Monday, November 7, 2011

Would Your Husband Sign My Book?

By Deborah Sharp

What is it about TV that turns normal folks into idiots?

I showed up to do a book-signing the other day, and I could tell people who'd come hoping to meet the guy on TV were disappointed my husband wasn't in tow.

"Oh, Kerry's not here?'' said one woman, frowning. "I thought you'd bring him.''

"Nope, it's just me. I'm only the author,'' I said.

If she hadn't gotten in for free, I'm sure she would have demanded her money back. People at signings have asked -- often -- if my husband could also autograph their books. "No problem,'' I always say. "Just so long as you remember I'm the one who wrote it.''

Look, I get it. My husband, NBC reporter Kerry Sanders, works on TV. I'm proud of the job he does, covering stories all over the globe. But the fact he appears regularly on that glowing screen in the nation's living rooms, mere channels away from true celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Flavor Flav ... well, it makes people act weird.

I realized how weird early on. Take my normally stolid, down-to-earth Lutheran minister, for example. When Kerry and I went in together 23 years ago to talk to him about performing our marriage, he didn't question us about whether differences in religions or core values might cause problems down the road. No.

"What's it like to be on TV?'' he asked, gazing starry-eyed at my husband-to-be.

"Hello,'' I said. "I'm over here. The bride?''

I only expect the star-struckiness to get worse this week. Kerry's appearing alongside the Today show's popular anchor during the network's heavily promoted feature, Where in the World is Matt Lauer?

In preparation, I'm rehearsing my answers to the non-book related questions I expect to get at my next book-signing:

"Nope, I can't tell you what country Kerry is in. It's Top Secret.'' (Tune in Thursday morning on the Today show, if you're curious. My husband will be the one who isn't Matt Lauer at that day's fabulous location.)

"Nope, I don't know what Matt Lauer is really like. I've only met the man once, briefly. I'm certain he couldn't pick me out of a line-up.''

"Nope, I can't get Matt Lauer to autograph my book for you; but I'd be glad to ask my husband to sign it. Buy two, and he'll pose for a picture.''

How about you? Have you ever met someone from movies or TV? Did you act cool, or giddy? I still remember how nervous I was as a teenager when I met my famous sports star crush, quarterback Joe Namath. I spilled a Coke all over both of us.


Robin Allen said...

I once waited on Tommy Lee Jones and his young son. I was told by the entire restaurant staff that he *really* didn't like being recognized and bothered for autographs, so I acted like he was anyone else and he acted the same way toward me.

p.s. I don't watch television and wouldn't know Kerry from a presidential candidate. You, Deb, I would recogize.

Deborah Sharp said...

Awww, thanks Robin! I'd recognize you, too.
When I was with USA Today, I did a story about Sylvester Stallone, who had instructed the staff in his Miami mansion not to look directly at him. Celebs can be strange ....

Patrish said...

when I worked in the TV news biz, I was always amazed that people who were present at an event I was covering were practically foaming at the mouth to find out when it would appear on the magic box. Hello? You are Here, NOW, experiencing this in real life! ack.

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, just what happened right after the incident with the Coke and Joe Namath? Spill it!

Deborah Sharp said...

Keith: Nothing exciting (I was a YOUNG teen, after all!) Embarrassed, I mumbled an apology and slunk off without getting his autograph.
Patrish: Ah, yes ... the lure of the magic box. When I was a print reporter, I'd be in the middle of an interview, and when the camera lights went on, my source would rush, moth-like, to them, hoping for a chance to be on TV.

Alan Orloff said...

I get mush-mouthed when I meet writers who I admire. I don't meet too many movie stars.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Several of my YA books are set during the Civil War, and my husband used to be a reenactor. He sometimes came along to library programs and such, but he always gathered the crowd.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Several of my YA books are set during the Civil War, and my husband used to be a reenactor. He sometimes came along to library programs and such, but he always gathered the crowd.

Deborah Sharp said...

Yes, Alan ... and think of all the aspiring writers who now get mush-mouthed when they meet YOU!
Kathleen: How nice that your hubby helps draw the crowd. Does he come in uniform? Which side?

Dru said...

When I met my favorite authors...I was screaming inside, but I like to think I was calm on the outside.

Sebastian Stuart said...

Deb -- does this fall under the category of "problem of privilege"? And WHAT is Matt Lauer really like? In my checkered career I've bumped shoulders with a few stars. You might be able to drag my Madonna story of out me. She arranged a star-studded reading of one of my plays she was considering doing -- and she said something, well, let's just say I've been dining out on it ever since.

Vicki Doudera said...

Deb, your stories in this vein are so hilarious. I recently had my first colonoscopy and kept thinking about the blog you did on yours... you kept me chuckling!

Deborah Sharp said...

Sebastian: I MUST hear that Madonna story! How many drinks do I need to buy you at the next conference to get you to dish ;-) ?
Vicki: If I can get you to chuckle during a colonoscopy, I must be doing something right!
Dru: You're ALWAYS cool and calm. I am wondering, though, why I heard no screaming when you first met me! ;-)

Dru said...

Deb, you crack me up.