The man sat at the bar under a cloud of tight curly hair. It was as if the hair thunderhead had sprung a storm and the downpour produced a guy with bad pickup lines. Beside him sat a pretty woman. She wasn't drinking for fun. Her order--shots and beer--had purpose. The drunker she got, the more she wanted to run naked in the hair storm.
I'll be honest, Joe Reitman's hair has always freaked me out.
Reitman looked like was wearing make-up. He threw out some line like, "If I order you one drink, I get to talk to you for ten minutes. If I order you four drinks I get you for an hour and half. If I order you more, I get you all night."
That's not a direct quote. It wasn't recorded for posterity, because the next thing anyone knew Reitman's pants were around his ankles and he was humping the girl known as Gayle in the parking lot. His bad pick-up line wasn't as bad as it seemed. He probably didn't notice the girl was about to cry. But, be honest. If somebody was pumping on you and letting that hair bounce all around your head and shoulders, you'd probably cry, too.
When I saw it happen, I turned to my wife.
"I think that's Annie Duke's boyfriend!" I said.
My wife snored.
I guess I don't keep up with pop culture well enough to know the occupations of pro players' bed buddies. That is, I didn't know Reitman was an actor.
What I'd just seen was one of his breakout performances, this time as "Bar Customer" in the 2005/2006 Showtime series "Sleeper Cell." You might also have seen him in such roles as "Hippie boy," "Radio Station Manager" and "Regulator 2."
I don't say any of the above to poke fun at Reitman. He has been married to and presumably slept with Shannon Elizabeth. Just because he played "Freshman" on 90210 doesn't mean he isn't 100 times cooler than I am.
I only bring it up because I'd honestly forgotten Reitman's name. I'd seen him around Vegas and always with Duke. As I struggled in vain to remember the guy's real name, I wondered how Reitman would feel about me Googling him as "Annie Duke's boyfriend."
I had to know, though. I've recently been watching the new-to-me "Sleeper Cell" on DirecTv's 101 network. In this episode, the boozy bitch was about to turn on her boyfriend. That Retiman's "Bar Customer" sealed the deal was almost poetic. That is, he put his career on hold to make sure we would have Shannon Elizabeth as a star. He deserved a little somethin' somethin' for his time.
In fact, he also got Duke in the settlement and that should've been enough. I've heard no rumor of their break-up, so presumably they are happy. I think we all wish them the best.
I'm simply happy I now have Reitman's name locked permanently in my memory. Never again will I think of him as Shannon's ex or Annie's boyfriend. Now, he will be Joe. Or Joseph. Or Mr. Reitman. Or, after the 2009 release of "Radio Free Albemuth," as "Prisoner #1."