BECAUSE I HAD TO BE A BIG SHOT, DIDN’T I?
by Todd Hartley
You see, that’s what happens when the same black-and-white picture of your bald head runs every Friday for 325 weeks in a row in a major national newspaper like The Aspen Times. Eventually, someone recognizes your face. Someone recognized mine, meaning that evidently my face hasn’t aged in six years, so I got that going for me, which is nice.
But the thing is, I didn’t just get recognized. It wasn’t just, “Hey, you’re that guy that writes something for one of the papers, right?” No, my encounter a couple of weeks ago was almost like a groupie experience — but then I am a rock star in my own mind, so I guess that’s appropriate.
I know you’re dying to hear about it, so I’ll indulge you.
I was on my way with my son to a shindig at the base of Aspen Highlands, and as we rode the escalator, an attractive young lady ahead of us turned, spotted me and said, “Hey, you’re that columnist, right? Todd Hartley?”
I said that I was, and she told me she loved my column. I thanked her, and we reached the top of the escalator and went our separate ways. My son and I peeled off to say hi to some friends, and the young lady headed for the party.
But then the lady did an about-face and approached me sheepishly and said, “I know this sounds totally weird, and I’ve never done this before, but could I take a selfie with you?”
I said, “Sure,” and my friend took the young lady’s cellphone and snapped a picture of the lady and me.
The young lady thanked me repeatedly and went into the party, and my friend and I both had a good laugh at the notion of me as some kind of a celebrity. Despite my persistent belief that I should be regarded as one, it has thus far failed to happen.
Anyway, I figured that was the end of that, and with head swollen to gargantuan proportions I went into the party, where I passed unrecognized by pretty much everyone else who was there.
Naturally, when my wife joined us later, I made a point of pointing out the attractive young lady who seemed so starstruck by me. You want to talk about having a good laugh? My wife nearly wet her pants.
The next day, I got a Facebook friend request from the young lady, who lives one town away from me. I accepted her request, and we became Facebook friends, meaning I could now view her posts, although I doubted I’d see many of them.
I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. The novelty wore off for me about five years ago, and nowadays I spend maybe three minutes a month on the site announcing my radio shows. I was on Facebook the next day, however, and I saw that the young lady had posted the picture of her and me, accompanied by a message about how the best part of the party was meeting her favorite columnist, like I was Dave Barry or something.
Well, that was all I needed to hear. I was so full of myself I feel sorry for anyone who had to be in my presence for the next week or so. I must have been insufferable. But I do have to give credit for deflating me a little to a friend of mine who also saw the post and said something to the effect of, “Favorite columnist? Doesn’t she realize that’s just Todd?” That helped bring me down a peg. Thanks for that.
The irony of writing a column about the young lady who said I was her favorite columnist is that it means the lady will most likely be reading this column, so, “Hi, lady! It was really nice meeting you, and if you somehow made my wife even a little jealous, thank you.”
I do have to say, however, that despite my rugged good looks, chiseled muscles, an award-winning column, a critically acclaimed radio show and ballyhooed stand-up-comedy appearances at such major events as the Mothers of Preschoolers Harvest Lunch at the world-famous First United Methodist Church of Glenwood Springs, I remain humble and approachable.
I’m totally OK with attractive young ladies coming up and asking to take selfies with me.
Todd Hartley is the entertainer, and he knows just where he stands. Also, he loves pointless Billy Joel references.