Are You Somebody?

 

Are You Somebody?
by Tara Ison
(essay from The Los Angeles Review, Number 2, 2005)

Are You Somebody?

I’m nobody, who are you?
Are you nobody too?
There’s a pair of us, don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog,
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

— Emily Dickinson

I am seeing a relatively famous person. He is an actor. You might know his name, or you might not. You probably know his face. You’ve known it for perhaps ten years, twenty, even thirty. He’s that Actor You’ve Always Liked, that Guy Who Is Really Good, the One Who Is In Everything. He is not a movie star or celebrity. He is not a reality show Idol or Bachelor. He is not famous for being famous; Warhol’s stopwatch just keeps on ticking. He’s been nominated for major awards; he’s won a few. He has a Hirschfeld of himself on his living room wall. He’s just an actor, a working and ubiquitous actor with an impressive range, an actor’s actor, one who comes from theatre and paid his dues and earned respect, one who is always singled out in reviews for praise, one I’ve always liked, one who’s in everything, one I’ve always thought was really good.

His is an awkward level of fame. A mid-level, ambiguous, tenuous degree of famousness, dependent on whether or not you’ve seen his recurring guest spot on a hit network legal drama, the late-night cable showing of the cult film he burst on the scene with thirty years ago, the recent movie by an obscure German director that played at your local art house for two weeks and won him obscure critical acclaim, the repeat of the sci-fi blockbuster from two summers ago on TNT, in which he was fourth-billed. He’s familiar as a longtime close friend whom you’d spot instantly in a crowd but whose face you’ve stopped studying or even really noticing, until there’s a shift, suddenly, and that familiar face is shown in a new role or new light and you realize your friend has aged a bit, or looks entirely different with that hair cut, or is revealing by that unfamiliar expression an aspect of character you’ve never before seen, and you’re startled by the wave of affection and closeness and comfort you feel on seeing him all over again, anew.

They’re everywhere, these relatively famous people. This is Los Angeles. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them here. Just going about their lives. They all have kids, and mortgages, anxiety over where the next job is coming from, a Suburu that needs the oil changed. The dry cleaning needs to be picked up, and the prescription for a child’s asthma. The dog has to get to the vet for shots or getting fixed. The living room couch is fifteen years old, and looks it. They need to read that script before bed, they need to throw in a load of laundry before they take off for a day shoot in Lancaster, then remember to swing by the grocery store on the way home for milk. There’s no ranch in Montana to escape to. There’s no small Southern town purchased for a homey pied a terre. They don’t have assistants. There’s no entourage. There’s part-time child help, maybe, always tricky to manage with a schedule and income so erratic, with a two-week job in Vancouver coming up, retakes that, damn, are going to go past midnight, the reading of a friend’s play they suddenly need to do that night at some producer’s home in Brentwood, which, you never know, might lead to a featured role in the guy’s next film. Sometimes I call for pizza to be delivered to the actor’s house, and half the time when I give them his credit card info, his name, I hear the pizza guy on the phone say Oh, a little extra pop of energy and recognition, if it’s a pizza guy who is also a wanna-be actor or director or screenwriter, or a cinephile who is up on the names of actors like him and might get off the phone and say to his buddy, Hey, guess who just ordered a pizza?

It was a fix-up. His child goes to the same private school as the child of a dear friend of mine. Of course. This is Los Angeles. She’d seen him picking up his kid, she’d recognized him instantly, she’d heard he and his wife had split up, she’d mentioned it to me as a joke: Wouldn’t it be funny if I fixed you guys up and you went out?

Oh, right, I’d said. Sure, you do that.

I’ve always liked him, she said.

Yeah, I’ve always liked him, too, I said.

I’ve always liked him. What an insipid comment, the kind many of us make all the time. I’ve always liked that woman in the American Express commercials. I’ve always liked that actress who plays the attorney in that crime series. I’ve always liked that actor who always plays the nutty best friend of the leading man in all those romantic comedies, the one who’s a little shlubby but always seems so funny, like such he’s a real sweetheart in real life, I bet he is, he has to be. What does it mean, we like these people? That we like that engaging character she played in that one movie? We like that charismatic, evil gleam in his eye from that great role as a villain? We like the clothes he wears in that series, we like the funky way she does her hair in that secondary role? We like the clever quips put in their mouths by the writers, we like the sensitivity and grace the director pulled out of them, we like how they remind of us of a former love, we like the way they kiss, stroke a child’s face, leap into the convertible, sip a martini, make us laugh, make us shiver, gaze at us, share with us, open up to us, let us in…let us in to what? To the heart and soul of a character, a fictional person. We can’t possibly like them, the real them. We don’t know them. They’re acting.

