We’ve all had brushes with celebrities. Working at a large East Coast university has brought lots of them my way. Some years ago I was in a bookstore in downtown Providence at lunchtime, and I was trying to look at something on a lower shelf, and a tall lanky balding older guy was trying to look at the same shelf, and we got in each other’s way. And we glared at each other. And – oh Jesus – it was Peter Boyle.
Partner and I like strolling in Manhattan, and one day we had a twofer: an Edie Falco sighting in a pastry shop (everybody in the place was on his/her cell phone, reporting that Edie was only two tables away!), and a Brad Garrett sighting on Broadway (he was eighteen inches taller than everyone else, and he was fairly radiating don’t-even-think-about-approaching-me!). Also Daniel Davis, Niles from “The Nanny,” who’d been in the production of “La Cage aux Folles” we’d just seen, smiling in the rain, signing autographs. Also the guy who played the mayor on “Gilmore Girls,” in line for “Spamalot,” bitchy and gossipy.
A friend here in Rhode Island is acquainted with a major local politician; she babysits her dogs, for god’s sake. They were in a burger joint together, and the girl behind the counter squinted at Major Politician oddly. “I’ve seen you on TV,” she said. “Or in the newspaper. Right?”
Major Politician smiled. “Probably you have,” she said. “I’m Major Politician.”
The girl thought for a moment, then shrugged. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t know who that is.”
But sometimes there is a perfect celebrity moment:
One of my acquaintances is lucky enough to be acquainted with the immortal Candice Bergen. They were in a local Starbucks, and the barista said: “You look just like Murphy Brown.”
And Candice Bergen said, without batting an eye: “You know, a lot of people tell me that.”