Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Nov 02

Joe Schmo

I’ve not had the experience of running into many celebrities here in Northern Indiana.   Retelling a story about being less than three feet away from an award winning cow at the fair doesn’t garner much attention.  (It’s probably because they think I’m bragging or something, so I just keep quiet about it.)

Actually, it’s probably better that I don’t have many chances of meeting famous people.  I pay so little attention to media these days I probably wouldn’t recognize a celebrity even if their hair extensions hit me across the face.  I’ve clearly stumbled into the Generational Gap Phenomenon.  If I had to pick out celebrities in a lineup, here’s how it would go:

That’s Brad Pitt.  I’d know his sweet cheeks anywhere!  Win!

Hmm. I think I’ve seen that girl before.  Isn’t she the one who cheated on her vampire boyfriend?  Miley Whatshername?    Epic Fail.

And here’s Julia Roberts.  I loved that movie Sleeping with the Enemy.  Did you know that when she was kicked in the movie, the guy who played her husband missed his mark and really kicked her?  I know.  I’m full of 90’s movie trivia.  Win!

Hey! Isn’t that Grandpa from The Waltons? No it isn’t, because I’m pretty sure he died a long time ago. (Just wanted to see if you were still paying attention).

I don’t know if you remember my last celebrity meet-n-greet post.  If you didn’t, click here to read it.  Trust me, it will help you understand why I will not be trying out for any red carpet correspondent jobs any time soon.

Today’s story of my latest celebrity run-in happened when I was boarding a small plane (as in a row of four seats across with a tiny aisle between them) at our local airport.  As I was heading to my seat, a man turned around to come back up the aisle because he needed to talk to the flight attendant.  Now, for those of you who don’t know, I am short – as in 5 feet 2 inches, so I can generally maneuver in and out of spaces pretty easily.  So confident was I in my tiny space that I ducked into an empty pair of seats to let the man pass. Before I go any further, let me just mention one other thing about being short: we tend not to look above our line of sight.  If it’s not right in front of me or lower, chances are it doesn’t exist.  So, I of course did not notice that the ceiling to the plane resembled a triangle: highest in the aisle, and two sharp angles downward along either side.

As I quickly sidestepped to the right, my head hit the side of the plane which sounded like a gong in a monastery.  You could feel and hear the vibration as it rumbled to the back of the plane.  Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing and stared at me, probably waiting to see how long it would take before I knocked myself out cold.

The man two row ahead leaned forward and said, ‘Are you all right?’  Totally embarrassed and completely void of anything witty to say, I quietly replied, ‘Oh, I’m just fine, thanks!’ before looking up to see the man’s face.  It was…..are you ready?  Joe Namath, the football player.  Wow.  I thought.  Joe Namath just asked me if I was all right.  What’s Joe Namath doing in Northern Indiana?  Who cares?  It’s Joe Namath!  Craig is going to get a kick out of this!  I think I’ll call him when we land, if I don’t bleed out by then!

So, I make my way down the aisle and there is a nice man who lets me by so that I can have my window seat.  When we both sit down, we make small talk about where he’s going and where I’m going and where I can find good seafood in Seattle.  Suddenly and out of nowhere, I become Little Miss Know-It-All.  I lean in and say, ‘Hey, did you see Joe Namath back there?’  The man looks at me with a quizzical look on his face, turns around to look at the man and then looks back at me.  “You mean, that guy?” and pointed over his shoulder.

Me:  ‘Yeah, you know – Joe Namath, the football player?’  The man smiled and said, ‘From the New York Jets?  That’s not Joe Namath – That’s Joe Montana, from the San Francisco 49ers.’

‘Oh, yes, of course,’ I laughed.  ‘I was kidding.  That’s who I meant.’

Let’s be honest;  I was lucky to utter the full name of any football player.   Yet, somehow at that moment, I was confident enough to think I could channel the Great Howard Cosell.  Super.  A double embarrassment before the plane even took off.  Go Team Ellen.  Rah-Rah-Rah.


Oh, well.  I’m sure the only thing those passengers remember on that particular flight was that they were eternally grateful to the short woman who didn’t jinx the plane by plowing a giant hole into the ceiling with her big, rock-hard head.  You, passengers, are quite welcome.

If you’re in the need for more celebrity run-ins, head on over to Laura’s blog to see which celebrity she met a few weeks ago while on a plane.  Trust me – her experience was much cooler than mine.   Have you met anyone famous?  Would you be all cool and casual, like ‘they’d better not talk to me because I value my private time’ or would you be all, ‘Yes Mr. Clooney as a matter of fact I DO still have my restraining order so quit your worrying!’

