Every once in a while you see somebody who's changed the world. And every so often, his bodyguards think you're a terrorist. Let me explain…

My last week or so of undergrad at NYU I scarfed a dining hall meal and hit the library to work on a few papers. Seriously, I studied and wrote a lot.

To broaden the student population's horizons, NYU would find speakers from around the globe, and in this instance they asked Nelson Mandela: the former apartheid activist and president from South Africa—portrayed in the new Hollywood movie Invictus by my father Morgan Freeman.

Nelson Mandela and Morgan Freeman

(See the resemblance to me?)

Morgan Freeman is my dad, can't your tell?

This instance occurred about six months after the 9/11 attacks. If you remember, people will ultra-paranoid—and Mandela's team even moreso. His security scoped the library, then another team double-checked the place.

It was finals time, and my head wasn't really in the game. Despite a stomach ache, I put in a few hours at the book place. From one of the windows, I saw limo after limo pull up. Then a few more stretch limos. A bunch of giant African dudes came out of the car. For a second, I thought somebody was staging a recreation of a scene from Eddie Murphy's brilliant Coming to America. Nope, Mandela was in the house.

I thought, "When will I ever get the chance to see somebody like this again?" I mean, living in Manhattan, I bumped into a few celebrities. But this guy wasn't some cut-rate stand-up comedian, he helped break the chains holding down of half of a nation. Inspired the world. Won the Nobel Prize (back when you actually had to accomplish something to win it). So I tossed all of my books, random notes and a water bottle into my giant backpack.

How wonderful to see such a man! My entire body felt excited. Especially my stomach. Some people sweat when they're nervous. Not me. But today, for some reason my entire body just oozed slimy sweat. Especially my mouth. I felt like I was about to barf and I'd puked hundreds of times from drinking, but I hadn't thrown up sober in maybe ten years or so.

Instead of thinking, "You should be inspired by this man's bravery and greatness," I thought, "You ate the fish at the dining hall. You ate the fish at the dining hall!"

I started looking around. Pins and needles shot in and out of me. I wondered how many other people ate the fish at the dining hall. I tried looking into their eyes. By now my face was dripping. My heavy backpack drove my spine crazy so I swayed back and forth. My feet hurt so I stood up and down on my tippy toes.

My farts smelled like a homeless guy on the subway, but I couldn't hold them in any longer. I was sure everybody at the library could hear my stomach bubbling. I could tell they were moving away from me, possibly because my sweat started smelling toxic. I still fidgeted around waiting for President Mandela to make a speech.

There are lots of scary black dudes in the world. But none as scary as Nelson Mandela's bodyguards. They wear amazingly beautiful tailored suits. Their shoulders are so big they walk through doors sideways. They wear black sunglasses inside. And this one, was walking towards me.

"You ate the fish at the dining hall! You ate the fish at the dining hall!" still bounced around in my mind. The bodyguard stomped closer to me from across the library floor. I looked around. There was nobody around me.

Then I realized what he saw: the whitest of white kids squirreling around with a giant, liquid-stained backpack. I poured sweat and stank. So much drool formed in my mouth I openly spat on the library floor. I smelled of some unidentified smelly stuff.

But the giant African guy, who looked like he could strangle elephants barehanded, didn't scare me. The fish mantra repeating in my head stopped for a moment and I heard my heart beating and felt my stomach bumble, rumble and tumble. I had about five minutes before I'd crap my pants. I lived ten minutes away from the library.

I stumbled to the front door. Over the cheers for the South African president, I heard the bodyguard's boots pound the marble floor. But soon I would be free. I needed the fresh air. That would clear my head and make me feel better. Alas, this was NYC. The pollutants tore my poor lungs to shreds.

I waddled home leaving the bodyguard in dust and fart molecules. I stopped only to dry heave in the gutter every so often. This is such a common thing in the Big Apple (outside of anywhere Nelson Mandela is of course) people just glared at me and walked away.

I made it home. I puked, shat and convulsed for about twenty hours. I'd never hear a word the South African leader said. And I never ate at the dining hall again.

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