According to Jim

I left mortified. Why couldn’t I have said "Nice weather we’re having," like a normal person?

So I’m standing at the counter saying good-bye to my friends Mary and Primo. It is the last day of the season, and I’m making my final purchase at their general store, which won’t reopen until spring. I look at the man next to me, and it takes only a half second for me to realize that it is Jim Belushi.

I can feel my heart race, my head pound, and beads of sweat gathering like dark purple clouds before a summer storm. This is ridiculous. I don’t even know Jim Belushi. I can’t even name one movie he’s been in. But I know he is famous, and this is always enough for me.

At first I do not acknowledge him. I see that he is with a very pretty young woman. I don’t know where to put my eyes, so I stare at their groceries. They have bread, mustard, relish, and two boxes of Tampax. I don’t know why I said it, I don’t know where it came from, and I still don’t really know what I meant by it. But out of my mouth came, “Planning on doing a lot of bleeding this weekend?"

Luckily for me, he’s a generous sort and a comic as well. He quipped back something about alternative usage, but I couldn’t exactly hear because my sweat and embarrassment had messed with my neurotransmitters.

I left mortified. Why couldn’t I have said "Nice weather we’re having," like a normal person? I thought about it a good deal.

What is this fame thing about, anyway? I know a lot of it has to do with growing up when television was first born. The stars were larger than life, and I lived with the dream that Imogene Coca would die and I would be Sid Caesar’s partner, and then my life would begin. I prayed that Elaine May and Mike Nichols would discover me at a drugstore fountain and ask me to be part of their team.

No one I know goes as far as I do with remarks that beg to be rewritten. So next time I saunter up to a counter and a superstar appears, I know exactly what I’m going to do: I’m going to take a deep breath, look them straight in the eye, and say something meaningful, like "Cold enough for ya?"


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