Saturday, December 29, 2007

Starstruck (J's anecdote)

J provided this anecdote and I provided the illustration.

On a weekend afternoon about, ahem, 20 years ago, my then-best friend and I were sitting in a bar in Malibu (by the beach, sunny day, upstairs deck, you got the picture) having, I believe Bloody Marys and brunch. Both of us were in "the biz" at the time, in our twenties and high-gloss and full of ourselves and probably with a bit of the leftover runny nose from Saturday night,or Friday night, or Thursday night...

So, we're yukking it up, and I notice a pre-teen kid - I remember this child being a boy but could be mis-remembering - giving me the eye. He's sitting with his parents, and he keeps looking at me surreptitiously. 

I wonder what he wants, but I put it out of my mind. Until I'm startled by this child, at my elbow, holding out a ballpoint pen and a paper table napkin.

"Uh, can I have...uh, your, your ... autograph?"

The child is fidgety with delight and nerves.

I say nothing. My friend gets busy drinking, so I can't get a clue on how to behave from her. 

What to do? Who does this kid imagine I am? SHould I ask him, and bust his bubble, or play along?

"Sure!" I said, big Malibu smile.

And I signed his napkin with the scrawliest, illegible-est signature I could muster. (And my handwriting is already atrocious.)

The kid hustled back to his parents, grinning and thrilled.

And to this day, I feel terrible. I made the wrong choice. Whoever that kid was, he's now an adult who either thinks he got the autograph of (whom?) or realizes he was taken advantage of. And I lied, and let him think I was whomever he thought I was. And I will never KNOW who he thought I was.

I just hope he knows I was trying to do right, and not upset his moment.

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