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15 minutes and counting


Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

I’m not much of a fan, as far as being a fan goes.

So the fact that they’re filming scenes for the summer 2007 movie “Evan Almighty” in downtown Waynesboro doesn’t get my juices flowing as much as the next guy.

I claim that, anyway.

“What are you still doing here?” my wife asked me on Monday right around 5 p.m. or so.

I’d been standing on a street corner for going on four and a half hours by that point.

“Er, I’m working,” I responded, pointing to my notebook and tape recorder.

I had been doing interviews to get a sense of what folks had to say about having movie stars like Morgan Freeman and Steve Carell in the Valley, sure.

But the more I thought about it, that wasn’t why I was hanging around for hours on end watching a camera truck tugging a Humvee up Main Street.

“They can’t start without Dickie V, baby!” I remember from one of my first brushes with fame – the lunch table that I shared with Dick Vitale at the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament several years ago.

I didn’t dare say a word to Mr. V – no way, no how. I just sat there, transfixed by what he had to say about the state of basketball and the ACC in particular and the rest.

Then a frantic ESPN staffer ran up to the table to let Vitale know that we were only a few minutes before tipoff of the next game – prompting his explosion.

A few years later, I had another brush with fame – this one more direct, in the form of an interview with author John Grisham, who just so happens to be one of my favorite writers.

“So … why nothing about baseball?” I asked him at one point, picking out one of his loves, the national pastime, and getting a scoop in the process when he let me know about a movie project that he was working on involving little league baseball.

Ahem – so I handled that one better than I did the rendezvous with Dick Vitale.

My job being what it is these days, I’ve had additional opportunities to talk to famous people – the comedian Carrot Top, who was remarkably low-key, given his on-camera persona; the actor Aaron Ruell, known for his supporting role in the cult classic “Napoleon Dynamite.”

I more than held my own in both of those situations – from my reckoning, anyway.

And so we come back to Waynesboro yesterday – and how I was reduced to being pretty much a star-gazer for the better part of an afternoon.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a good sign, for what it’s worth.

It’s healthy to be able to tap into that inner child that gets nervous around celebrities from time to time, after all.


Chris Graham’s Stop the Presses column appears on this blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more on Chris Graham’s humor columns and other fiction writing, visit www.authorchrisgraham.com.



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