The Time I Thought I Could Be Danny Ocean And Then Realized That I Suck At Being A Con Man
I love a good caper flick. Ocean’s Eleven and their subsequent follow ups are, in my opinion, three of the greatest heist films ever made. I stan Steven Soderbergh as hard as any director out there (highly suggest seeing his latest Logan Lucky if you haven’t already) and George Clooney as Danny Ocean, coupled with Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan is a moviegoers dream duo. Those two play off of each other excellently, and their cavalier attitude throughout the trilogy has always been something that I try to mimic in everyday life.
If there’s one thing I took away from the Ocean’s movies it’s this - act like you belong there and no one is going to say a fucking word to you. It was this sort of attitude that had me convinced I could pull off a caper of my own last week; sneaking into a Killers show free of charge over on the south side of Chicago.
The setup was in hindsight, too good to be true. One of my roommates works for a large corporation and they had hired The Killers to play on the last night that they were holding a conference. All you needed to get into the show was a valid corporate ID card, and my roommate had gotten a hold of one for me at the last minute.
I am a huge fan of The Killers, a band that was a very big part of my formative years when I all I was trying to do (unsuccessfully, of course) was makeout with chicks at high school dances. As a white dude in his twenties, I still blast “Mr. Brightside” whenever I have more than four beers in one sitting, so this was a golden opportunity for me. I had the ID as we hopped out of our Uber and started walking towards the area where you must present said ID to get a wristband inside. The woman giving out wristbands took one look at my ID and laughed in my face.
“This isn’t you. I mean if your hair was longer and you didn’t have that stubble on your face you might be able to pass for a woman but I’m sorry. I can’t let you in.”
“But...please?” I said in the nicest way possible.
“Sorry, man. Can’t do it.”
I walked away expecting this to happen. My roommate had gotten his wristband no problem, and several screenings of the Ocean’s movies had told me that all I needed to do when we got to the checkpoint where they look at the wristbands was to pretend like this was all some huge misunderstanding.
All that separated me from the The Killers were some college kids checking wristbands and a metal detector. I walked up to a kid checking wrists and showed him the corporate ID badge in my hand.
“You got a wristband?” the guy said without even looking at the ID which was clearly not me.
“No, I wasn’t aware we needed one. But I’ve got my ID badge right here so I’ll just go ahead through.”
I placed my wallet, keys and phone in one of those little bowls that they have for when you walk through a metal detector and tried to walk through. The guy (who all of sudden started taking his job way too seriously) grabbed me by the back of the shirt and told me I had to leave. So left I did. But I wasn’t done.
I made my way to the back of the building. If I could just find a catering van or something and pretend to be a person bringing in food I knew I’d be able to sneak in the back way. Jazzy soul music played in my head as I staked the area out. This was peak Ocean’s 11 shit right here. But I couldn’t find anyone bringing stuff in- just more college kids laughing at me for not having a wristband.
I made my way over to a designated smoking area on the side of the building, near the office where people were picking up wristbands. After bumming a cig from a friendly guy with a VIP lanyard around his neck, I asked him if I could get his wristband just for a few seconds so I could gain entry into the building. He looked at me aghast. He had just given me a free cigarette and now I wanted his wristband?
“Honestly I admire you asking me that. I just don’t want to get kicked out man. Sorry I can’t do it.”
I finished my cigarette and looked around. I went back into the metal detector area, this time choosing a different line than the one I had tried the first time. A portly gentleman asked where my wristband was, and again I acted surpised.
“Wristband? Ohhhh right, my friend has mine he’s just over there.” I pointed at a person I didn’t know.
“Come on man I can’t let you in.”
I walked outside again with my tail between my legs. I watched as enthusiastic employees of this large company walked into the building adorned with wristbands, not a care in the world. I took my phone out of my pocket, ordered up an Uber, and walked away dejectedly. I now had eyes on me and I could sense that I had overstayed my welcome.
I thought about bumrushing the entrance but decided I’d rather sleep in my bed than a jail cell. I am not Danny Ocean, and my fantasy about being one of those guys who can gain entry to any place in the world is now just that - a fantasy. I know lots of people with the personality necessary to pull off a stunt like this. I have friends who have snuck into Grateful Dead shows, premier art gallery showings, and big time sporting events.
Every year I see randoms on Twitter live tweeting themselves at the Super Bowl after gaining entry through a side door or something. I really thought I had it in me to be one of these people. A smooth operator that risks it all and comes out on top.
It turns I’m more like Linus, the character played by Matt Damon in Ocean’s that wants so badly to be apart of the crew but can’t find his footing. Tough break for your boy. I heard the show was awesome and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of my buddy who got to see them. I don’t blame The Killers, I blame extra tight security, terrorism, and a company who had way too many requirements for entry. Fuck you, Salesforce. I didn’t want to see one of my favorite bands play live anyways.