Despite an almost 30-year allegiance to People Magazine and all
things Hollywood, I remain largely unimpressed with actual
in-person celebrities. Sure, I possess an uncanny knowledge of
dating history, early roles, and current gossip on every famous
person out there, but that's beside the point. I've always felt
that these folks weren't truly for me. My real pals are a bunch of
goofballs. They have changed my babies' diapers. They have dropped
off bags of kiddie hand-me-downs. And best of all, they have all
sworn solemn oaths never to speak of that time I did that really
gross thing while pregnant.
Somehow, I just can't see Brad Pitt maintaining the same level
And for the record, one of Brad's earliest roles was a guest
stint on "Growing Pains" followed by his short-lived Fox series,
"Glory Days." Like I said, my celebrity memory is practically
Over the years and through various connections, I have met
celebrities and sports heroes. Perhaps because of their fame, these
folks often put up walls. I am sure they have become somewhat
guarded in the age of paparazzi and crazy fans. Lines need to be
drawn. I try to remember that the super-famous can't invite every
fan over for dinner or tea.
But when some pals piled into my minivan to head out for a
girlfriend's birthday dinner, we weren't expecting to run into a
celebrity. And before we even ordered our second bottle of wine,
the birthday girl leaned in:
Birthday Girl: Guys, guys… (whispering) ...don't look behind
Marianne: WHAT? I CANNOT HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, MEREDITH.
Birthday Girl: (still whispering) Shhh. Now don't everybody look
Marianne: WHAT? Why are you WHISPERING?? SPEAK UP.
Birthday Girl: (Quickly, and only slightly louder) OK, don't
look, but the bad guy from "Ghost" is sitting at the table right
Naturally, five heads instantly spun around as if on a swivel to
take a gander at Tony Goldwyn. I refused to believe it was him
because "Ghost" was almost 25 years ago and the guy looked exactly
the same. We all dove for our data phones to Google him. I then
asked the waitress why he was in town. She jotted hastily on a
note, and all I could guess was written was "SEQUEL."
Birthday Girl: They're making a SEQUEL to "Ghost"?
Marianne: How do you even do that? Patrick is gone and isn't
Demi busy doing "whippets"?
Birthday Girl: What's a whippet?
Marianne: I dunno. I thought it was a dancing injury. Like
All Five Minivan Moms: (nodding their heads in confused
After another hour of discussion, it suddenly occurred to me
that the waitress had actually written "Scandal," the ABC show in
which Mr. Goldwyn stars as the President. It is my mom's favorite
program. I needed to document our uncanny identification abilities
for my mother -- she'd be thrilled! Thankfully, we had our very own
resident photographer, the talented Becky Healy, with us. Too
scared to approach Mr. Goldwyn, there was a feigned "let's take a
picture of our friend Sara" moment. Becky altered the camera
settings to capture our true target:
Another hour later, the group was emboldened by additional wine
and also encouraged by the fact that we could now address the actor
as something other than "Hey there, bad guy from 'Ghost.'"
We went in.
Mr. Goldwyn was fantastically patient, good-natured, and
hospitable to a bunch of minivan moms out for a rare night on the
town. He rated as one of the top three friendliest celebs I have
ever met, and he even wished our birthday mom a good one.
Tragically, that last round of Sambuca shots had slightly
altered our photographer's vision so that she did not quite notice
that the picture came out a little fuzzy. She had forgotten to
switch the settings back to normal from the previous "covert" shot.
Becky calls this photo, "How I see the world after a bottle of
wine and several shots of Sambuca." The poor gal is terribly upset
because she fears she "ruined" the big celebrity moment.
I, on the other hand, am eternally grateful.
Unlike Mr. Goldwyn, I have aged quite a bit over the last 25
But in this picture?
There's not a wrinkle to be found.
And next time, I refuse to be the designated driver. If I had
been doing Sambuca shots, there would have been a picture of me
holding up poor Tony like a wine carafe.
I guess you win some, you lose some.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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