Monday, September 25, 2006

Shameless name-dropping

Today I was returning some borrowed CDs in Media Services. Standing by the door and browsing our video catalog was Pablo Schreiber, who plays Nick Sobotka in the second season of The Wire.

I left him alone, but thought of all the 'celebs' I used to encounter working at the bookstore, most often the cast of Homicide: bullshitting about conspiracy theories with Richard Belzer; assisting Andre Braugher with investment books; teasing Clark Johnson about his latest purchase--Erik Estrada's California drivers' license--as he bragged to me about his collection of '70s TV memorbilia; drooling over a drunk and sloppy Michael Michelle; and best of all, having to intervene when a cashier failed to accept a personal check from an enraged Yaphet Kotto. Yes, he actually did say "Do you know who I am?!"

Non-Homicide memories? Ringing up Gene Hackman; shaking hands with Greg Louganis (someone I admire a great deal); talking to Jon Voight; shooting the shit with Al Sharpton when no one showed up for his book signing (he's a charming, engaging, and actually hilarious guy); helping a three-time Cy Young winner and erstwhile underwear model find Self Help books about communicating with one's spouse (he waved me over to Audio Books and asked me to 'discreetly' assist him by going back and forth to the Psychology section); ringing up Winona Ryder's enormous CD purchase (she is really, really tiny); being asked by Joe Frazier where he could buy a woman in Baltimore. Our most regular celeb customer was of course John Waters--he haunted the True Crime section, and did multiple big events at the store, and told me a most disgusting story about signing someone's tampon.

I could go on, and on, and on, but I'll spare you.


Anonymous said...

I think (if memory serves) that I'm the guy that didn't accept Yaphet Kotto's check - but the reason was that it wasn't in his name! We were still insisting on matching a driver's license to the printed name on the check, and they didn't match - the check was in the name of the production company! I called the service manager, who could have approved it (he lives in infamy - Eric Olsen) and after waiting about 3.5 minutes Kotto stormed out. You must have arrived shortly before that. Other customers were ripping me for not taking the check, but I'm not a big fan of TV so I guess I didn't feel compelled to take a piece of check paper without ID or management approval....

geoff said...

My Kotto experience involved a bookseller cashier--can't remember who, but it wasn't you, but rather some long-forgotten short-timer.

Unless Kotto came upstairs afterward and tried again, I think these were different events.

You had no authority to take such a check, and did the right thing, star of Alien or no.