I live in Los Angeles, so I live by the same rule all my single girlfriends do: Don’t date an actor. We respect the stereotype. Actors are self-involved, self-obsessed. Actors are superficial. Actors are fucked-up. Actors are trouble. An actor is a guy, Marlon Brando once said, who if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening. Ask an actor a question, he’ll tell you his credits, as Neil Simon says. “Even Laurence Olivier is probably vain and self-centered,” Mia Farrow says in Rosemary’s Baby, complaining about her actor-husband, who, as we soon learn, is not only vain and self-centered, but, in a career-advancing move, is actually in league with Satan himself.

At least he’s not a wanna-be, my friend and I smugly reassure each other. He isn’t a waiter-actor, or a personal-trainer-actor, or a realtor-actor. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of those here. And how many single, attractive, successful, straight men are out there? as my single girlfriends and I self-pityingly bemoan to each other. At least I know he possesses those qualities; and it would hardly be a blind date, would it, I’ve already been seeing him, after all, for years. And she actually does it, my dear yenta friend, she accosts him in the schoolyard to tell him about her darling friend, and the next day he and I swap e-mails and phone calls, and that night over the linguini and mescalin I discover that he’s, yes, okay, a little self-obsessed, but he’s also funny and literate and sweet and political and smart. These seem to be actual other qualities he possesses. Although, after all, I already knew he was sensitive, too, or has to be – I remember that scene where he nurses his dying mother, so tenderly. Loving and gentle, the way he wept. I knew he was complex – remember that movie where he was the confused young guy nobody understood because he’d turned inward from all the childhood trauma, because he hid his pain so well? I knew he was strong, a man of principal – there was that time he was the US Congressman unjustly accused of a crime, he had to take on the system at enormous personal peril and cost. A lot of integrity, there, a man to admire and trust. And by now, too late, I’m in fantasy land; every character I’ve ever seen him play will make a featured appearance in my head. I’m dating his impressive range of roles; just look at all that depth. He’s the special guest star in my life. Every part he’s ever had is like a plastic transparency I can layer on, and for months to come I will make the mistake of slapping shiny and illusory and fictional attributes onto this one real person, obscuring him, blurring whoever he really is. As Rita Hayworth lamented, men always went to bed with Gilda, but they woke up, disappointed, with just ordinary her.

This is Los Angeles. We’re cool, here. I grew up here, and I don’t know another LA native who didn’t, in high school English class, sit next to a some-day cast member from that sitcom on NBC, who didn’t flip burgers next to a now-hot action star, who didn’t go out a couple of times with the guy on that cable show that earns raves but no one watches, who hasn’t worked out next to the girl who played the leading guy’s girlfriend for two seasons on an Aaron Spelling show, who hasn’t maneuvered their cart around America’s latest Sweetheart actress buying a log of goat cheese. We grew up with movie stars, we see them all the time. We’re comfortable on the periphery of orbits. And despite movie stars’ complaints of the difficulties of a famous face, of privacy constantly invaded, of a relentlessly public and spotlighted life – How dreary, to be somebody! – we don’t really bother Tom Cruise when he’s out to dinner, do we? We’re not going to annoy Denzel Washington when he’s out getting ice cream with his kids. We might elbow the friends we’re with to point him out, or we’ll call a friend when we get home: Hey, guess who I spotted reading Popular Mechanics at Borders? but we just as often might forget. I’ve never seen a very famous person in person mobbed for autographs. That level of stardom forms a protective barrier, the illusion of boundary. We leave the public frogs alone. We understand the paradoxical combination of proximity to and distance from them; we respect the invisible fence that guards them as separate and elusive entities we nevertheless live with side-by-side. We might spot the famous face, the one instantly placeable at a glance and think Hey, that’s Dustin Hoffman! But then we just look away. We look away quickly, from that blinding solar eclipse of celebrity, from the brilliant megawatts of shiny big star.

