, that pretty much doused my hopes for a settlement. Everyone laughed off my ringing ear and we went back to work. I never did sue her and after a few weeks my ear healed and I could hear again. It was not the only time SpongeBob physically abused me, but I’m saving the other story for a different time. And let me tell you… it’s a doozie.
So that’s this month’s Hollywood story. And not, it’s not an April Fools’ joke. It really did happen.
Did anyone ever hit you so hard, you heard bells ring? Let me know!