Monday, August 6, 2018

Am I a celebrity? Uh, nope ...

(646 words)

The question is being asked with enough frequency I figure it’s time I address the issue.

Am I a celebrity?

I am not.

A celebrity is someone of enduring appeal, someone of ample means and name recognition, a unifying element capable of dominating pop culture. A celebrity is, oh, say, for example, hmmm, Arnold Palmer? He died worth about $800 million and has a popular drink named after him.

I have very little money, perhaps because I usually have a popular drink right in my hand.

Clearly, Arnold Palmer’s a celebrity and I’m not.

So what am I?

I’m a tourist attraction!

People stop by to see me, grab some refreshments, take some pictures and then depart feeling vaguely hungover and wondering what the hell just happened.

Me, I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

It all started with the four retired lesbians — and I should clarify: I know they are retired and I simply anecdotally inferred they were lesbians.

I don’t know if you can even retire from a thing like that. 

But they were just lovely. One of them knocked on my door in the afternoon and said, “Oh, we’re so sorry to disturb you. My friends and I are big Arnie Palmer fans and all bought your book when we heard you speak in Oakmont and wanted to come out and see all the places you wrote about. And we were hoping you weren’t too busy for us to buy you a beer.”

I’ve never been able to find a way to skillfully convey how I’m never busy and that anyone on the planet at any time of the day or night is welcome to barge into my office and cheerfully tell me they want to buy me a beer.

In my entire life I’ve only been truly busy twice and both times involved my obligatory presence during the births of our daughters — and I’m pretty sure Val and the crackerjack OBGYN team could have soldiered on without me if a sudsy stranger popped in and said he wanted to buy books and beers.

I’m thinking of tacking a “DO NOT DISTURB!” sign for my office door and using duck tape to block out the first two words so visitors will see the sign and feel obliged to DISTURB! me. 

Strangers wanting to meet me at the Tin Lizzy and buy me a drink is a phenomenon that’s becoming surprisingly common.

On Friday it was my new friend Ben (not his real name). We met at Flappers on the second floor. He texted me he’d be the one wearing jeans and a red golf shirt.

I texted back I’d be the one who looks like an inebriated writer and spelled it “ineebriated.”

Ben’s an interesting man. He’s retired U.S. Air Force who spent most of his career servicing Air Force One and other high security planes in top secret hangars at Joint Base Andrews near the nation’s capital. He went from there straight to a position with Raytheon.

I asked how he and his colleagues spent their hush-hush days with this top defense contractor.

“We all sit around reading your blog,” he said. “It’s hilarious.”

If you think it’s hilarious now, Ben, just wait till you see the post I write after I persuade you to use your top secret security clearance to sneak me onto Air Force One so I can surreptitiously put Saran Wrap over all the toilet bowls.

I dream of the day when some covert operative conceives an undercover sneak to get all the people who love the blog to pay for the blog.

Ben bought 10 signed Palmer books so he’s off the hook. 

But, please, if you’re in the neighborhood feel free to stop up and buy some books or just shoot the breeze.

It’s nice being busy, but it’s more fun spending your days being just a wee bit disturbed. 

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