Unfortunately, my gift wasn’t always as dead on as it is now.
When I was a toddler whose primary public transportation was a stroller, I went to the mall with my mother.
She took me into a store to look at either spandex or dresses with large shoulder pads, no doubt, and a black child who was 6 or 7 years old came over and began to play with me. I giggled and responded as any 3 year old would.
Then I did something that embarasses my mother to this day.
As the kid continued to play with me, I turned to my mother, as excited as she’d ever seen me.
“Mommy, look! Webster! Webster!”
I had confused the random black child with 1980s television icon Emmanuel Lewis, the star of “Webster.” Worse off, I did it within earshot of the boy’s mother.
Mom’s face turned red and she apologized profusely. The mother, nor the child took offense. All the while 3-year-old Ryan Patrick had never been more excited.
Soon after, my mom put me on a leash during shopping trips. Whether or not it was related to my faux Webster sighting is a family secret that will never see the light of day.
The worst of it all is that 20 years later, I still regret not getting an autograph.
Edit: After reading this, my mother released the following statement:
“I put you on a leash because you used to hide under clothes racks and i couldn’t find you.”