But the mid-level of fame doesn’t always work that way. It’s porous, a flimsier and more translucent shield. Mid-level folks are the approachable ones. And the confusing ones. When the actor and I are out to dinner, at a movie, walking down the street, the spotting of him by other people is more complicated than Recognition and Look away. It’s a tangible process. It’s a long, evolving, mildly intrusive, look-you-straight-in-the-face kind of peering: I know that guy from somewhere, I can see people are thinking, figuring. Or, Hey, I think that’s that guy from that movie. Maybe it’s: Did I go to high school with that guy? They’re trying to place the face. Sometimes people come right and ask who he is – then offer compliments about his latest movie or most famous role, tell him he really should have been the one to win that big award. He smiles, says Hey, thank you. Or sometimes the waitress or ticket seller simply says, puzzling: Wow, you look so familiar. And to that he always nods, shrugs, says: Yeah, I come here a lot.

Sometimes the recognition is more actual, and immediate. I know they recognize him, at a glance, they probably even know his name. They could list his credits, their favorite films of his. They give him a little smile, they peer right through the fence. It’s intimate. It acknowledges a relationship. Women, especially, tend to get girlish and flirty around him. They’ll offer up their place in line, ask three times if we’re sure we don’t want dessert, hover. And they look at me, with the little smile – there isn’t anything to recognize about me, other than the fact that I, clearly, have a relationship with him, too. Sometimes people will wait until he goes to the bathroom or to get the car, and then ask me their questions about him, whisper their compliments or favorite movies to me. Which bonds us, means we have something in common, we’re in on the secret together, we all know who he is, we all have a relationship with him, don’t we?

No. Not really. At least, I don’t. This isn’t quite a relationship he and I have, not really. We have only six topics of conversation, four of which revolve entirely around him, and we tend to go through them at a pretty fast clip. He has endless stories about working with struggling young actors that went on to become bigger stars, and stories about other actors whose level he shares or sometimes has been above or sometimes below, great anecdotes involving famous directors and playwrights and producers, amazing tales about filming on exotic location with wild animals, meeting world leaders and royalty at international arts festivals, the extreme physical dangers of that one shoot in the desert where everyone almost died. But I wonder about the pervasive litany and ongoing performance of these stories – is he trying to impress me? Show me that’s he’s really somebody? I don’t think that’s it – it’s just, well, what else does he know, really? It’s his job, he’s been doing this his whole life. It’s his frame of reference. People talk about their work. A plumber would talk about gaskets. A surgeon might talk about replacement heart valves. A writer could blather on about metaphor. I decide to cut him slack. I decide he’s a novelty, that this is fun.

And we do have fun; he’s entertaining, the sex is good, we like the same movies, the same politics, the same food, the same series on HBO. Every time I see him I’m startled by how he looks both exactly like and yet nothing like the face I’ve seen for years and years; he’s always new to me, and always eerily familiar. There’s certainly nothing glamorous or glittery going on, no premieres or awards shows or obscenely expensive gift baskets full of celebrity perks. There’s no rarified bubble of air to breathe. We go out to movies or dinner, or order pizza in and watch TV. His life is familiarly conflict-laden: a messy divorce, unresolved custody issues, unstable worklife – the most ordinary of contemporary problematical lives. He is an ordinary guy, I find, as I strip away those plastic and falsely-attributed characteristics and start seeing the more actual, ordinary him. I’m not disappointed with ordinary him. I tell myself I’m not. We just hang out, normally, ordinarily. Except – often, when we channel surf, that oh-so-ordinary act, and we invariably stumble into a scene of him in something. Odd, to lie in bed with someone whose most ordinary life, conflicts, smells, sounds, tastes, I’m just getting used to, and watch him existing as someone else on a TV screen five feet away, to have all those unreal, fictional him’s just hanging out with us. I always ask him to change the channel – Why would I want to watch a fake version of you when I have the real you right here? I tease.

