When I lived in Huntington Beach it wasn’t uncommon to bump into celebrities on a regular basis. Mark Harmon at the swap meet, Dennis Rodman on Main Street, Reggie Jackson at Starbucks, Korn on the pier, Johnnie Cochran at LAX, Mark McGwire at Albertson’s, and the list goes on. It was weird to see folks from TV randomly living as regular people. Sure, most of them were B+ celebs at best but it was still fun to return home with details of a sighting. More of a novelty than anything else. Sort of the same in Sacramento, except they were mostly sports personalities. Kevin Johnson, members of the Kings and Monarchs, some MMA muscle. Only once was I ever starstruck by a movie actor. Back in 1991, I deplaned a red-eye flight from Kennedy and saw John Candy in the terminal. I simply had to meet him. He was as looming in person as he’d been in the movies – and Uncle Buck treated me as if we were old pals.
I live in Carrboro, NC now, a blink-and-miss-it sort of hidden, progressive gem in the middle of a politically disturbed (and dark red) state. Carrboro borders the more conservative Chapel Hill which seems to regularly attract the next crop of various sports professional athletes – but the reality is I never see them around. But whatever though. These days I am far more fascinated by the regular locals (eccentric artists, local fixtures, people with cool hats) than I am by an anomaly superstar or A-lister passing through. In fact, I’d much rather read a newspaper headline titled, “Handsome Actor Eats Cheeseburger,” than meet this head-turner in person. This title, taken from February 6th’s issue of “The Weekly: Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s Neighborhood Newspaper,” speaks volumes about our cozy little bubble here, and leaves the truth of the fanfare somewhere between the tongue and cheek.
I personally doubt that Rob Lowe ate a cheeseburger AND a hot dog AND a shake. That seems a little over-the-top. I also wonder if the proprietor of Sutton’s Drug Store saved Rob’s napkin for framing. Maybe had him autograph it? Damn, I hope so. This shit doesn’t happen everyday around here.