Friday, 3 a.m. The Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue. Just finished: half a chicken, insultingly overpriced. They charge you $3 extra to "share." Bastards. Friend to waiter, upon being informed that they don't accept credit cards: "I wish this place would just... stop existing." In wanders an unusually tall man, peroxided hair, flanked by two very short white guys. Oh, no: it's former Chicago Bulls forward and Celebrity Mole winner Dennis Rodman.Rodman's a little drunk; then again so are we. He's laughing while his friends egg him on. They appear to have just met him, and you can sort of see their thoughts scrolling across their heads like a ticker: "Whoa, we were just drinking at Jimmy's five minutes ago, and now we're hanging out with Dennis Rodman!" Outside on the sidewalk, we gape silently, respectfully through the plate-glass window, for what we were witnessing up-close is the degraded version of a former celebrity lifestyle. Instead of Tao, it's the Carnegie Deli at three in the morning. Instead of an entourage of strippers and Madonna, it's two hicks that he met at the bar down the street. Suddenly, we both understand what happens after you stop being famous. This is end-stage fame. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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