Knowing What to Say
It's not like I meet major celebrities every day. Or much of ever, for that matter. For one thing, I don't know what anyone looks like since I don't watch the teevee, and for another, their names mean nothing to me because, as I recently pointed out, I don't watch the teevee. I do listen to music, and in the days before CDs reduced artist photographs to a tasteful postage stamp, there were recognizable images on "album" covers. Some were more than recognizable. I'm thinking in particular of Carly Simon.
Now Carly and I go back quite a while. If you're old enough, you will remember when her "first" record came out with the spectacular hit "You're So Vain." Between the riddle, the great song and performance, and, shall we say, pictures of Carly, it made quite a splash. One would be justified in saying that it jump-started her career, which spans as of this writing at least four decades. But that wasn't its true beginning. With her sister she had previously recorded an album of children's songs which I had somehow contemporaneously acquired.
I don't recall the circumstances of how she and I happened to be in the same room at the same time, but a friend introduced me to her. "Pleased to meet'cha" just wouldn't do...
Friend: "Carly, this is Richard"
Carly: "Hi" (I think that's a direct quote, but it might have been the more formal "Hello.")
Richard: "It's a real pleasure to meet you. I've been a big fan ever since I first heard the song...(calculated pause)"
[At this point, Carly is thinking "He's going to say 'You're So Vain'." How do I know? I was recording her brainwaves at the time, and sent them for post-analysis to confirm it. I can provide a notarized transcript if you really need it.]
Richard (continuing): "Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod!"
Carly: "A true fan!" (Big smile).
Well, that was it. I received a personal smile from Carly Simon. I have saved that smile and keep it with my treasured mementos to this day. If you don't believe that's possible, just ask anyone at whom she has ever smiled for confirmation. I've even seen the occasional one for sale on eBay. I would never sell the one I got that long ago day.
I'm not unduly keen on celebrities. I have met a few others, and perhaps I'll expatiate on those meetings some day. I'm sure you're eager to hear about the time I made a sandwich for Grace Slick. But this was the one and only meeting at which I knew what to say.