You probably don’t know me. If you do, you probably haven’t seen me in awhile.
I’ve interviewed Iggy Pop. I also once smiled at Dick Gephardt in the St. Louis airport, and he waved back. Kurt Cobain and I were in a Seattle audience together at a 1993 Leonard Cohen concert. Janet Jackson once stopped into a bookstore where I was working behind the register. She smiled. She was beautiful. Johnny Bench sat back-to-back with me in adjacent booths at a Mexican restaurant. Paul Simon and I shook hands and exchanged pleasantries in a nondescript conference room. I bumped into Jon Gruden in a stairwell at work. Don Novello, aka Father Guido Sarducci, has been in the back seat of my car. I chatted with Dave Chappelle in the magazine section of a local bookstore. I introduced NYTimes columnist Gail Collins and FOX morning host Steve Doocy to audiences within 24 hours of each other. Marilyn Quayle brushed against me in high school as we passed simultaneously but in opposite directions through a doorway at the Kennedy Center, which is not as creepy as it sounds; I was 14 and didn’t see it coming. Some anonymous editor at Vanity Fair published a photo of mine on its blog covering of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I had seats on a plane next to the starting five of the Washington Wizards back when they were the Washington Bullets and flew coach, chatting with Jeff Ruland and Ricky Sobers for most of the flight. I had no idea who they were. None of these people remember me.
Ulysses is my favorite book. I am aware of how that comes across when I say it. In that book is Leopold Bloom’s heartbreaking lament: “Me. And me now.” 8 1/2 is among my favorite films. “Happiness,” says the main character, “is being able to tell the truth without having to make anyone suffer.” In “Famous Blue Raincoat,” Leonard Cohen sings, “You’re living for nothing now. I hope you’re keeping some kind of record.”
tweets/contact at @mdewaldrva