Friday, February 22, 2008

The Best Celebrity That I Think I Could Hang Out With

Celebrities, as a whole, do not strike me as real people. For all I know, they may not be real. I've never met most of them -- although I have met my fair share of phenomenally-popular celebrities, including Alan Thicke.

You may, for a moment, ponder how cool it is that I met Alan Thicke.

Done? Okay. Like I was saying, I have met some but not all celebrities (I'm using the term loosely, here. For a definition of who might not be a real celebrity, check out what I think of gossiples.) I might have even met more than I think, since I never recognize celebrities when I see them in public. It's one thing to recognize Simon MacCorkindale when he's on the big (or little) screen.

What's that? Sure, you know him. He starred in "Family of Cops," which was, so far as I can tell, about a family of cops. He also was Manimal:

It's one thing to recognize him when he's manimaling around. It's another thing to recognize him when he's the guy who's paying the cashier for his scratch-off lottery tickets with a pile of nickels and dimes while you're trying to get gas in the morning. (Note: I do not know if MacCorkindale has ever done this, but other people have and it's annoying. There should be a line for people paying with all change, and it should be at a store that I don't go to.)

So maybe I've met a lot of celebrities in my life and just don't know it. There might be one sitting right next to me, right now.

Only there's not.

But there's only one celebrity I've ever met that I figure I could hang out with. For a while, I thought there were two. I always thought, despite my substantive disagreements with a lot of what he thinks and does, that I might be able to hang out with Bill Clinton, who I figured would be like that really crazy guy we all knew who's always trying to get you to go on road trips, and doesn't last long at any particular job, and calls the waitress "honey" in an unironic way and steals your girlfriend but you don't mind because you didn't like her that much anyway. But then Clinton got all testy on the campaign trail and seems too cranky, so I gave up on him and returned to my first celebrity that I could hang out with, Nick Lachey, and here's why: Nick Lachey, from the very very little I know about him, does exactly what I would do if I suddenly found myself with lots of money and lots of time.

I didn't really know who Nick Lachey was until the show Newlyweds. Although I've grown up with Middle and Older, who were in their tweens during the 98 Degrees/ 'n Sync/ Backstreet Boys heyday (I still like to tease them by repeating this actual quote from both of them: We will never get tired of Backstreet Boys. And I have their boombox to prove it, their actual boombox from when they were tweens, which I use in my office now:
Nick Lachey just never registered in my mind as an actual person or distinct entity. Then Sweetie got into the show Newlyweds (or, as I think of it "Proof that cashing in on your marriage will destroy it") and I would occasionally watch it. "Occasionally" in that sentence means twice. But in the two episodes I saw, Nick Lachey convinced me that I could hang out with him because of what he did.

In the first episode, Nick and his brother were hanging out, being rich, good-looking, and bored. (I am frequently one of those. Guess which one?) They decided that they would landscape the backyard, and set about buying all sorts of supplies and then hiring not one, but two crews, to landscape the backyard.

I have done that. I have been sitting around and decided to redo the yard -- on the hottest day of the year, I went out and dug up our whole front yard, terraced it, moved rocks around, trimmed bushes and got rid of plants, all to create a new look. I didn't, of course, have much in the way of supplies (I got some discount plants at Wal-Mart) and my crew was simply me, but you can see the parallels, right?

Then, in the other episode, as I recall it, Nick decided to buy a videogame for his house and had to have it hauled into the house via a forklift and crane operation.

That is something I dream of doing. I would love to be sitting around and decide to play a videogame and then just go buy it and the heavy construction equipment that it needs to get it into my house. That is exactly the kind of life I want to live -- except maybe in Hawaii.

Since Newlyweds, I haven't had much of an opportunity to see whether Nick is still the kind of guy I think I could hang out with, but I'm pretty sure he is. I know he takes trips with his new girlfriend, recorded an album, and, Middle Daughter tells me, he coached a choir on a TV show. (Which apparently he won.) In between there, he also apparently bought into some sports teams, according to Wikipedia (although I'm not sure how much credit to give to that news, since Wikipedia also declared that the 43rd president of the United States is Snuffleupagus.) From what I can gather, he's just going around being a regular guy who happens to be worth millions of dollars and happens to be famous enough to keep being famous enough to earn millions, but at the heart of it is still a regular guy.

A regular guy -- like me! So, Nick, when you read this, get in touch with me, and we'll move you up from The Best Celebrity That I Think I Could Hang Out With to The Best Celebrity I DO Hang Out With.

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