Just when you think it’s safe to go back in the grocery store

I’m not famous. Far from it. Movie stars are famous. Joey Buttafuco is famous. I’m merely recognizable.

(By the way, if i write about work too much, I’m sorry. I have to have somewhere to vent).

So, I’m on TV. That’s what I do. The novelty wore off about five years ago. The stupid things people say because I’m on TV will never wear off and it is probably enough reason to start stomping on their toes.

I only bring it up because I wanted to make some chicken soup in peace (I hear there’s a lot of chicken soup-eating going around today). Some lady had to get in my way.

I had most of the ingredients at home already. But I needed some noodles and some celery. That’s where it got tricky.

See, people (usually rednecks…and I can call them that because I come from a long line of rednecks and dirt farmers…and rubberneckers, but that’s beside the point) have a need to point out that they recognize TV people. The problem, they don’t want to say, “Hey, aren’t you that guy on the TV?” They want to work it into a conversation. Which brings me to the celery lady.

I pick up my celery and start heading for the noodles. Celery Lady spots me from across the produce. She nearly runs her daughter over with her shopping cart trying to get to me (again, I’m not famous…just recognizable). She looks at me, looks at my produce, and says, “Celery, huh?”

I nod, smile, and start to walk.

“I guess that’s what it takes to be on TV,” she says, giving her daughter a knowing look. I don’t know what that means.

I’m tired and I probably should’ve just smiled, nodded, and walked on. But I stopped. I looked her straight in the eye and deadpanned, “No. This is all I can afford.” And then I politely walked toward the noodles. As I walked, I heard her tell her daughter, “Your father wouldn’t know a stalk of celery if he saw one.”

I don’t know what there people are saying. They never make any sense.

And don’t get me wrong. 99% of the time, I’m nice. I’ll stop and talk and listen and smile. I’m a nice guy.

Most people just want you to know that THEY know. It usually goes like this…”So, they gave you a day off, huh?”

I work five days a week like they do. But I always give them a look like, “I know, brother. Me and you are some hard working folks.”

And then, there was a guy a few months back who walks by me on the street and says, “Hey! You got your Four on today?”

What does that mean? I mean, I work for Channel 4, but I rarely–if ever–wear a four on my shirt. I thought he was talking dirty. And the he said it again. “You got your FOUR on today…”

All I could think to say is, “No, they finally gave me a day off.”

I wonder if I could get one of those blue work shirts with the name “Otis” on it? That might help.

Nobody recognizes Otis.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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