Meeting Goodman, Tyson

I’m writing to you on June 24, which happens to be my mom’s 88th birthday, and I just called her to wish her a happy birthday.

Thinking about June birthdays, I’ve had conversations with two very different celebrities who both have June birthdays: John Goodman and Mike Tyson.

I met Mike in New York City when I was working at Columbus Restaurant and Bar. By the way, Mike’s birthday is June 30.

I was waiting on Mike, who had ordered a bottle of Cristal champagne, which back then went for $100 a bottle. After taking his time drinking the champagne, and thus taking up one of my tables for a good portion of the evening, he left me a $2 tip.

I’m like, “Mike, this is so not OK for a tip. I could have turned this table at least two times in the time you’ve been here with decent tips. And you didn’t even order food. Instead, you leave a lousy $2.”

To be fair, Mike apologized immediately, saying he was never raised with money or proper etiquette, so what would the proper tip be?

I replied $20 would be decent, especially considering how long he’d been at the table. He again apologized, put $20 in my hand and said he’d know better in the future.

I know Mike has had his ups and downs, but my encounter with him was basically a good one.

I met John Goodman, whose birthday is June 20, when I was working in Los Angeles at A Votre Sante, roughly translated from the French as, “To your life.” I was still in denial about my MS at the time, and was having difficulty stocking the bar for the wrap party of “The Flintstones” movie, in which he starred along with Rosie O’Donnell.

Goodman saw I was having difficulties and asked what the matter was. I came up with some lame excuse (pun intended), like I had a back problem.

He answered, “I don’t know what you’ve got, but I think it’s more than just a back problem. But, whatever.”

Then he pitched in and carried the cases of beer upstairs to the bar for me and helped me stock the bar.

Afterward, he said, “I assume you’re an aspiring actress?” When I replied yes to that, he said, “People will eat you alive out here if they see any weakness. This town’s full of sharks. I suggest you skip this business and go where you’re most happy.”

I’m glad to say I took his advice and got out of Dodge, as it were. Things are much more peaceful here at the beach on a lake in the Adirondacks, where I’m most happy.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,