Gil and Nikki were about to introduce me to Don Rickles, backstage, behind the Lounge at the Sahara.
I had a quick thought, I’d better be sure of myself. Firm. He’s a nightmare ! Nikki was saying
“Don, we want you to meet John, who will replace Dave Scott. We know you heard about his passing”
Rickles: “God rest his soul. Hope you are getting through it”. My hand was in his, now.
“Nice to meet you, John.” “What’s with the Superman grip?” “What are you 5’2?”
“I’m 5 seven, Mr Rickles” “Shutup, I said you’re 5 two” “You’re not foolin’ anyone with that manly grip.”
“Get out there and have a great show.” And he was gone !
“Man, he was like a frickin Winter storm, with no letup.” You just did not know what to do.
Gil put his arm around me. “You’ve just become part of a special group. That happens to include Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc. People insulted by Don Rickles.
He was heartless…Took no prisoners.
Some months later, I was at Caesar’s visiting my friend Dave at the front desk. Suddenly through the entrance came Rickles. Alone and talking to the casino like he just entered his kitchen.
Casino play almost came to a halt as Rickles moved among everyone letting loose torrents of comments from how bad they were playing, to “Does your wife know about this girl?” “What? She is your wife. Sure” Then a wink and ok sign !
Amazing ! No fear. No fear of being rebuked. So self-assured knowing there is no one to ‘best’ you. And even when someone does come up with a good line, and he is the butt of the joke…he has a way of making it part of the act.