the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Encounter in IHOP


I was hungry last night, but there was nothing in the fridge.  So, I walked over to the finest establishment in my neighborhood, IHOP, and ordered French toast (I was feeling wild).

I suddenly realized that I never showered after going to the gym, so I must have looked sweaty and grimy. 

As I waited for my meal, a mother and daughter passed by as they went to pay their bill.   The daughter, a cute twelve-year old girl, shyly looked my way.  A few seconds passed after they passed me, and then they reappeared — standing right next to my table!

“Excuse me,” said the mother.  “I really hope I’m not bothering you.  But my daughter wants to ask you something.” 

The little girl was nervous.  The mother held the girl’s hand to calm her. 

What was going on?

The only scenario I could come up with was that they were a rich Beverly Hills family, they thought I looked homeless, and they wanted to pay for my French toast.

“Go ahead, Jen,” said the mother.  “Ask him.”

But the girl was frozen in fear.  The mother decided to help her daughter out.

“My daughter wants to know if you’re an actor?”

“An actor?” I asked.

“Are you Kirk?” the girl blurted out, finally finding her voice.

“Kirk?” I said, confused.  “No, I’m sorry.  I’m not Kirk.”

“My daughter wants to know if you “play” Kirk,” the mother explained.  “On “Gilmore Girls?”

“No, I’m sorry…”

I had no idea who “Kirk” was.  I’ve never seen “Gilmore Girls,” although it just happens to be my mother’s favorite show and she’s always telling me to watch it.

The girl looked crushed.  I was not “Kirk.”

If I had more time to think, or if I was just a little more quick-witted, I would have lied to the girl.  It would have been worth it.  I would have given her a story she would have remembered for the rest of her life. 

“Imagine!” she would tell her grandchildren.  ” I met Kirk at the IHOP on Wilshire Boulevard!  He even signed a menu!  Look — “Kirk.”

Hey, if I had met Lisa Bonet in a Chili’s Restaurant in 1980, I’d still be writing about it on my blog.

I tried to come up with something positive to say to the girl.  I felt guilty about getting her all excited about meeting “Kirk,” then snapping her dream like a twig.

“You know…” I said with a gentle smile, “‘Gilmore Girls’ is my mother’s favorite show.  She’ll appreciate that you thought I was Kirk.”

“You hear that, Jen?” said the mother.  “His mother loves “Gilmore Girls” too!”

The girl shrugged, like she gave a rat’s ass.   

I got home and decided to call my mother just to tell her the story.  She laughed.

“That’s so cute,” she said.

But there was one unresolved matter.

“So, tell me, Mom, who the hell is ‘Kirk’?”

“Oh, he’s the town weirdo.”


  1. The Retropolitan

    It would’ve been better if she thought that you were Picard.

  2. Paris Parfait

    Neil, your posts always make me laugh. I don’t know about Gilmore Girls either – we’re deprived of such American sitcoms here. When the mention of Kirk came up, I immediately thought of Star Trek.

  3. Caryn

    So Kirk, how was the french toast?

  4. The Retropolitan

    For those of us who don’t watch the show, this is apparently what Neil looks like:

    Citizen of the Month?

  5. TWM

    You do know that if you keep wearing that Star Trek uniform to work-out in, people are always going to mistake you for Kirk.

    Yes, gals like a man in uniform, but that is the wrong uniform.

  6. modigli

    Awww … Poor Neil!
    But hey, that picture of “Kirk” doesn’t look so “town weirdo” to me!

  7. Dave2

    So basically we’ve learned that this “Kirk” person is not only the town weirdo, but he looks sweaty and grimy.

    Next step: don’t shower and crash the Emmy’s!

  8. justrun

    Haha! There couldn’t have been a better ending to that!

  9. Thérèse

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Not only is Gilmore Girls’ Kirk the town weirdo, he’s also:

    – The annoying guy;
    – The guy with the good intentions always gone awry;
    – The guy who can’t get a date;
    – The guy who, when he finally does get a date, is so awkward about it that you can’t help but wonder how he’s stayed alive all these years; and,
    – The guy who you secretly think it mentally ill, despite your eternal desire to see him come out on top.

    Way to be memorable, Neil.

  10. scott

    You write just like Kirk. I have to admit, I thought you might be Kirk too.

    In truth I’ve never heard of Kirk or The Gilmore Girls. I have heard of IHOP.

    Hello, Neil.

  11. Margaret

    So, I guess it’s not as much like seeing Lisa Bonet as Screech…

  12. cruisin-mom

    at least she didn’t ask if you were Captain Kirk.

  13. M.A.

    You’re way cooler than Kirk (although I think that he is an endearing character).

  14. V-Grrrl

    Art imitates life or life imitates art?

    Very funny.

    I’m sure the reason she thought you were the town weirdo had to do with the French toast. Dude, NORMAL people order the Western Skillet, and kids and senior citizens order the pancakes.

  15. Kevin

    Maybe you are Kirk?

    My mom loves Gilmore Girls as well as Everwood. I don’t understand it. And she thinks that some of the primetime melodrama that Katie and I watch is weird. She should talk.

