Almost Famous

I was finishing my purchase at a store Back East. The twenty-something man behind the counter read my name on the check. After a moment, he asked,”You’re someone famous, aren’t you?”

At the time, I worked for a daily newspaper as a reporter, then an editor. But I didn’t think that made me particularly well-known in this city.

“Famous? Well …”

“Yeah, you work with chimpanzees in the jungle.”

“Oh, you mean Jane Goodall. Sorry. That’s not me.”

The cashier turned red. I told him it was okay although frankly I don’t know how he mixed us up. We look nothing alike. Jane is close to Joan but Goodall and Livingston aren’t.

So much for my brief brush with fame. It turned out to be a simple case of mistaken identity.

In the small town where I once lived in western Massachusetts most everyone was famous within its boundaries. When there’s only 1,400 people it’s easy to know who’s who. We even knew the hermits.

Now, in my position of managing a newspaper in New Mexico, I do enjoy some notoriety. But it’s not the same as dodging fans or giving autographs. Mostly the recognition involves a handshake, and in a few cases, a look of scorn.

My friend Smitty had an interesting experience. People kept mistaking him for the actor Clint Eastwood. I see how they did. Both men are tall, thin, and have similar facial features.

One time, Smitty was approached by a group of people who asked for his autograph. He told them he wasn’t Clint Eastwood. When he walked away, he heard one of them say, “That Clint Eastwood is an asshole” or something close to that.

So not to disappoint Clint’s fans or besmirch his name, Smitty returned to the group to sign autographs. Everyone went away happy that day.


One thought on “Almost Famous

  1. This is great. It’s always strange to be mistaken for someone else, and I never know whether to take it as a compliment or an insult. (WHAT? I am an individual, unlike any other!)

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