Monday, January 28, 2008


Last week while driving home after dropping off on a morning school run, I passed Ethereal Beauty Movie Star driving in the other direction. She was swabbing lip balm on, really swacking it across her mouth the way you do when you need it desperately. And yeah, even with her hair down, no makeup on and squinting through the windshield of her SUV into the morning sun, she looked beautiful. Radiant.
Like you'd expect her to. . .
Snotty Suburb is home to quite a few celebrities. Some, like Ethereal Beauty, are film stars. There are a couple of local authors who've logged serious time on the NYT bestseller lists. There are musicians -- rockers, mostly, who live here, too. You see them around town. You might mention it to your spouse, or, if it was one of the rockers, you might tell your older kids. What you never, ever, ever do is act like you're watching them.
Never ever.
It's just not done. Because if you do, you mark yourself as not being quite Snotty Suburb-worthy.
There are big names in the music business who live here. I've seen all of them out and about, at one time or another, sometimes with their kids. All of them are edgy rockers, a couple with reputations for excess. And their kids? In the case of one of the musicians, one whose international reputation is really hardcore, I saw him having lunch with his daughter.
She was dressed in an old-fashioned private-school uniform and sat primly waiting for her dad to bring her a sandwich from the deli counter. She looked like an angel. Another rocker-daughter is a stunningly beautiful blonde who, when I used to see her frequently, favored white and pink flowered tops and pink sneakers. No black tee shirts, no spiky hairdos -- the kids are obviously utterly protected innocents.
And, as the kids grow up, they do NOT think their parents are any cooler than your own kids thing YOU are cool. You are a parent. You are NOT cool, no matter what. Proof of this came to me when a friend's daughter played on a sports team with a celeb's kid -- the kid rolled her eyes with perfect pre-teen disgust when she talked about her dad's tour the previous summer. She wasn't doing it for effect, either. She really meant it. Just like when your kids get grossed out when you try to dance in the kitchen, or sing along with the car stereo.

So, when I heard a parent make a joke in front of her kid, urging her kid to invite a celeb-kid over and "hope that the dad comes to my house for pickup," I tartly said, "Yeah, I'm sure that kid has never heard THAT before." The parent stopped for a second, not sure if I was kidding. I wasn't.

Let that be a lesson.