  16. Bre

    on the upside, Kirk is generally well loved by the townsfolk!

  17. Blonde Vigilante

    From the moment she asked if you were Kirk…I was laughing out loud. I too am a Gilmore Girls fan. Oh, and it’s more like fanatical town weirdo.

  18. AscenderRisesAbove

    Kirk; the guy with a different job every week…
    (My first job was waitressing at IHOP.)

  19. ms. sizzle

    the gilmore girls has great wit. you might enjoy it. kirk is a character that is for sure!

    lisa bonet. hee hee.

  20. Trixie

    Jeez, Therese! You’re going to give Neil a complex!

  21. Hope

    Weird that I was watching Gilmore Girls on Tuesday night wondering about Kirk, I wonder what that guy’s like in real life? Because you really believe he’s a weirdo. Hilarious.

  22. Scarlet

    You weren’t by chance sitting there without your shirt on, were you? Because Kirk has the weirdest body ever (can’t find picture but he is often shirtless on the show) and thought maybe that’s why the little girl “recognized” you.

  23. Brooke

    Oh Neil. Next time wear a backwards baseball cap, some flannel, and don’t shave. Maybe they will mistake you for Luke instead.

  24. Leesa

    I don’t watch Gilmore Girls, but I laughed out loud when you were compared to the “Town Wierdo”. 😉

  25. Jessica

    I’m dying to hear what you think…do you think you look like Sean Gunn?

  26. girlgoyle

    So i looked up this kirk and to me…sort of looks like the lead singer of Greenday…so i would think u made out ok. I’ve been asked if I was Demi Moore once and for a split second I was very flattered until I realized I was sitting in a tiny diner in bumblefuck Louisiana. Eh!

  27. Pearl

    Neil, everyone has to have some claim to fame. Apparently, you’re Kirk, I’m Molly Ringwald and Cruisin’ Mom is Carrie Fisher.

  28. the Yearning Heart

    Kirk is hot, weirdo or not. I’d do him. I’m a red-headed Nev Campbell but I am Lisa Kudrow when I laugh.

  29. Dating Dummy

    LOL, we’re gonna have to catch you on TV sometime now that we know who you really are. 🙂

  30. Elisabeth

    Two things:
    1. I am sooo relieved you don’t call it “freedom” toast!
    2. You should definitely have lied to that girl. It would have made her day, and think of what she could have written on her blog that evening!
    3. I always wondered why no one has ever mistaken me for Catherine Deneuve (yeah, right!) – the only thing that we have in common is that we are both French. Ah!

  31. Elisabeth

    Never mind that I can’t make the difference between “2” and “3.”

  32. wordgirl

    Neil Kramer: Dashing Childhood Dreams Since…? Here’s one for your eventual tombstone inscription: “I’m not Kirk”.

  33. Kestrel

    We used to looooove IHOP, but then we got the “Good Enough to Eat” cookbook and began making our own fancy breakfasts. We can’t stand IHOP now, it’s a little sad, but I love our breakfasts. 🙂

  34. Dagny

    I am still laughing over the Kirk thing. I never miss “The Gilmore Girls.” I have always thought of Kirk as being … well, special. I love all of the various business ventures Kirk has gone into on the show. Each week it seems he has moved onto something else.

  35. Melissa

    “The Gilmore Girls” rock. I missed the season finale though, can anyone tell me if Luke and Lorelie got married?

  36. Heather B.

    Did you have the stuffed french toast?

  37. ACG

    I don’t watch the gilmore girls, but after a quick google search I got this

    he’s pretty hot!

  38. Dagny

    Melissa, here’s a recap of the season finale.

  39. schrodinger

    Damn that’s funny. I love Gilmore Girls (good writing – you should sit through an ep) and Kirk is indeed the town wierdo. Keep in mind you LOOK like Kirk, not act like Kirk…a small consolation, I know.

  40. Denise

    OK, I totally think Kirk’s cute. (Weird in behavior but cute.)

  41. better safe than sorry

    lol, i’ve never seen that show so i had no idea who kirk is. he might have been the town weirdo, but is he hot???
    gotta be;)

  42. claire

    I knew just which Kirk she meant right off. That’s pretty funny. On the upside, even though Kirk has a different job every week, he’s accumulated a substantial amount of cash by befriending old ladies with no families.

  43. Think Frustrated

    I think I would have looked even more a fool by assuming that she meant Captain Kirk, and then I would have wondered if the little girl had a learning disability, mistaking me for Shatner.

  44. Painterbeachgirl

    I am DYINGGGGG oh my sides HURT, because the thought of this kid asking if you are Kirk….OH MY GODDDDDDDDD! I’ve seen Gilmore Girls and I have seen Kirk!!! Come on, you mean you dont look like LUKE? HE’S THE HOTTIE!!!!

    Hey, is Polly’s Pies still around in Santa Monica??

  45. Julie

    You’d be more quick witted it you watched gilmore girls.

  46. SpiritOfOwl

    Just the town huh? You didn’t tell her you blogged then?

  47. Neil

    Ok, I just got home and I can’t believe so many of you actually watch Gilmore Girls. I thought this was a show for ten year old girls and my mother.