Have a good weekend, everyone.



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  1. I was sooooo hoping for a celebrity spotting when I was in LA recently. Nope.

    • Ellen says:

      Maybe you did and you just didn’t know it, Karen. I bet you ran into the next Brad Pitt or Paul Newman – probably at one of the restaurants working as a waiter! (I know….I’m reaching)

  2. Sharon says:

    Oh, I could tell you some stories that would double you over laughing like the time I nearly knocked Katie Couric over coming around a corner in NY (she was not particularly friendly or nice about it either) or the time Bill stood next to Tim Russert chatting while doing what one does in a restroom just off the ferry in Nantucket (very funny and nice guy). I once sat next to Richard Petty on a flight from Atlanta to Daytona. Thankfully, my southern roots and diehard NASCAR upbringing made certain I knew who he was. I was Corporate HR Manager in the 80’s for a company that had celebrity spokespersons and was fortunate to be friends with both Ray Stevens and Lynda Carter, both of whom are lovely people. But my most favorite celebrity is current. Mary Costa is a member of my church and dear friend of ours. She has taught me that celebrities are no different than anyone else, but I am still in awe when she sits at my dinner table and we talk about the years she lived on the same street as Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra. But JOE MONTANA, my gosh, I had his pictures pasted all over my walls as a teen. Good looking, I reckon!! And then he started doing those underwear commercials….did you think of that while on the same plane with him??

    • Ellen says:

      Well now, this is something I never knew about you, Sharon. How exciting! It’s probably just as well that I don’t see many celebrities. I’m notorious for saying inappropriate things when I’m nervous. lol

  3. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    Ellen! All I could get from this blog post was, did you ever tell me that you’d been to Seattle and when are you coming back??? :)

    Many many moons ago, Jon and I were visiting friends in San Francisco and saw Magic Johnson at a mall. I would never have recognized him myself, but my friend’s brother practically leaped over the table to go check him out. I’ve *thought* that I’ve seen people over the years. Jon still makes fun of me for thinking that I saw Colin Farrell when we were in NY. Seriously though, these days I’m like you and Justin Bieber could cross my path with his posse and I’d never know. I’m more awestruck by my favorite bloggers or book author. :)

    • Ellen says:

      I love hearing about others run-ins with celebrities. It’s so funny to see how some people react. I’d be too dumbstruck to say anything, most likely – and if I actually did, I’m sure I’d say something completely inappropriate.

  4. teresa says:

    you are so funny! I think Joe Montana is a better sighting than Joe Namath these days anyway.
    I’m in L.A. so they’re all over the place here. I see them mostly at Whole Foods, although there are some who are parents at Em’s school. That’s interesting. Perks…. Stephen Stills playing a set at the May Faire. Not so fun… I’m the fattest mommy in Kindergarten.
    Two of my sisters were just in an elevator with Julie Andrews. Oh, doctors offices too…
    And here’s a fun one:Dylan Mcdermott in my therapist waiting room. We sat there for a while and I did, indeed say something stupid. But since I find myself so hilarious it worked out fine.

  5. That’s hilarious! And I’m impressed you recognized him at all. I wouldn’t recognize a sports player of any type if he TOLD me who he was! 😉

    One time I was at a casino in Michigan City, IN, and had had a few beers. I was with my sister, my mom, and my sister’s friend, and we were sitting down watching a band play near the bar. Then a bunch of people started coming in from behind us, and I turned my head toward them. This guy walking in leaned in about an inch from my face, and made a silly face at me, trying to be playful. I rolled my eyes, not playing along with his goofiness, and turned away (basically, totally shunning him). Then he proceeded to go up on stage, and my sister’s friend said, “You know who that is, right? That’s Jordan Knight, from New Kids on the Block.”


    • Ellen says:

      That is too funny, Katie. I’ve been to that casino a few times and I’ve never seen a celebrity there but I heard when it first opened there were a LOT of them there around that time.
      I wouldn’t have recognized Jordan Knight, either. Not without his jean jacket, pierced ear and hairsprayed hair!

  6. LauraJayne says:

    You did better than I did though – you at least knew the person was famous! I had to be told by the flight-attendant! I’m so culturally unaware sometimes. I don’t think I’d recognize s majority of movie stars today (unless they were in a Bond movie)!

    • Ellen says:

      I wouldn’t have recognized (Rudy) either, Laura. She looks so different than she did on the show back in the eighties. And that shows how old I’m getting. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t recognize many celebrities!

