Back in the fall of 2011, Dan Aykroyd, Dr. Raymond Stanz himself, came to the Sam’s Club in Freehold, New Jersey to promote Crystal Head, his new vodka line. I knew of the promotion shortly before it was to occur, but alas, I was stuck going to work that fateful Sunday. To get a chance to meet Dan Aykroyd would have been a dream come true, and looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t fake some sort of violent illness in order to call out of work. Ultimately, I resigned myself to my miserable retail duties.
During the week leading up to that day, my then girlfriend, and now wife Jenn told me she was going somewhere that Sunday morning, but she would not tell me where she was going, or with who. The thought crossed my mind that she was going there, explaining why she wouldn’t tell me. We had known each other for less than a year at that point, but nonetheless, she was more than privy to my obsession with all things Ghostbusters. “Nah, she’s not going there. How would she even know about this?” I thought. I quickly talked myself out of the prospect, and moved on.
Fast forward to Christmas that year, and from the wonderful woman I now have the honor of being married to, I received the gift of a lifetime. It was in two pieces, and I remember her telling me to open a certain part first so that it made sense. I preceded to open the first piece, and sure enough, it was a gift set of Crystal Head vodka, signed by Dan Aykroyd. Since my love for the Ghostbusters sometimes brings me to an emotional place, my eyes immediately welled up with happy tears. I just couldn’t believe it.
Back in October of that year, along with my friends and cohorts Andrew, Chris and Jack from The Only Podcast That Matters, I went to see Ghostbusters in the theater, as it was re-released for a limited run of showings leading up to Halloween. All dressed in matching Ghostbusters shirts, we stood around the movie poster hanging in the theater lobby and had a fellow fan take a picture of us. Ever thoughtful and resourceful, Jenn printed that picture out and had Mr. Aykroyd sign that too. When I opened up the second piece of the gift, that signed picture was framed for me, and I nearly melted into a quivering puddle on the floor.
While I’m not a vodka drinker – the gift set is a collector’s item for me – it is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. I had a good idea before that day that Jenn was a keeper, but if that didn’t seal the deal right there, I don’t know what would. To this day, that signed bottle of vodka, encased in a glass skull along with two skull shot glasses, sits proudly atop my bookcase devoted to Ghostbusters toys and memorabilia. A Christmas, a perfect gift, and a love to remember.