    As for me looking like “Kirk” — yes, I DO look absolutely like him, except I’m taller, older, have a Jewish nose, have glasses, have longer hair, have grayer hair, have different color eyes, and weigh more. The only similarity is that we’re lovable weirdos.

  48. bella

    hmm, yeah, a little. I watch GG, even have the dvds. When my neck hurts I say “I have a Kirk in my neck.”

  49. 2nd Pearl at the Post

    I love your stories. I draw a total blank at Kirk if it isn’t the captain. And Gilmore Girls too. I know Lisa Bonet tho. Not personally of course although I did see a media photo of her recently. Ok, I’ll take my babbling brook downstream now…

  50. Nelumbo

    mmmmmmmm…pancakes…sorry I can’t get past the fact you didn’t order pancakes…

  51. Neil

    This may be shocking to some, but I don’t really like pancakes too much. I love French toast, though! I tried IHOP’s stuffed French toast once, and I thought it was an insult to France.

  52. Michele

    I laughed outloud reading this little snippet about IHOP. I love Gilmore Girls, or I did until this season, now I’m committed to not paying it any attention. But that’s neither here nor there. About KIRK: he is the best character on the show so it was a compliment from the little girl, but Kirk is the town weirdo and he is physically, well, uh, how do you say…an acquired taste. But he’s hilarious and I highly suggest you get the 1st and 2nd season DVDs and have some Kirk time…it’s worth it…I swear!

  53. Virenda

    Ahhhh…. That you even cared is great.

    I’m right there with ya though, I have NEVER watched the show so had no idea who Kirk was/is but the fact that your the town creep makes me smile. I guess next time you either shower or embrace the whole town weirdo thing.

  54. Mike F

    Never watch Gilmore Girls. But it almost sounds like it would have been better to think you were homeless.

    I did that once. I went up to a guy on the street to offer him a sandwich I had. Only he wasn’t homeless or hungry. It’s not really a scenario you think about until it happens. Oh, you are not homeless, great, good for you, …. ahh…. I’ll just crawl under this here rock…..bye now…

  55. jackt

    You just forgot to shower after the gym and didn’t notice it?! You must be the cleanest sweat-er ever!

    You shoulda recovered after telling the girl you weren’t Kirk. “No, I’m actually co-starring with [name teeny-bopper star] in her next movie.” She woulda been disappointed when she found out it wasn’t true, but that’s a few months of bliss for her.

  56. Fitèna

    *Fitèna, don’t laugh* Poor Neil! *Fitèna donnnn’t laugh* Did she confuse you with him because you forgot to shower? You’re sweat smell pulled her back to you? Poor Neil! *Fitèna laughing hard*


  57. Di

    A small shout of laughter from the kiwi …

  58. Serena

    OMG…I love this! Now I’m totally sitting here thinking I know what you look like : )

  59. Lou P.

    Great twist ending there… Funny stuff.

  60. Sean

    Hilarious. For the record, I AM Kirk on the Gilmore Girls and I always describe myself as the “town jackass.” But weirdo works too.

  61. Janet

    Hee hee. That poor girl. What a funny encounter!

    (I had to go google Kirk because I don’t watch Gilmore Girls.)

  62. kimananda

    I always have the idea that people in Southern California are always being mistaken for celebrities…is this actually true?

  63. Madigan

    Okay, so this is true. My friend totally fucked the real Kirk and said he was hot. I know another girl who fucked one of his brothers, the one who wrote that TV show 2gether.

  64. Sophia

    Just looked at “Kirk’s” pictures, and now I understand – you both have this Modigliani/El Greco thing about you: loooong face and body.

  65. Neil

    Sean — Thanks for stopping by. I hope this girl doesn’t stop watching your show because of my insensitivity.

    May I be the first to say that despite people saying you look like a “weirdo,” I think you are very attractive in your photos. If you ever need a stand-in, you know whom to call.

    And I was glad to hear from “Madigan” that after her friend “totally f***ed you, she thought you were “hot.” I get that a lot myself. So, I guess we have similarities in other ways, too.

  66. Stefanie

    I’ve never seen the Gilmore Girls cause I’m too busy watch Grey’s Anatomy but I would just take it as a compliment. Hey, the guy’s on TV right? I was once mistaken for someone on Buffy but it turned out to be someone ugly. But whatever.

  67. Dagny

    No, Neil. He doesn’t look weird. His character on the show is weird.

  68. introspectre

    How funny. I have no idea if I’ve ever even seen that show….
    But being the town weird-o is A-ok with me pal.


  69. Lisa

    ROTFL, that’s just great! He’s not bad-looking, if that helps at all. Great carnival entry!

  70. Russ

    WOW!! I can’t believe I found Kirk’s blog!! I love you on “Gilmore Girls”!!


  71. Lara

    Ha! I don’t know which is funnier. (a) the post itself; (b) the fact that the guy who really plays Kirk commented here (or an impersonator of the guy who plays Kirk…); or (c) your response to the guy who actually plays Kirk.

  72. pompis

    Yo también soy fanático de Gilmore Girls. Ah, y es más como un bicho raro fanático de la ciudad. me encanta

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