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Celebrity Slut
By Scott Keneally

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, I lucked into a freelance writing job that put me within putting distance of rock stars. I collaborated with a music video director, brainstorming for storylines and visuals to go with songs. If the bands liked my two or three page treatment and our vision for the song, they hired my director to shoot the video. While my name never appeared onscreen even if the video was entirely my concept, I enjoyed the fringe benefits of the job. I was allowed to loiter on set and mingle with the artists. And as a creative partner in the video, I had a legitimate excuse to talk to some major stars like Jessica Simpson and Madonna. However, I craved more than behind-the-scenes recognition.

Finally, with the publication of my bedwetting story in JANE Magazine, I snagged a small sum of fame. My picture and saga appeared in three-quarters of a million magazines with Angelina Jolie on the cover. I imagined that if I ever bumped into her, I could easily strike up a conversation about that issue. And just in case she had missed my piece, I always had a copy handy.

While the magazine was still on newsstands, I hoped it could double as a temporary membership pass into the inner celebrity circle. My first chance to test this theory came when I saw Elijah Wood waiting for my Jet Blue flight to New York. "Hey, I really love your work," I said, fumbling for some connector into my work. "Say, did you ever see this magazine?"

"Yeah, I read it all the time," he said.

Opening to my article, I said, "Here's a story I published this month. Maybe you can kill
some time on the plane."

He looked at the page, up to me, and back down to the page. "It's you," he said, flashing his gap toothed smile. "I already read this and it was brilliant."

What were the odds? Feigning modesty, I looked away to make sure everybody was watching.

He even asked me to sign the magazine for him. Frodo wanted my autograph. I felt a Magic Fingers tingling sensation race through the length of my body. I imagined that feeling was the norm among the Hollywood elite.

On the photo of a wet bed that dwarfed my thumbnail picture, I wrote, "Aren't you glad you never slept here?" with an arrow pointing to the soaked sheets.

I handed him another copy to sign for me. "By the way, will you jot down an email address or some way to get in touch?" I asked, clearly pushing my luck.


Greedily, I suggested, "Next time you're in town maybe we can hang out. I have a great spot in Venice." I was thinking about the snowballing social effects that drawing a star like Elijah Wood to a party might have.

When he asked what other kinds of stories I wrote, I happily segued into my freelance writing career. Since he was a fan of music videos our conversation cascaded freely. When our flight boarded an hour later, I said I'd email him sometime. I waited a few days and dropped him a note:

Subject: Greetings from a Bedwetter!
Hey Elijah,
It was cool bumping into you. If you get a chance, check out the new A Perfect Circle video I wrote. I'll catch you later,

Apparently, I would catch him much later, as I am still waiting for his response. I wasn't bummed out though, as I knew there would be other encounters and opportunities to befriend the rich and famous.

One afternoon while shopping at Wild Oats, a familiar looking, tall, lanky man sporting a Yankees cap walked by me. After a triple take, I realized it was Kramer from Seinfeld. He was nearly incognito in the baseball cap, but it was definitely him.

I wanted to run back home and grab a copy of my magazine. Who knows what could happen from there? I weighed my fantasies against the reality that he'd only be in the store for a few minutes and decided not to leave.

As a huge fan of Seinfeld, I figured I'd have lots to talk with him about. While Kramer milled around the produce section, I remembered the episode where on principle he refused to buy fruit from a grocery store because it wasn't fresh enough. Later, he was banned from his favorite fruit stand for complaining that his mango was not ripe. Jerry was coerced into doing Kramer's fruit shopping, until he too was banned when the fruit guy realized what was going on.

And now, as Kramer shoved three mangos into a bag, I had the perfect icebreaker. So, are your mangos ripe? I thought to ask. But, that just didn't feel right. I decided to wait for another moment to chime in with something that would make his eyes pop open, his arms flail, and his body rattle in vintage Kramer fashion.

Like an experienced sleuth, I covertly followed him throughout the store, always one aisle away, peering between boxes of spaghetti or jars of mayonnaise. When he stopped in front of the soup station, I moved in. Standing next to him, I stared at the two cauldrons of soup du jour, pretending I was trying to figure out which one I wanted. Kramer's elbow was just inches from mine.

I immediately flashed back to the Seinfeld episode with the "Soup Nazi," who banned Elaine from the store for a year because of an ordering error. The Soup Nazi yelled, "No soup for you!" He did this to any of the customers that screwed up an order. Standing in front of the vats of soup with Kramer was just too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I was glad I had waited for this moment since two different one-liners in two different sections of the grocery store might have been considered stalking.

Say it Scott, just say it. No soup for you!

My nerves were frayed as Kramer kept glancing over at me. He had a curious look on his face, as if he were going to talk to me. I was half expecting Kramer to nudge me and drop the line himself.

After an awkward silence, Kramer finally spoke.

"Oh, you don't work here," he mumbled.

"Huh?" I said, grasping for the hidden meaning in his words.

"I was going to ask you what the unlabeled soup was, but you probably don't work here."

And that was it. I was too stunned to recover. My total part of the conversation amounted to, "Huh?" And as he walked away, the helium fizzled out of my ego like air through a pinched balloon. No sitcom screenwriting fame. No late-night bar crawls with Kramer. Just a painfully shy Michael Richards mistaking me for a grocery store clerk.

Still, I called Kelly collect from a payphone outside the store. Her excitement glorified the flimsy moment for me, "No way! Well, at least he talked to you!" Kelly reinvigorated my unyielding desire to tell everybody about the encounter.

One night last month, I had the opportunity to share my Kramer story. I was flipping through channels while babysitting my senile grandmother. Gram can barely remember what she's chewing at dinner, let alone have any idea who the hell Kramer is. That didn't deter me.

"Gram, did you ever see this show Seinfeld? See that guy right there with the funny hair? Kramer? Well, he just talked to me last week at the grocery store."

"Oh," she mumbled, with enough enthusiasm to muster up one more heartbeat. It was exactly the response I had expected, but it still felt great to tell my story.

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