Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What are you reading THIS blog for? All the fun is over at Shakespeare's Sister (Brush With Fame Edition)

Andy Warhol once wrote: In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.

That still may be, but a corollary to the maxim is that everyone will manage to cross paths with several famous people. It's a decent get-to-know you game; I have yet to have the conversation with someone and not get a fairly cool response.

They're playing that game over at Shakespeare's Sister. Go read. Go get involved. Or give Bitty an exclusive and post your encounters here.

Here's the expanded version of my response.

If we're talking about people I've crossed paths with long enough to snag an autograph, that list includes Susan Faludi (yes, my copy of Backlash is autographed), Bela Fleck, and (nobody cares but me, maybe, but he wrote my favorite non-fiction book, China: Alive in the Bitter Sea, also now autographed), Fox Butterfield.

If we're talking about airport sightings, I was in line with Kasey Kasem (he didn't say any bad words) and stood around waiting with Leslie Nielsen (yes, for an Airplane!; too funny!)

However, my best "famous person" encounters are political.

I shook Bill Clinton's hand when he was campaigning in 1992. (At that time, I wasn't worrying about where that hand might have been...) I have pictures that I took of the man my own self. The Secret Service, by the way, is fascinating to watch up close.

My best encounter, however, wasn't as close but the image will be with me forever. When I was in 6th grade, I went on a bus patrol trip to DC. This would have been spring of '65. We went to Arlington National Cemetery to see JFK's grave, and of course at that time the man had not been dead much more than a year. The crowds (us) were kept on sidewalks with ropes along the sides to keep us on the paths and off the grass. There were several other unoccupied sidewalks leading to the grave. Suddenly the crowd started buzzing and pointing. Bobby and Ethel Kennedy and all the many little Kennedys were walking up one of the sidewalks. Bobby and the boys were dressed in matching dark suits. Ethel and the girls were dressed in matching lime green sleeveless shifts (a term probably not used much any more, but the dresses still exist).

Since I was a punk kid, I didn't have a camera. Kids didn't have those kinds of things back in the 60s. It doesn't matter. The image is seared in my brain and is all the more poignant since of course Bobby himself was in the grave just a few years later.

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