Chris Rose of Louisiana's The Times-Picayune writes in the following in this weekend's installment of "Living News":
"I've always looked at [exercise guru Richard] Simmons as a healer. My first encounter with him came at a big celebrity confab in New Orleans a few years ago when I saw him standing in the general vicinity of the rock band KISS and I was struck by what I considered the most inspired story idea I'd ever had.
"So I went up to Gene Simmons, the extremely not good-looking and generally haggard bass player of said rock band, and told him the premise for my story: That Gene Simmons and Richard Simmons were natural twins separated at birth and raised by different mothers.
"That's brilliant, right? On any objective level, this is comedy, pure and simple.
"But Gene Simmons, perhaps tapping into a homophobic arc in his linear thinking pattern, did not think I was as clever as I did and he regarded Richard Simmons somewhat distastefully and then looked at me and called me an 'a -- hole.'
"At least he didn't slap me. But he did look so angry I thought he was going to poke me in the eye with that prodigious tongue of his. All the while I'm thinking: Gene, you wear Spandex pants and platform shoes that make Elton John's Pinball Wizard phase look demure and you're telling me you DON'T have a sense of humor about yourself?
"Anyway, I was rather shaken by this sudden turn of mood in what was an otherwise festive occasion. And when Richard Simmons asked me what was wrong, I told him the story idea and he said it was brilliant and when I told him what Gene Simmons had said . . . he hugged me.
"In public. And I was OK with that. In fact, I felt better." [Read more]