  7. Munchberry says:

    Wait. This is a recollection and you are NOT in Seattle right? I am all in a huff and twitter and huff. Did I mention huff? This must have been a recollection O/W you would have told me. OK. I have talked myself down.

    Anyhoo. I like the mixup stories. I have done that too. I am celebrity recognizing challenged. I know the musicians though. I have shared planes with lots of celebrities. Some big jerky jerks and some incredibly polite (like when they want to sleep and be anon, but their seatmate has other plans for them).

    A sorta funny story: M sat next to a woman on a flight who he chatted with occasionally. She was so taken with his mild manner with her that she whipped out a photo of herself and signed it, thanking him for not gushing. Truth be told he did not know who she was. Patty LaBelle. He did not tell her he didn’t know who she was. He reports that she was very nice and entertaining. Fitting.

    On the weird front: I sat next to a woman who I recognized, but did not know her name, but do now (Initials JG) who copped a French accent in an attempt to conceal who she was or as practice for a part? I said “What is with the fake accent” She insisted she was French. I just rolled my eyes and put my nose in a book wishing her away.

  8. Norma says:

    That is awesome!!! I met Brian May from Queen and made an utter starstruck fool of myself and he was the kindest, sweetest guy. And shook hands with Colin Powell once; he was outside the Ritz Carlton in Boston surrounded by a ton of passers-by. I just joined the crowd and got to shake hands with him before his car arrived.

    • Ellen says:

      Now, THAT would be awesome, Norma – someone from Queen? Wow. Colin Powell is a pretty awesome treat, too. Kenny G once walked by me. I was sitting in the audience at the time at one of his shows though, so I’m not sure if that even counts. lol

  9. Goodnuff says:

    When my daughter was here we saw a guy that looked exactly like Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion, lmao). He may have been but I’m a skeptic.
    I have taken care of several Packer players in my day but didn’t know it because I am athlete ignorant. One of them was back when I was a CNA on the ortho floor, somehow his call light got wrapped around his upper thigh and he needed help unwinding it, he had shoulder surgery. I must have turned 50 shades if red when I realized he was nekkid

  10. didi says:

    Oh, Ellen. This post made me laugh out loud several times. The whole “gong in a monastery” got a good chuckle.
    At least you knew he was an athlete named Joe. I would have never ever in a million years recognized any athlete at all unless he was Michael Jordan. Or Serena Williams. Once when my mom was living near Nashiville, she and my brother called to tell me that they ran into the Judds at the mall, and I was like “Uh… are those friends of yours?” It’s hard to impress somebody as clueless as me.
    Buttttt when I was perhaps fifteen or sixteen my mum and I went to see Phantom of the Opera in Chicago. For fun, we took the train there. Well, we home pretty late so the train was just about empty- and guess who came strolling into our car, and then sat right by us? Brad Pitt. No fooling. It was odd though because he was speaking in a southern accent. We later assumed maybe actors do that sometimes just to throw people off. He was super chatty and pleasant and talking about a buffalo farm, and he gave my mum some buffalo fur. Weird. I know. My mom was pretty good looking back then, and she was always friendly- so it made the train ride a lot more interesting. If that wasn’t Brad, I shit you not the man was a carbon copy. We laughed about it because it was like Brad from “Thelma and Louise” and we had literally just watched that movie a few days prior. Life is funny.

    • Ellen says:

      I would literally become a raving idiot if I saw Brad Pitt, much less spoke to him. Your Mom must be one cool lady to keep composure like that. I’d be staring at him so inappropriately, I’d never get a word out – probably good; that way I wouldn’t be doomed to say anything stupid.
      What a great story. Thanks for sharing that, Didi!

  11. Hey wasn’t that movie Sleeping with the Enemy? Or maybe I’m just thinking of a different movie.

    I never thought about the generation celebrity gap before!

  12. Lynn Bonelli says:

    Joe Montana…ha, I guess he IS starting to look a little old now. I met William Shatner a long time ago (maybe 18-20 years now) at Griffith Park in L.A. My friend and I had horses so we took a day trip to the area to look in their fancy tack store at saddles we couldn’t afford. When we were leaving we saw him pull into to a barn area in a black BMW. We parked right beside him and I rolled down my window to ask if he was who he was…he shook his head no but said yes. We didn’t bother to ask for pictures or an autograph since we felt we were imposing on his private time….dang it.

    • Ellen says:

      I’ve heard both good and bad about William Shatner. Maybe it just depends on what kind of mood he’s in. I’d be the same way – all aloof and thinking I don’t want to impose – then totally regret it later!

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