But even without multiple versions of him around, there isn’t a lot of room for me, here, very little space for my own complicated life and unresolved issues. I realize I’m behaving like a different version of myself; I’m being unusually compacted and ergodynamic in this relationship, and I’m ill-at-ease with the easy-going, oh-so-flexible, supporting role I find myself playing. That I am mortified and bewildered to find myself trying to play. He loves my company, he tells me, often, my humor, my intellect, my way with sex, but the truth is, he isn’t all that interested in me. My job, my friends, my family, what I do when we aren’t together. He’s never bothered to gather my most basic facts, and I rarely bother to bring them up. I give in to performing the part of a woman so aerodynamic, so easy and smooth. And so, I feel relatively anonymous to him. Not really seen. Perhaps he really does just want an audience. Perhaps I’m just a kind of perk. Perhaps I could be anybody. As time goes on, I often get bored or annoyed with him during a story, and I tell him to Stop performing. He does, instantly, and apologizes. When a rare topic of wholly neutral conversation gets turned back, as it usually does, to him, I point out We are not talking about you right now; he gets it, instantly, laughs at himself and apologizes. He apologizes, a lot, for not knowing how to behave with me – I’m not sure if this is because he was so long married and can’t reconfigure patterns with someone new, or because all the ex-girlfriends he references, the ex-wife, are all relatively famous actresses, and I am not, and that was a language they could share. And this endearing, confessional line of his, said with a confused and rueful face, always wins me over, makes me feel tender toward him, and special and wise. But then I wonder, can’t help it, if this is simply a line from some movie, a part he’s playing, if this is just more skillful performance. He’s very talented, after all. He apologizes, often, for being so egocentric and moody, for being a stereotypical actor, a basketcase, barely functional, for being so fucked-up. Hey, I’m fucked up too, I sometimes try to claim, assert, but he isn’t very interested in my fucked-up-ness, either, and there still isn’t much room here for my own egocentricity, my own complications. I don’t like being rendered so unlayered. I’m not that tidy and streamlined a person. I update my fix-up friend, I tell her it’s pretty clear I’m somebody he just likes having around for the ease and companionship and sex.

Okay, she says, but how is that different from why you like having him around? Isn’t that mostly why anybody is with anybody? Just have fun.

But I’m no good at just having fun. I’m growing increasingly insecure and tense, feeling too limited and full of chafe. This just doesn’t work, and the reasons are multiplying. I tell myself I’m not entirely sure why I’m hanging in there. But that isn’t entirely true. I have my suspicions.

Kissinger said power is an aphrodisiac, but Graham Greene said the most powerful aphrodisiac is fame, and I suspect Greene was right; true power can be wholly unseen, behind the scenes, under the radar – the boys in the back room don’t sit in the limelight. But fame closes the deal, proffers oysters and champagne, adds violins to the soundtrack. And more dazzling than the fame of achievement, of extraordinary accomplishments by people whose faces we never really see or know, is the sparkling fame of the face. Sheer visibility – mere recognizability – is itself a tangible force. That kind of fame isn’t a faint, dust-speckled ray of light; it’s a spangled, high intensity laser. Let us now praise famous men, the Bible exhorts us, but I don’t remember if it tells us what to praise them for – is it so clear that fame itself and alone denotes value? Substance? Achievement? And is the glow of fame, even a mid-level degree of famousness, so golden, so warming, so alluring, you can’t help but want to bask and purr in the radiance of that seductive beam? Even if it’s only reflected?

No, I don’t want to believe that about myself. It’s distasteful. It’s what is so mortifying. None of the women I know were raised to bask in the reflected gleam of our mates; we’re supposed to shine all on our own. And this is Los Angeles; the damn starshine is everywhere, and I’m too cool to be a sunstruck fan. But How’s the movie star? my relatives ask, delighted with me, and I feel that I have, in fact, achieved something, that some liquid glow has spilled on me. Friends of mine like to refer to him by the names of his more-famous characters or other well-known but highly inappropriate actors; we laugh conspiratorially, we joke about what glittery thing I will wear to the Oscars, and I feel I have a secret access to all the glow. No, tell me it isn’t because of his mid-level, ambiguous, tenuous fame. Tell me is it isn’t the Hirschfeld on the wall. Tell me I am not a mere admiring bog. Tell me it isn’t because when someone asks if I’m seeing anyone and I say Yes, sort of, and they ask what he does for a living and I say Well, he’s an actor, and they roll their eyes, because they live in Los Angeles, too, and we’re all cynical and cool, but then they ask if they’ve seen him in anything, and I mention a few of his credits, just as if I were an actor, too, just like Neil Simon says, and there’s the moment of recognition, that pop, where they say Oh, really? Oh, he’s good, I’ve always liked him, and then they list even more of his credits for me, and I feel just, for the moment, a little substantial, placeable, acknowledged. The stray hairs and miscellaneous fibers of his fame, hence his achievement, hence his value, have transferred themselves onto me, and now I am identifiable and valuable, too. The electrical current of him runs through me, and now I can generate some glow. I am a radiant being. I am sequin’d, visible. I am not a nobody. Tell me it isn’t because of that.

