Photographers Snip, Snap

Five years ago, I gave my first autograph.

On an average Tuesday, I had ventured into the Chicago rain, black hair blowing in the wind. Suddenly a hand clasped my arm.

It was a girl. She was wearing those pants where you can tell- even from the front- that there’s writing on the back, and she stood there clutching my arm.

Because the sidewalk in front of The Weiner’s Circle seemed as good a place as any to be assaulted by a teenybopper with HOTT STUFF written on her butt, I looked for weaponry. But no. Hott Stuff brandished nothing but a pen.

She was short of breath and clearly desperate to speak to me. I looked at her, brow raised.

DAMN NICK! Hott Stuff exclaimed, loudly.

I assumed she had a mild case of Tourette’s.

But then Hott Stuff reached into her bag and a battered back issue of STAR magazine emerged. She fumbled through it, increasingly frantic as the raindrops dashed across the glossy pages. Finally, she thrust the magazine toward me, first pointing at a photograph of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, and then jabbing her finger at the headline— Jess To Nick: You’re a Girlie Man!

Hott Stuff leaned closer. She handed me the magazine and offered me the pen. I took both as that seemed the path of least resistance.

And then, as though she were confessing a deep secret, Hott Stuff leaned even closer. She looked deep into my sunglasses and said, I just love your sister.

I smiled, wiped the raindrops from the page and wrote, “Love, Ashlee.”

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