Afunny thing happened to me in Wal-Mart last week. I was standing behind a woman at the check-out when I realized I had forgotten to get a new bag of Werther’s Original hard candy. Yes, I know that is the same brand that your great-grandmother likes. I would stop to explain how I got hooked on such a senior-citizen staple, but I am in the middle of a story.
So I went to get the candy, and when I came back, the woman in front of me was gone. The cashier couldn’t wait to tell me something as she started scanning my groceries: “You won’t believe what that woman just said.” And then she proceeded to share the entire conversation that had occurred while I was in the candy aisle. It went like this:
Woman: Hey! Did you see that movie star that was behind me?
Cashier: What movie star?
Woman: Shoot! I can’t remember his name.
Cashier: Well, what movies is he in?
Woman: Man! I can’t think of any of ‘em. But I’m sure that was him. What do you think he’s doing at Wal-Mart?
Cashier: I have no idea.
Woman (shaking her head and looking somber as she turns to leave): Well, you know, sometimes they do fall on hard times.
I told the cashier that it was a good thing the woman didn’t see me buying Lean Cuisine dinners with a coupon, since that would have settled it for her. We had a good laugh about it, but just in case, the cashier asked if she could take a picture with me. Then I went home to spend the next seven days trying to figure out who that woman thought I was.
This has happened before. A few years ago, one little girl at Wendy’s was convinced I was Elmo’s goofy sidekick Mr. Noodle. Sometime after that I was participating in chapel, and an anonymous tweeter remarked—so I was told later—that I looked like Howard Sprague, the middle-aged milquetoast from “The Andy Griffith Show.” I am hoping this woman in Wal-Mart did not mistake me for another celebrity dork.
On top of everything else, last week I was also diagnosed with a case of the shingles. Yes, I know that your great-grandmother had that once. And if you don’t quit interrupting my stories, I am going to pack up my heating pad and move to Florida. Anyway, when my left arm started hurting, I at first thought I had strained a muscle from my crushing new exercise regimen of 10 push-ups a day. Then when a rash developed, I assumed I must be allergic to exercise altogether. So I was hoping the doctor would write a note excusing me from push-ups for life.
No such luck. Instead, he gave me some medicine and said that I would not be contagious as long as I kept my shirt on in public. I tried to explain that this could put a crimp in my movie career, but he refused to budge. So I reluctantly agreed, and after signing a few autographs for the nurses, I went home.
I never did figure out what celebrity that woman thought she saw. But if something ever happens to Matt Damon, I’ll be happy to step in so that the “Bourne Identity” film series will live on. As long as Jason Bourne stays out of Wal-Mart, the switch will probably go unnoticed.