Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Gentle Genius

"If you're not gonna tell the truth, then why start talking?"

Back in 1975-1976-ish, I worked in a bookstore in Westwood Village. It was my dream job... except for the part where I had to stand for hours till my tootsies screamed in agony. But other than that, I was the happiest SJG (College Edition). Books over here. Books over there. What more could a girl want? World peace? Of course. But there's no room for that in today's blog. In the aforementioned book store, every now and then, a celebrity would waltz in and the SJG would get plenty excited, in a discreet, oh-my-eff-look-who-just-came-in sort of way. I was only 18. You didn't expect me to act cool, did you? 

In those glorious low-tech days, the famous ones could just show up in a book store and browse without getting stalked. For them, I'm sure it was nice. Some marched in like they owned the place. One time, Dustin Hoffman stormed through with a dog and two kids, slammed down a stack of art books, never made eye contact and broke my heart. Broke it! In two! Would it have killed you to smile, Dustin? Apparently. Other celebrities were menschier. Gene Wilder comes to mind. Shy and unassuming. Sweet and kind. So polite as he handed me seven or eight philosophy books to ring up. I wanted to say, "Nietzsche, Gene? Not Groucho?" I didn't. I wanted to say, "No, it's pronounced Fronken-steen." I didn't. I wanted to say, "Will you marry me?" I didn't. Future hubby wouldn't have liked that. If I'm being honest, which is a genetic condition -- just ask anyone who knows me -- meeting Gene Wilder, and yes, I consider it a meet-and-greet, was a high point for me,  a celeb encounter I'll always treasure. Wherever he is now, I sure hope he's with Peter Boyle, puttin' on the Ritz. 


  1. I hope he is with Gilda too. Him, Peter and her doing what they do, so well. Bringing smiles. Yours was a sweet story, indeed.

    1. Thanks TT, always nice to hear from you. xo