Over the weekend I met a gargantuan man. At 3ft tall I know that most people are taller than me but this fellow I met was..

TALL. Ginormous. Monstrous. Legendary.

We were told that people had been in line since 9:15 that morning for a chance to meet him. Though he wasn't scheduled to appear till 1 in the afternoon, in true Boston sports' fan form -- a loyal fan base was at the ready hours earlier. Some of you may know him from the 1996 movie Kazaam "Do you realize who I am? I'm your genie!" but most people know him from his 19 year presence on the basketball court. Even if you're not a basketball fan, who hasn't seen or heard of his classic two-handed slam dunks?? After his victory dunk he'll hang, for a few seconds, on the rim like a kid who finally mastered that trick on the monkey bars. Except, he's a kid who towers at 7'1" and weighs 325 lbs. (That's roughly how much I weigh if I sat in my electric wheelchair..soaking wet). 

But this morning we weren't going to be treated to any of his antics on the basketball court, Shaquille O'Neal was scheduled to sign his latest book Shaq Uncut at the Harvard Bookstore. A few minutes before the line was allowed inside, we heard someone holler from the front of the building "...ANYONE IN A WHEELCHAIR CAN COME TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE!" My two friends I was with just kind of looked at each other in confusion, had we heard correctly? Did the person really say I could go to the front of the line?! I asked the woman in front of us just to be sure and she confirmed what we'd heard. I looked at my friends who stared back at me in shocked silence. Their faces said it all well, you heard what they said. We will follow you. So without any hesitation I broke from the line and we headed to the front. Whenever this has happened I will admit I do my best to avoid eye contact from the other people we are cutting in the line. It's one of those social expectations that I know I should be used to but I'm not. I can't say I totally 'get' why this happens (I mean, honestly, it's not like I'm not USED to just SITTING anyway..) but who is going to complain?? Not me or any of my friends and family, that's for sure! 

I'm not the biggest basketball fan but I am Boston born-and-bred so I've gone to a few games. I grew up watching the days of Larry Bird (and those tall socks) with my grandpa, the biggest Celtics fan I know. So when I sat there at the front of the line I couldn't believe this was all actually happening. The bookstore had cleared out an entire aisle so that The Big Shaqtus could make his way to the signing table. At first they had one of those old Harvard-University-pipe-puffing chairs for him, the kind with the arms on either side.. but then that was taken away when they realized The Diesel would never be able to wedge into that. They opted for (what looked to me) a plain black ottoman. Someone carried up a plate of cookies with Orange Juice set-off to the side, and then seconds later we hard the cameras clicking, flashing, and then the man himself appeared:

He doesn't need help reaching for the higher books!

Although Shaq wasn't going to be posing for pictures, my friend still managed to catch a quick snapshot of us chatting on his phone. When I say chatting, I really mean that Shaq was saying "Hey pretty lady, thanks so much for coming.." while I sat there stunned and maybe could only mutter a "thanks for signing my book.." 

 *All photo credit goes to my friend Adam

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