Back in the summer of 2008 I had the opportunity to meet Valerie Harper. My book, So Why Have You Never Been Married, had come out and Reuters did a piece on it. As a result of my 15 minutes of fame, the local TV station in LA decided they needed me on their morning news program to talk about single men. I was on with Greg Behrendt, the author of the book He’s Just Not That Into You.
I was pretty excited (and nervous) as it was my first time on live TV, but I kept my cool and pretended it was no big thing. I was just taking it all in. So, about 20 minutes before my set they put me the green room. Guess what? There really are green rooms.
So, I march in, sit down and scan the room. There were about four other people already in the green room waiting for their set on the morning show. And I immediately recognize one of them as Valerie Harper. She is just as good-looking in real life as she is on TV. But I didn’t say a word. Partly because I’m not into fan worship, partly because I was nervous as hell and partly because it seemed like the right thing to do.
Only a minute of two passed before Valerie caught my eye, she leaned over, extended her hand to me and said, “Hi, I’m Valerie.” I had to fight the urge to say “No shit!”
We chatted for a moment or two and I told her about my book on middle-aged men who had yet to marry. Then she introduced me to her husband who went on to say that he had a middle-aged son who would probably never marry. What could I do? I reached over and gave him a copy of my book. Idiot! I forgot to sign it.
So, now I tell anyone who will listen that Valerie Harper’s husband has a copy of my book. My tenuous link to stardom.
The takeaway for me is that this woman, who had already amassed a lifetime of fame, took a moment out of her life to say hello to someone who meant less than nothing to her. I would like to think she sensed my tension in that moment and just tried to put me at ease. I will always think fondly of that day and of my very brief encounter with Valerie Harper. As she fights her battle with cancer, I will remember her not just for the smiles she put on my face when she was on TV, but of the smile she put on my face as I was getting ready to go on TV.
Fight on Valerie.