Except, it is about something.
We watch them. We envy them. In the case of Lindsay Lohan, we carve wooden statues in her likeness and spend hours sitting with them in a booth at Friendly’s [okay, perhaps that’s just me]. We watch them mug furiously on Entertainment Tonight or Extra — two shows that exist solely for the fact that people actually give a shit about how Madonna’s keeping in shape and whether Gwyneth Paltrow’s kid looks like her or that stiff from Coldplay.
But it is important to remember that these celebrities are, like us, mere mortals. With the exception of the aforementioned Ms. Lohan, who is an alien visitor from the planet Hotdamnandchristalmighty, they walk the same earth as us. Which leads to the phenomenon known as the brush with celebrity: that kinetic moment when one of the unwashed masses [namely, us, though Rich Garces especially] walks smack into the orbit of a member of the elite group known as “the famous.”
So, for lack of anything better to do, I decided to make a list of the various brushes with celebrity that I’ve had throughout my short life. It’s not a very impressive list, but I felt compelled to share it anyway. So here goes:
Tom Gordon: One evening, on my way to the Sox game, I almost bump into Gordon, who is jogging down Brookline Ave. in a sweatsuit. Dude looks like he’s about four feet tall in person.
Steven Tyler: If you live in Boston, chances are you may run into some members of Aerosmith, as they are but a handful of true, internationally-reknowed celebs who inhabit the city. Anyway, I was in a since-closed 7-11 on Cambridge Street when Tyler ran in, grabbed a couple bottles of water, paid for them, and ran back out into his jeep, which might I add was double-parked.
Joey Kramer: Yet another Aerosmith sighting. Joey was in the beer line behind me at King Richard’s Faire back around 1998. I said, “Hey, Joey Kramer!” He said, “Hey, the guy in front of me!” And that, as they say, was that. And, yes, you read that correctly. I was at King Richard’s Faire.
Jerry Seinfeld: I saw Seinfeld perform at the now-defunct Clubland in Worcester. At the time, only four or five episodes of his show had aired, but I was a fan of his stand-up act. He was hanging out at the bar after the gig, and I ended up approaching him to say how much I dug his stuff. Alas, in one of the most ill-timed introductions in our nation’s history, I stuck my goofy Irish mug in his face while he was holding court with four impossibly hot chicks. He autographed my ticket stub, but gave me a “riiiiiight” when I told him how much I loved his work, which I took as shorthand for, “Are you insane? I’m talking up four impossibly hot chicks.” Looking back, he actually let me off easy. I would have kicked my ass.
Peter Wolf: One night I was trolling through Tower Records on Newbury Street and looked up to see Mr. Wolf skimming the rack directly across from me. He looked up. I waved. He waved. He skulked off. I got back to trolling.
Jason Mewes [“Jay” of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks and Chasing Amy fame]: I was standing at a urinal in the Marriott in San Diego. Jay walks in and sidles up to the one next to me. Wasn’t until I saw him as we were washing our hands that I realized, “Dude, I just took a whiz next to the guy from Clerks.”
Adam West: TV’s original Batman was a guest speaker at my college for reasons no one has been able to comprehend or completely explain. Regardless, I was assigned the task of picking Mr. West up at the airport, seeing his safe transport to the campus, and getting his ass back on the jet after his appearance. As someone who grew up watching re-runs of the old Batman show, I will admit to being in a state of geek overdrive. The highlight: driving down 95 at midnight with muthafuggin’ BATMAN sitting next to me and a car ahead of us starts weaving menacingly. West sees this action, and calmly guides me through it. “Okay, now. This guy could be drunk. Let’s get over to the right lane. Far away. Good, now punch it!” Why didn’t I bug the goddam car? Why wasn’t I wearing a wire? Questions that haunt me to this day.
So what does it all mean? Well, for one thing, I haven’t had a lot of “celebrity moments.” For another, I may be pushing the definition of “celebrity” a tad. If you’ve got one to share, drop us a comment. Tell us about your brush with greatness.