This is my entry for Week Four of The Real LJ Idol competition, where the topic is "I Think I Thought You Were Someone Else" (Mistaken Identity)." I'll post an update about voting later in the week. If you haven't already, you might want to join therealljidol community, since some voting will be restricted to community members.
ETA: My brother told me more details, which I've incorporated.
Will the real Bono please stand up?
One of my brother's favorite hangouts at Penn State was a bar called Zeno's, which offered beers from around the world. Zeno's was in the basement of one of the oldest restaurants in town, The Corner Room. The bar was usually packed with college students, and in those days, smoky and loud. After he graduated, while he still lived in the area, Zeno's remained my brother's favorite bar.
One night, my brother was sampling one of the import beers when a young guy approached him and said, "Hey, I know who you are!"
My brother took a glance at the young guy, who looked like a typical Penn State student, in jeans, a T-shirt and a baseball cap. The young guy had clearly been drinking and was a little wobbly. My brother didn't recognize him, so he just shrugged and said, "Sorry."
The young guy leaned in, conspiratorially, and said, "You're Bono, right?" Now, my brother does take after the Scotch-Irish side of our family, but being compared to the most famous Irish rock star in the world, that was new.
"No," my brother chuckled. "I'm not Bono."
The young guy looked momentarily perplexed, and then whipping his eyes to the left and the right, a realization seemed to slowly dawn on him. He pointed to the leather, flat-brimmed hat my brother was wearing and said, "You're incognito, right?"
My brother shook his head. "No, really. Look, I don't even have an Irish accent."
The young guy nodded. "You're faking an American accent so you can keep under the radar." He tapped a drunken finger to his head, proud of his reasoning.
Seeing it was a lost cause, my brother butchered an Irish accent and said, "You have me, but do me a favor and keep it low key."
The young guy immediately jumped up and shouted to the bar at the top of his lungs, "Bono is here!" Most of the bargoers laughed, but a small group clustered around my brother. "Let me buy you a beer. Guinness, right?" the young guy offered.
In that moment, my brother made a split-second decision. He became Bono. After all, free Guinness was involved. As the evening continued, other expensive and potent mixed drinks and shots were pushed to him by others. As my brother tells it, "I could not refuse their gifts; that would be an insult."
A camera was produced, and he posed with his arms around the total strangers who had gotten him smashed. "They were adoring fans, men and women," my brother tells me. He says he found a brief break in the offered beverages and quickly escaped while he could still walk.
As he pushed for the doors, his fans were shouting, "You rock!' He could still hear the cheers even outside on the street. That night my brother got a taste of what it must be like to be one of the world's greatest rock stars (a story, by the way, he tells much better than I do).
And somewhere out there, some men and women in their late 20s or early 30s now tell anyone who will listen about how they once spied Bono, hanging out in Zeno's without his entourage, and had drinks with him.
My brother and Bono today
It's easier to become a rock star than you might think.