As if rescuing chickens were not enough, I’ve just had yet another of those surreal experiences that seem to make my world go around.
Morgen is the Development Director for a nonprofit organization called Death Penalty Focus, and for months she’s been planning a major fundraiser that will take place this evening: a comedy event called “Stand-Up for Justice.” Several big-name comedians are participating. Actor Mike Farrell (Providence, M*A*S*H), who’s the president of the organization, will be acting as emcee, and will be joined by a number of other V.I.P. guests—including M*A*S*H costar Loretta Swit.
So yesterday Morgen called me from work in a panic to ask me if I could do her a favor. Would I be willing to be a chauffeur? I wasn’t sure what she meant by that, so she said, “We need someone to pick up Loretta Swit from the airport and drive her to her hotel.” The whole notion that a mere mortal should perform such a task was difficult for me to accept, but I agreed.
And so I did. The trip was completely uneventful; Loretta was perfectly nice, and that was pretty much that. I have had only a few close encounters with celebrities in my life, and I don’t really grasp the protocol and etiquette appropriate for interacting with the rich and famous. I’m not one to be star-struck, and I have no interest in autographs, pictures, and the like. I just want to be sure I don’t make a fool of myself or cause offense, and I think I succeeded in that.
Plus, now Loretta Swit can tell all her friends that she met that famous author Joe Kissell. “He was very down-to-earth,” she’ll say. “If I hadn’t known he was famous, I would have thought he was just an ordinary guy.”