I like to think of myself as a person with a personality so large, you can only take it in small doses. To many, I am either too abrasive, proud, honest, vulgar, and/or unsophisticated. I’ve stripper-danced on a former boss’s desk during work hours (no clothes were removed, but I earned a dollar). I’ve crashed a high-rolling, fund-raising event at the Peabody hotel (and by the time my friend and I left, everybody was dancing). I’ve had my picture taken with a mall Santa while impatient moms waited in line with their restless children. Why? Because people like good memories, and if the moment is right (and my depression is in remission), I will do my part.
However, Saturday, I was shocked to learn that I’m apparently not as memorable as I tell myself. You see, Saturday morning, I did something I loathe: I had a yard sale. I despise having yard sales because you have to wake up early, there are strangers rummaging through your stuff, and people want to haggle over the price of a used coffee mug you are selling for a quarter.
Anyway, while conversing with a prospective customer, the topic of theater made its way into our conversation.
“The last show I saw was Spamalot at Playhouse on the Square,” she said.
I told her, “Oh yeah? I was in that!”
I then waited for the recognition followed by the shower of adoration. For all I knew, she may have been thinking, ‘I’ve seem this handsome man somewhere before,’ this whole time. But instead of the gushing of praise, she smiled and said, “Oh really? What part did you play?”
Slightly taken aback by this, I allowed a brief, awkward silence to linger before saying, “Um, I was Sir Lancelot.” For good measure, I added, “I was one of the leads.”
“Oh. The one with the blonde wig!”
“Nooo…That was someone else,” I said through semi-gritted teeth. “I had the brown wig….also played the Knight of Ni, the French Taunter…you know, ‘I fart in your general direction’?”
“Ah.” Her warm smile faltered a little. I could tell she still couldn’t place me. Supposedly sensing my desperation, she redirected the subject by saying, “So will you take a dollar for the lamp?”
And later, as I packed up what remained of the day, my neighbor from across the street approached. I expected she wanted to chit-chat about the neighborhood yard sale (who sold what, how much we made, etc.). She carried a warm smile, and as she drew near, she extended her hand and said, “Hey. I’m Nancy from across the street.”
I paused, carefully considering the appropriate response. In my head, I was thinking, ‘Yeah. You introduced yourself after we moved into the neighborhood. I baked you and your family Christmas cookies last year and brought them over. I even signed your petition for speed bumps on our street.’ But instead of saying, “Don’t you know who I am,” I shook her limp hand and introduced myself back…again…for the fourth time.
This. This is why I should never, ever be famous. If I were a well-known public figure, my life would become a catastrophe. Not only would all those awful skeletons come marching out of my closet (seriously, I would become a case study in PR schools across the world), I would apparently be one of those “Don’t you know who I am” assholes, and this is just community-theater level jerk you’re reading about.
I’m sure there’s another lesson to be learned here, but fuck it. I don’t know what it is. Be humble? Be less self-centered? Sure. Let’s go with that. Until this epiphany, I’ll continue to wonder why that woman didn’t even recognize me as the UPS guy in Legally Blonde: The Musical?