I point out to him that he basically knows nothing about me.

But I’ve read your work, he says, shrugging.

Well, I’ve seen a lot of your movies, so does that mean I know you? I ask.

It’s not the same at all, he says. I’m just playing a role. That isn’t me. But your writing gives a lot of insight into you. I think I actually know a lot about you.

This is the one thing about me that seems to engage him, to captivate, intrigue: I’m a writer. It is the one of our six topics of conversation that has anything to do with me. He loves to talk about my writing. He asks to read things I’ve written, and he reads it all, discusses everything with me in lucid, insightful detail, then asks for more. He likes me to read my stuff aloud to him; we spend hours in bed, naked and before or after sex, while I read aloud. This renders me giddy; there is nothing I would rather be wanted for. He asks, often, if I am going to write about him. You’ll have to give me something interesting to write about, first, I tease. He always seems disappointed. He tells me his life is an open book, I can write anything about him I want. Really, go on. He has no secrets. He tells me about the famous English actress he lived with for three years a long long time ago, and how she wrote many revealing things about him in her autobiography, some of them not so nice. He seems very pleased by this. He tells me about other mentions of him in other famous people’s autobiographies. His divorce was announced in People. This is an odd topic for him, a bit shocking to hear; he never discusses fame, and it’s a topic I don’t touch. And I suddenly wonder if this explains, even in part, why he is interested in me . Maybe he’s using me for this; maybe this is why he is hanging around – because he thinks I will one day write about him, and that my writing about him could possibly be a conduit to more fame? Maybe this is the real perk I bring to the table. Maybe he’s looking for a little glow. And then I feel wildly flattered, that he could possibly think I’ll ever be a famous enough writer that my writing about him could ever possibly bring him more fame. And how ridiculous, how laughably egotistical I am, to think that he would ever think that.

The first night we met he made reference, at some point, to some short story I’d written, or some job I’d once had, I don’t remember which, and I was startled out of the hyperanimated 1st-date flow of conversation; it wasn’t something I had mentioned, it surely wasn’t something my friend would have told him. Then, I realized: Did you Google me? I asked. He chuckled, a bit sheepish, conceding. He’d read up on me, yeah. And I was delighted, thrilled – that there was something about me to Google, stuff out there to read up on, that I have some small visible presence in the world beyond my family and friends and colleagues. That I had a kind of a level of fame, too, the virtual equivalent of fifteen minutes. I was acknowledged, seen. My name, my writing, a few sentences on a few websites, and I felt it even’d us out just a bit, made for a balance. That I was somebody, too.

But I have no idea how it feels to be famous. I wrote a screenplay once that turned into a movie that millions and millions of people saw. I wrote a novel that thousands and thousands of people read. Those are my small claims to fame. But writers don’t get famous; the words do, if we’re lucky, they dance out on stage and let us hide behind the scrim of paper and ink. The best fame is a writer’s fame, Fran Leibowitz once wrote; it’s enough to get a good table in a restaurant but not enough that you get interrupted when you eat. Some writers do become famous in themselves, of course, if there’s a Capote-like cult of persona, or a legendary Stephen King prolific-ness and sales figures, a fabulous accompanying life story or a dazzling and somewhat unliterary physical glamour or charm. Still, quick: try to call up the face of authors on the current New York Times bestseller list. Barnes & Noble puts up those posters with pen-and-ink drawings of famous dead and living writers on them, and often I have no idea who they are. Most writers, the working writers, the midlist, mid-level, midnight writers, can pick up the dry cleaning or the post-op puppy from the vet’s without comment, remain faceless, unfamous, wholly unplaceable. Any fame, if we seek it, luck into it, wind up on Oprah or Charlie Rose or have the book optioned and Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture Playing Near You, is in service to the words, to the book. Fame, for us, means one more copy sold. Means maybe another print run. Fame can stave off the slow death of being backlisted, the looming threat of going out-of-print. Leave my face off the jacket cover, please, that’s fine – but I’ll walk down the street naked if it’ll sell a copy of my book. Writers fantasize about dying young and in some wildly noticeable way, just so the poor overlooked novel might actually benefit from some publicity hype. My one other small claim to fame is a data input error; there is apparently an entertainment website that erroneously lists me as having guest-starred once on a episode of Starsky and Hutch. I didn’t. But a couple of times a year, someone asks me about this out of the blue. They tend to get very excited about it. I’m tempted to stop explaining that it’s an error, if only for the kitsch value. And the thought, perhaps, that if they think I guest-starred on an episode of Starsky and Hutch they’d get more excited about reading my novel. I wish the video of my movie, the rental of which still earns me a few hundred bucks a year, could contain a trailer to hype my out-of-print book, and directions for tracking a used and discount copy down. The days of royalties from the book are long gone, of course, but I still cling to the hope of its one day achieving a serious kind of fame. I want my book to be Somebody, a famous face, accosted in restaurants, a glamorous red carpet celebrity, in the spotlight, the rarified air, a movie star. I could happily bask and purr forever in that reflected glow.

