Sunday, May 16, 2004

Meeting Celebrities

Over on By The Way, John Scalzi's been soliciting bloggers (AOL Journalers, mostly, but I figure, why not) to decribe their most memorable brushes with celebrity. Mine came last year -- I'm pretty sure I blogged about it then, but it never hurts to mention it again.

I was in a local party supply store picking up some balloons, plates and whatnot for The Daughter's birthday celebration, and as I was paying for my merchandise, another family came up behind me to likewise pay. I got my change and moved aside to stick the money in my wallet and make sure I had all the balloons secured so they wouldn't blow away, while the next family plunked down their stuff. The woman said something like "Did we get everything, Jim?" And the guy responded, "Yeah, I think so," or something like that. And I, being the good Buffalonian, instantly recognized that voice. Looking back, I confirmed that the father buying party supplies was NFL Hall-of-Famer and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, with his wife and two daughters. (I assume that his son, Hunter, who is stricken with a very terrible genetic disease, was at home with a nurse.)

It is to my enduring pride that I only glanced long enough to confirm that it was Number Twelve, and then I exited the store. No "Holy crap, it's Jim Kelly! Oh My God!" style lunacy from me. (But you can bet that I didn't make a move to drive out of the parking lot until I watched Number Twelve load his car and drive away himself.)

Generally, my life has been pretty celebrity-free. At a couple of SF conventions I attended as a kid, I met George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars). When I was even younger and living for a year in West Virginia, President Carter appeared in our town's annual summer parade. My wife once delivered a pizza to Kenny Rogers, when he was in town for a show (I recall that his toppings were ham and pineapple). In college, I attended a master class with Wynton Marsalis that wasn't really all that illuminating, since they brought in the local high schools to cram the room full, and Marsalis is really something of an opinionated ass to begin with (or at least, he was on that day), but that was pretty memorable. That's about it. Western New York really isn't the place you want to be, if meeting celebrities on a regular basis is your thing.

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