Background item #1 – Sears (formerly Sears & Roebuck) is a chain of retail stores which anchor various wings of malls nationwide.
Background item #2 – Greenspoint Mall is a mall in Houston, Texas located in the general vicinity of Interstate 45 and Beltway 8. The area has significantly declined in the last 20 years, and as a result, the mall has been referred to as “Gunspoint Mall”. A shooting which took place there last year made national news.
Background item #3 – In a venn diagram where background items 1 and 2 intersect, you will find three years of my late teens / early twenties occupied by me working there. In the first year I worked there, I sold paint and hardware. A few years later, while working in electronics, I engineered an “Employee of the month” award by having a friend call in with glowing remarks about yours truly.
Background item #4 – Pictures or it didn’t happen.
Now that we’ve gotten the background information out and in the open, let’s put it all behind us in order to get to the topic de jour.
In the hot, unbearable summer of 1988, while working at a Sears in north Houston, I sold hardware to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. I don’t remember all of the items I sold him, but I’m pretty sure a left handed hammer and about two feet of fallopian tubing were on the ticket.
Obviously, you’re wondering how I new it was Billy Gibbons.
First of all, he had the signature long-ass beard. It was tucked into his t-shirt in the middle of July. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re crazy enough to a) grow a beard that long in Houston in the summer, and b) tuck it into your shirt while you wander through a mall, then you have to be a rock star. Any other reason would get you a padded cell.
The premise of Billy Gibbons wandering into our Sears wasn’t too far fetched. ZZ Top hails from Houston, and George Foreman (also of Houston) had purchased shoes from the same Sears that same year.
“You wouldn’t be one of those ZZ Top guys would you?” I casually asked as I coiled up his tubing.
“Nope.” I’m pretty sure he was lying.
“Okay,” I responded. “Thanks for shopping at Sears.”
Naturally, my word should be enough for you to believe the celebrity encounter I had all those years ago was genuine. For those of you who fail to muster that certain level of blind faith that I wouldn’t just tell you a story just to tell you a story, I offer up pictures.
After all, pictures or it didn’t happen.
Oh ye of little faith.