Some years ago when Google went live and my kid showed me how to use it I googled myself. As who does not? It turned out that the most famous Michael Gruber was a musical comedy star, then me, then an Olympic skier from Austria, then a German motorcycle racer who was in an accident on the track and had his genitals ripped off and sewn back on, then a psychologist in New York, then an oncologist in Texas, and then the hoi polloi of Michael Grubers, including, I imagine, the Seattle scumbag whose bounced checks have occasioned a number of distressing phone calls over the years.
Well, interesting, to know the doings of ones name-brothers, but I didn't give it much thought until I started to get letters from teen-aged fans of the musical star asking for autographed photos. I wrote back and explained the confusion, and am pleased to report that at least one girl wanted a photo of the reserve MG anyway. So I have that to place in my book of life achievements. Then the Times printed a shot of the other Michael as the tin man in the Wizard of Oz. it was a profile shot an damned if it wasn't the spit of a photo that I have of myself thirty years ago! OK, a little weird, but then I got a letter from a fan who said she'd read all my books, including the one on depth psychology and asking me if my research had helped me in developing my characters.
Then I got an email in German from a fellow in Salzburg, an aspiring skier, expressing his admiration for my silver medal run at the most recent winter olympiad and asking for the signed photo. Too much! Everything went blurry, the squeaky music came on and I realized I was being interviewed by Charlie Rose.
CR: So, Michael Gruber--best-selling author, musical star, champion skier, motorcycle racer, psychologist, oncologist, petty criminal--how do you manage it all?
MG: Well, Charlie, I don't get a lot of sleep. Basically it's all about organization. I have one meal a day, a 6000 calorie milkshake. I make lists. My staff takes a lot of the burden. And I practically never use the Internet. A lot of cocaine. Being a tweaker street thug helps here. It can be done.
CR: Clearly! Let's start with show biz. What are you performing in now?
MG: I'm rehearsing a new production of the King and I. I play the leader of a survivalist motorcycle gang with 43 children and I hire a Thai nanny to look after them. Its an adaptation of my thriller Guns of the Road. A bit of a switcheroo, if you follow me.
CR: Yes, and you're directing as well, I understand.
MG: Yeah, I had some spare time, because it's summer and the skiing's mostly closed down.
CR: You still compete?
MG: Oh my, yes. When I get the show up and running I'll start training for the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi. Luckily we're opening in San Francisco and they have those great hills. I'm looking forward to slaloming down them between acts.
CR: But there's no snow in San Francisco.
MG: That's what they tell me. But, you know, Charlie, I just don't entertain that kind of negative thinking. Where there's a will there's a way. That's how psychology has helped me. I mean being a psychologist, I look at the world a little differently from most people. I don't have all these neurotic hang-ups.
CR: But do you think your age will be a factor in international competition?
MG: Not at all. Age is largely an illusion, I've found. At the oncology lab we're developing some interesting new drugs that seem to reverse the aging process. When we get the tumor problem licked I think we'll really have something.
CR: The drug causes cancer?
MG: Not as such. I find I can whip most of the little rascals out myself during my downtime, for example, on airline flights. It's hard in coach, so I have to fly business class, and of course, the flight attendants up front have a lot more time to help out with suction and like that.
CR: Speaking of operations, what was it really like to get your genitals ripped off in a high speed motorcycle crash?
MG: Oddly enough, no more painful than a bee sting. The whole thing was my fault. I was making a turn at about 200 kilometers an hour, and I was going over the lyrics for my tin woodsman role, when the rear wheel spun out. I keep telling myself, no multitasking, but do I listen? Just last year I was proofing my latest novel and doing the giant slalom at the European championship at Gstaad and by gosh I went and clipped a gate. Never again. It's focus focus focus from now on.
CR: But the operation, the reattachment. It was a success, yes? You're okay now.
MG: No, a complete failure. The whole package turned black and fell off. I'm waiting for a donor now, but I haven't seen any I really like. Yeah, it's a little embarrassing in the locker room--I mean the guys, some of the guys, call me Ken, which is a little hurtful. On the other hand, it does save an enormous amount of time.