He tells me the story, recently, of being on location in Dallas, of eating his late-night dinner with crew members at a local Mexican dive, when a woman approached him, staggering a bit from the salsa-thick humidity and beer. She jerked a thumb over her shoulder at another woman, a Texas sister-woman at the bar, squinting at him through smoke.

“Mah girlfriend over there says yer sumbuddy. Ur ewe sumbuddy?”

He tells me this story with overblown redneck accent, his face suddenly blowsy and taquito-and-sour-cream-fed. I don’t tell him to stop performing, this time. Again, it’s a story about fame, something he so rarely brings up. I wonder how I’m supposed to respond to this story. Should I be laughing with him at the woman, who is clearly a sad, out-of-it case? But the story acknowledges his awkward level of fame, which complicates. Should I be laughing with him, at his own discomfiting place in the world? Should I reassure him that, yes, of course, he’s somebody? Is he worried he’s a nobody? Maybe we’re just a pair of nobodies. Scared of banishment. And maybe that would have balanced us out, been something to share. Maybe that would have been a good conversation for us to have.

It isn’t that easy to stop seeing a relatively famous person. The night I decide, finally, to tell him I don’t think we should see each other anymore, that he’s a great guy and it’s been fun but we both know it’s run its course and can never really go anywhere, I am sitting on my couch, eating a bowl of soup and watching TV. I know he’s home, and I’m waiting for the hour I know he puts his child to bed. He’ll fill the dishwasher, then, maybe check his e-mail or pick up toys. I’m flipping channels, as I mentally prepare my lines. And there, as it invariably happens, he’s in my living room, on a screen five feet away, some version of him that looks both exactly like and nothing like the actual person I’ve been hanging out with for six months. I don’t have the real one with me, I never will again, not sure I ever did, so I give this alternative version a minute or two. I study the face a moment; he’s still familiar; he’s still elusive. I feel, as I always have, both intimate and distant, both connected and peering through a chainlink fence.

On the phone he sounds surprised, disappointed; I can picture his face of confusion and rue. But he doesn’t put up much of a fight. We’re mutually regretful. We will miss each other. It’s an elegant breakup. I apologize for doing this on the phone; I remind him of a story he told me once, of his being a young actor at a cast party and hating to say goodbye to the people he’d developed a close, if transitional relationship with, how the aging character actor he so admired advised him to simply tell everyone he was going to the bathroom, then just disappear. We laugh. It’s one of our better conversations. But we acknowledge that each of us is not the right somebody the other is looking for. When we hang up my heart is unpierced, I’m not bleeding on the floor. But I feel dimmed. Flickered out. I feel a little bit banished.

This is Los Angeles; he lives a few blocks away from me, and I might well spot him at a stopsign, run into him at the natural foods place down the street. But his kind of fame will be the real complication in letting go; it will be every time I go to a movie, every time I turn on the TV. It will be the channel-surfing. He’ll be slightly everywhere, lurking, waiting for his cue to come out on stage. I’m sure, when he marries again, when he is with somebody, that it’ll be blurbed in People. I’ll leaf upon it while I’m waiting at the dentist’s, or riding my exercise bicycle, just going about my life, and I’ll feel a small and intimate shock. If there’s a photo, I’ll study the face, and feel a moment of glow. I’ll call a friend, and say: Hey, guess who I just saw?