Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mrs. Famous

By Deborah Sharp

I was butt naked on a hospital exam table when I realized being Mrs. Famous isn't all it's cracked up to be.

My epiphany occurred during a colonoscopy. Everyone of a certain age – okay, past 50 – should have the procedure. Katie Couric even had a scope inserted from the bottom up on national TV a few years ago to check the health of her colon.

Which brings me to my husband, Kerry Sanders, pictured above. He's nowhere near as well-known as the network anchors are. But as a correspondent for NBC News, he's still seen by millions, reporting from wars and disasters, infamous trials, and the occasional cushier assignment.

For Kerry, it’s his job. But unlike selling insurance or fixing teeth, the fact that his job is on TV renders even sophisticated people star struck. Trust me on this. Let’s say my husband was at a cocktail party with Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, and Shakespeare, all amazingly resurrected. Guests would bypass the genius, the saint, and the most famous playwright ever to make a beeline to the guy they’ve seen on TV.

''You covered Casey Anthony,'' one party-goer might say, ignoring Einstein riffing on relativity. ''What was up with that verdict?''

''Tell me,’’ another would gush, as Shakespeare scribbled sonnets unnoticed, ''what's Matt Lauer REALLY like?''

We've been married 22 years. I've become accustomed to watching people's eyes go glassy when I talk about what I do.

''I saw Kerry on the news,'' they’ll interrupt. ''Tell him I didn't like that yellow tie.''

I thought things might be different at the hospital, as several nurses arrived to prep me for my procedure. They all gathered 'round my gurney . . . and started quizzing my husband about TV. As usual, I was the invisible woman.

''Is Al Roker really as nice as he seems on the Today Show?’’ one nurse asked.

''I used to watch you reporting from Baghdad,’’ another said. ''Your eyes are SO blue.’’

''It’s funny, you look taller on TV,’’ the last nurse told him, my IV forgotten in her hand.

''Hey! Watch that needle,'' I yelled. ''Terrified patient here.’’

Finally, they wheeled me off to the colonoscopy room, leaving Kerry on his own to wait. As things got underway, I remember an open-backed gown, a chilly breeze, and insistent prodding from behind. The last thing I recall were these words from my doctor, as he began to scope:

''I still think about Kerry reporting from Hurricane Katrina.’’ Poke. Dig. Poke. ''How does he do those kinds of stories?'' Dig. Poke. Dig.

Just then, thankfully, the drugs kicked in. Away I floated to my happy place: A land with no TV, where someone – occasionally – will ask about me.

How about you? Do you ever feel overshadowed by a better-known or higher achieving family member? What is the weirdest place anyone’s ever chosen to ask you about them?

BTW, the colonoscopy results came back fine. When I called the insurance company later to iron out a billing problem, the woman on the phone noted Kerry’s name on the family policy. ''Hey, is that the same Kerry Sanders that’s on TV?’’

''Yes.'' Sigh. ''It is.''


Michael Kelberer said...

LOL. Hang in there and keep writing, the tables may be turned one day.

Marti Van Veen said...

I knew you first, so Kerry will always be "Mr. Deborah Sharp" to me! LOL! The great part is you are so perfect together, and you are both famous in your own arenas! You've come a long way since your days in Fort Myers!!!

Lisa Bork said...

When I was watching Kerry report on Casey Anthony's trial, I was thinking, "There's Deb's husband." And "How nice he's close to home so he can spend time with Deb."

Glad your procedure went well.

Dru said...

Does anyone call you Mrs. Kerry Sanders?

Glad you got satisfactory results from your procedure.

Victoria Allman said...

There are some things in life that should be ALL ABOUT YOU. I'm thinking a colonoscopy is one of those things!

I bet there is a great number of readers who know you as the famous one and would say Kerry who?

Victoria Allman
author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain

paula said...

Glad that your test came out okay and that "Mr. Sharp" has his own arena.

Beth Groundwater said...

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Great story, Deb. I sometimes wonder if the spouses of famous authors feel the same way you do--of course, my spouse has yet to experience any of that! ;-)

Anyway, glad your test came out well. My digestive system moves very fast, so when my hubby called the doctor's office after midnight the night before the test and said, "She's laying on the bathroom floor and can't get up because she's dizzy", they told him to have me drink 2 glasses of water even though the directions said no water after midnight. Then I had to have an IV to replace fluids when I staggered in, still dizzy, for the procedure. The doctor told me he'd never seen a colon so pristine. I'm hoping that by the time I'm due for my next one, they've come up with some other way to do the prep. Ugh!

Darrell James said...

You're the famous one around our household, Deb. But, okay, we see Kerry from time to time too.

Loved the post.

Robin Allen said...

The perils of fame have no end. Love your pun in the first sentence.

Deborah Sharp said...

Thanks for reading, and for the fun comments, y'all ...
Michael: Your mouth to God's ear!
Marti: Yep, we started going out in Ft. Myers, when Kerry would pull wrinkled clothes from his trunk and go on the air for WINK TV ...wait, he STILL pulls wrinkled clothes from his trunk . .
Lisa: Now THAT'S what I like to hear: ''Deb's husband!''
Dru: Let you in on a secret. Legally, I AM Mrs. Kerry Sanders, and proud to be, though I use the maiden name rofessionally.
Victoria: I'll let you know if I EVER hear anyone say, Kerry Who? ;-)
Paula: thanks for the kind words.
Beth: That's at the top of my Christmas list: a pristine colon!
Darrell: Since you're going to sell a million copies someday, Diana will feel my pain.
Robin: That would be the perils of (someone else's) fame, hee-hee!

Vicki Doudera said...

Deb, I'm a day late reading this but chuckling all the same. You are such a hoot!

I can't imagine being married to someone who got so much attention. Truthfully, I don't think I would handle it with your grace. Is he recognized everywhere you go? Hmmm....I suspect I would be throwing a few tantrums...

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, does Kerry have a book published? Nope. Ha! Jackie Kennedy once said, "If you produce one book, you will have done something wonderful with your life." So on my scorecard you lead 4-0.

Terri Bischoff said...

LOL... Deborah. I would love to see a post from Kerry... maybe something about being out to dinner and you getting a glassy eyed look as you evesdrop on the table next to you, gathering juicy tidbits for future stories!!

You two are perfect together. :) Tell "Mr. Sharp" I say hello!

Heather said...

This wouldn't be so funny, but just this morning my husband saw Kerry doing a Casey Anthony report, and he asked me, "Isn't that Deborah Sharp's husband?" My mother-in-law said something very similar during the Chilean mine coverage.