September 2005

Rubbing shoulders with fame

By Suzanne Strazza

I was going to use this month’s column to discuss something very serious and important – no more meaningless drivel, but I decided to nix that horrid thought and continue on my frivolous way. Something of great personal significance has suddenly come to my attention and I need to bring it out into the open.

All of my Us magazine reading has truly paid off: I’ve discovered that I actually know someone famous! I know George the Evil Pharmacist! I was soooooo in love with this man back in 8th grade when he was merely Roger Bart.

For you poor souls who do not know George (or Roger for that matter), George the Pharmacist is on ABC’s new wonder hit “Desperate Housewives.”

So what exactly was my relationship with this Hollywood (almost) Megastar? Aren’t you just dying to know?

I first discovered Roger shortly after he came to our school. He was on the soccer team with my older brother, Kent. One look at those skinny legs and Shaun Cassidy haircut and I was a smitten kitten. I was suddenly my brother’s biggest fan – never missed a game or even a practice.

When soccer season ended and everyone moved inside for the winter, we discovered another of Roger’s incredible talents. He was the lead singer in the rock band Saint Elmo’s Fire. Roger wore white jeans, white shirts and (if I remember correctly) a long skinny white scarf. He sang classics like “I Want You to Want Me.” Who could not fall in love with the guy? We all became groupies.

I was the irresistible one in the front row with the skinny legs, bad Dorothy Hamill haircut and a mouth full of braces. While most of the girls in eighth grade, ninth grade, 10th and 11th grades all had a crush on him, I had one up on all of them, the big-brother connection. Every day, I suggested that Kent invite his soccer team over, or that he take me whenever he went out with the guys. Needless to say, Kent never took me up on Option No. 2 and rarely on Option No. 1.

Still, I did always have an excuse to stop by the 11th-grade lockers supposedly to tell my much-loved, darling older sibling something extremely important, and to catch a glimpse of beautiful Roger’s beautiful smile. I occasionally even got a “Hey, Suzanne” out of him.

I honestly thought that I would finally snag Roger when he saw me in my cheerleader uniform (just don’t say a word about the whole cheerleading thing!). I was captain, you know, so my uniform was different and therefore carried more clout.

Remember the skinny legs and all? Imagine them in a blue-and-white polyester dress with saddle shoes. I knew that as soon as he saw me, Roger would fall down and kiss those black-and-white beauties and beg me to run off into the sunset with him.

What actually happened was a bit different. Yes, I sashayed down the hall, past the lockers, confident in my coolness. As soon as Roger saw me, he smiled and gave me the oh-someaningful “Hey, Suzanne” and I. . . slammed right into an open locker door.

Interactions such as these fueled my dreams and sustained me throughout the boredom and tedium of eighth grade.

I transferred schools at the end of that year and only saw Roger once or twice after that. I was sure that he pined for me for many years.

Until I heard that he was gay. Just add him to the growing list of men who realized that they prefer men after hanging out with me. (But, we’re not going to go there right now.)

So, you wonder, after a meaningful love like this, why didn’t I recognize Roger Bart as soon as I saw him on the screen? The reality is, I don’t watch TV. I just read the trashy mags. Essentially Nicole, Paris, Tom, the housewives, are all merely twodimensional to me. Until now. Now one of the beautiful people has come to life.

So, after years of reading People and Us, I actually do know someone famous – as opposed to pretending that I do. Who cares if he has no clue who I am? – I know who he is.

Suzanne Strazza writes from Mancos