I’m driving across town. My phone rings. It is my Mom. I pick up and say hello. For some reason the third question she asks me is, “Have you seen any celebrities lately?”
It’s a valid question and invalid at the same time. I live in Los Angeles where famous faces are as plentiful as recovering alcoholics. But I have a terrible eye for them. If being filmed by a television camera causes a contagious disease I will be among the first infected. Arsenio Hall will walk right by me and I will die all because I didn’t recognize his mug from afar and put on my protective surgical mask.
With that being said as I drove along Sunset Boulevard nearing the west end of the Strip I got stuck at a red light. My Mom tells me gossip of our home town as I look to my right and see a tall Asian man taking a picture of a woman and what looks like her ten year old child. But then I see the ten year old child walk in a different direction from the woman and her Asian boyfriend. I get a closer look at the ten year old child and realize he has the face of a grown man. The ten year old child is the thirtysomething actor who plays Eric on the television show Entourage.
He noticed me staring at him from my car and gave me a pissed off self conscious face. Perhaps it would have been more polite of me to give him a friendly wave as I would a neighbor or acquaintance I recognized randomly on the street. I did not talk to him, nor did I spit in his direction. In fact the entire gawking episode took place in the span of a red light. But he had the face of a man who felt cursed by his fame. But is not recognition from strangers the goal of becoming an actor? Perhaps he gets rashes on his nose after scratching it so much while people talk of him, as I did on my trek west telling my Mom of the celebrity I just saw.