A few weeks ago I got the following e-mail.
I have been asked to contact you by [Very, Very Famous Person]. He has just read your new book “Swish” and loved it. [Very, Very Famous Person] would very much like to chat with you, would it be possible to forward me a telephone number on which he can contact you?
Personal Hairdresser to [Very, Very Famous Person]
Personal Hairdresser? I thought. If [Very, Very Famous Person] wanted to get in touch with me, why on earth would he do it through his Personal Hairdresser? Obviously this is from either a practical joker or lunatic who wants my phone number the better to stalk me with. No way am I sending my phone number.
Then I thought about it some more, and I realized that because of my narcissism and need for attention I have already made myself pretty stalkable, so I figured, what the hell, and e-mailed [Very, Very Famous Person]’s Personal Hairdresser my cell phone number. Late that night, when unable to sleep, I checked my e-mail to find another message from [Very, Very Famous Person]’s Personal Hairdresser saying that [Very, Very Famous Person] would be calling me the next day. I didn’t know quite how to feel about this.
The next morning it turned out that I had to spend some time doing some unspeakable things in my basement, where I don’t get cell reception. When I came back upstairs my phone beeped and I saw that I had received a voice-mail. Oh, GREAT, I thought, casting about for something sharp with which to disembowel myself. [Very, Very Famous Person] called and I missed my chance to talk to him because I was doing unspeakable things in my basement and now I have ruined my life. I checked my voice mail and heard the following message.
“Hi, Faustus, it’s [Very, Very Famous Person] calling. I’m back in [Very, Very Famous Person’s Country of Residence] now and . . . I hope you’re not back at cheerleading practice, my darling. But if you are, I hope you’re being flung in the air as I speak. Listen, I’ll keep trying you. I’m on the move and I’ll keep trying you all day. All right? Lots of love.”
Oh, thank God, I thought, letting the bread knife fall to the floor. There’s a chance I haven’t ruined my life. I just won’t leave the part of the house where I get good cell reception until he calls again, if in fact he does call again.
And sure enough, an hour or two later he called again.
While I was on the land line doing a live radio interview.
I was in the middle of answering a question about knitting or sex or something like that when my cell phone rang; I knew immediately that it was [Very, Very Famous Person] because the number that showed up in caller ID had too many digits to be in the United States phone system. I went instantly dumb—I think I the last word I’d said was “syphilis” (which makes me think I must been answering a question about knitting)—and then started making choking noises. I had absolutely no fucking idea what to do. I couldn’t very well ask the radio interviewer to hang on for a few minutes while I talked to [Very, Very Famous Person]. But if I didn’t pick up the phone the second time he called then obvious [Very, Very Famous Person] wasn’t going to call back. After several moments during which every part of my body was paralyzed (except for the vocal apparatus, which was still making choking noises), I jabbed my thumb wildly at the “OK” key. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do; perhaps I could make the radio interview a three-way.
But I’d jabbed my thumb too late. [Very, Very Famous Person] had already been sent to voice mail. This time he didn’t leave a message. I couldn’t kill myself because then I wouldn’t have been able to finish the interview, which would have been rude; luckily, the misadventure provided me enough fodder to give a very entertaining radio interview during which I made lots of funny jokes about why [Very, Very Famous Person] might be calling me and successfully concealed my desire to be eaten immediately by a South American giant anaconda.
But when the interview was over there were no anacondas around so I went, despairing, to the grocery store, bought an Entenmann’s chocolate fudge cake, came back home, started eating, and didn’t stop till I had finished the whole thing. Then the phone rang again.
Clearly, I thought, in a former life I saved the lives of several babies.
I still haven’t quite gotten over picking up my phone, saying hello, and hearing, “Hi, it’s [First Name of Very, Very Famous Person].”
“You’re a difficult man to get ahold of,” [Very, Very Famous Person] said. “What have you been doing?”
“URGH!” I said.
Our conversation lasted for five minutes and eighteen seconds. I am the world’s most moronic moron for not recording it, because he said a number of very nice things about my book. He also said that he wanted to get together next time he was in New York and that I should keep in touch with his personal hairdresser ([Very, Very Famous Person] doesn’t have a computer) and figure something out.
AND the personal hairdresser apparently looks like Daniel Craig.
That must have been a fuckload of babies.