Popular TV personalities aren’t always what they seem. I share my story bite “Hold It Down” about an encounter gone awry.

And I write about two actual encounters I’ve had with celebrity. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

What I’m Writing

Hold It Down

After two hours, Sam finally reached the head of the line for the book signing. A wildly popular TV chef, Railene Duncan, known for serving up tasty meals in a short time, sat at a table smiling at customers and signing book after book. Sam had rehearsed for hours on what he would say to her. Thanks for your great recipes. I’ve lost ten pounds and feel great. No. Don’t emphasize his weight. I love your show. The recipes are so easy to follow. Nah, just say thank you.

Credit: TaskRabbit.com

The woman who had stood in front of him for the whole two hours stepped up to the table, book held out for signing. Railene gave her a huge smile. Sam heard the woman say, “Can we take a picture together?” The chef nodded.

It will flash.

The woman immediately swung around to Sam, handed him a point and shoot camera, and said, “Please take our picture.” Sam hesitated. He didn’t use cameras, hated to take pictures. He held the camera up, looking for the shutter release. “Press here,” she said, pointing to a red button. “It will flash.” He framed the shot, pressed the button. Nothing happened. He tried again. Same result. Nothing.

Sam heard people muttering behind him. The woman rushed at Sam. “Hold the shutter release down after you focus.” Sam looked at the camera. The woman shrieked. “Hold it down!”

The TV chef stood, a snarl wiping away the smile that had been on her face. “Come on, keep it moving. People are waiting.”

The woman posed again with the chef. Both plastered on a smile. This time Sam held the shutter release down, the camera flashed. The woman grabbed the camera and dashed off without a thank you.

Railene yanked Sam’s copy of the book from his hand, signed it while she was still standing, and handed it to him without even looking at him. She sat, looked to the next person in line, a huge smile on her face. “Next.”


What I’m Reading

A recent post on Twitter got me thinking. It asked, who is the most famous person you have spoken to?

Encounters with Celebrity

This week I’m writing about a book I thought I owned. Theodore White’s The Making of the President 1960. The book was my introduction to the world of election politics.

For several years I have been telling my daughter I have a signed copy of the book, which I got while working in Wall Street sometime prior to our moving to LA in 1987.

Credit: Guada Longo

My memory is strong, clear. On my lunch hour I waited on line at a bookstore on lower Broadway (maybe Doubleday?) to buy a signed copy. The bookstore handed out free box lunches while we waited. A tiny bottle of Perrier, an apple, a piece of cheese. Even a bottle opener for the Perrier. Theodore White signed my copy and I moved on, took it home, treasured it. 

I promised my daughter the book was hers when I found it. It had been packed away with most of my books in a box in the garage for years. And I had Googled the book, and learned a signed copy might be worth several hundred dollars.

Well…last week I unearthed yet another box of stored books. I found White’s book. But it wasn’t The Making of the President 1960. Nope, it was one of his later books, In Search of History, published in 1978. And sure enough, it was a signed copy. So, for years I had been telling myself I had a signed copy of White’s book! And I did…just not the one I thought it was. So much for memory.

If I had thought clearly, I would have realized his first book would have been published shortly after the election of 1960. Not in the 1970s when I bought the other book. So much for logic as well!

I can still say, though: I met Theodore White and had him sign my book.


May I mention another celebrity encounter? I spent three summers working on Wall Street at the end of high school and the beginning of college. My cousin got me a  job with the law firm Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood at 40 Wall. Yes, a mouthful. I loved the job. For two of those summers I was a runner. I’d take documents and stocks from place to place around Manhattan. I got bonded for the job.

One morning I was walking along a corridor at the firm, resplendent in my tan runner’s jacket, when I passed Gov. Dewey in the hall. Yes, Gov. Thomas E. Dewey. The man who won and lost the 1948 presidential election in the press overnight. One paper, the Chicago Daily Tribune, had, in a banner headline, called it erroneously for Dewey. Truman won.

Harry S. Truman. Credit: Detroit Free Press

Anyway, the governor said, “Good morning, son” and I replied, “Hello, governor.” 

That was it. My first encounter with fame and celebrity.


My books are available on Amazon.