1. Distinctive voice
2. National Review
Ramesh Ponnuru. At a French restaurant in Manhattan. (Ha).
I was eating with my friend Charlie, at a very small (and very good) French bistro on Park Avenue, when I hear a very distinctive voice coming from the table across the room. I think to myself, “Man, that guy sounds just like Ramesh Ponnuru did when he was on The Daily Show.” I turn and look. Indeed, it appears to be Ramesh Ponnuru.
I turn to Charlie. “Is that Ramesh Ponnuru?”
“Ramesh Ponnuru. He writes for the National Review and wrote that book about The Culture of Death.”
“Culture of Death?”
“How liberals are killing America through abortion and right-to-die advocacy.”
[Laughs] “As opposed to through the death penalty and war?”
“Should I talk to him?”
“Sure, if you want.”
“What’s his name?”
“I’ll go ask him if it’s him. I’ll be like, ‘Hey, is it really you?!’ and see if he says yes.”
At this point we look over and realize that Ramesh and his female companion (who appears to be just a friend) have both disappeared from the table. Moment of panic. Charlie gets up and runs outside to see if they’re there. They aren’t. “They must be in the bathroom!” he announces, and walks to the back of the restaurant — where he promptly walks in on Ramesh Ponnuru peeing. Whoops.
While he’s gone, I talk to the waiters to see if it really is Ramesh. They don’t know who he is, but they do know the woman he’s with — and she is apparently close friends with John O’Sullivan, editor of the National Review. I decide it must be Ramesh if he’s hanging out with the National Review crowd.
In the meantime, Charlie and Ramesh are having a little chat. Charlie, keep in mind, does not read the National Review and, beyond William F. Buckley, has no idea about who writes for it, and certainly doesn’t know who Ramesh Ponnuru is. The converation goes something like this:
Charlie: Hey, are you Ramesssh Amanaa… (trails off since he obviously has no idea how to pronounce this man’s name)
Ramesh: Yeah, Ramesh Ponnuru. And you are?
Charlie: …Charlie Smith. [Awkward pause, because Charlie is perpetually convinced that no one will actually believe that his real name is Charlie Smith].
Both laugh uncomfortably.
Charlie: Well, uh, I’m a big fan! Nice to meet you.
Ramesh turns away, and walks past my table, at which point I introduce myself. I tell him that I read his writing on the National Review, and that I write for a feminist blog that occassionally reviews his work. He asks which one, I say Feministe. “That’s a group blog, right?” he says. Surprised, I say yes. “I’ve read it a few times, I think,” he says.
Woah! (Joey from Blossom voice)
And that, my friends, was my brush with fame.
(for the record, he was really nice).