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15 Minutes Of Fame

By Staff | Nov 3, 2010

Have you ever come across a familiar name or person in an unexpected place?

It’s always a bit shocking and exciting.

That was no doubt what any local listeners of Rush Limbaugh’s show experienced Monday. At approximately 1 p.m. Limbaugh said, quoting an Associated Press article printed in the Charleston Gazette on Oct. 30, “‘We need some Americans, instead of Democrats and Republicans,’ says Ed Kinney, 57, hanging out with friends at Talkington Gun Shop in New Martinsville.'”

I bet when Kinney innocently talked to a newspaper reporter at Talkington’s, he never dreamed his name would be on the lips of Rush Limbaugh. Maybe he wouldn’t even want that to happen, maybe he would . . . who knows. The interesting part is that a local resident, a local shop, and a local town were mentioned. You’ve got to admit it’s neat, even if you have no good feelings toward the often controversial radio personality.

That same sort of recognition, although not by name, happened to me once.

The summer between my junior and senior years of college I ended up in the audience of the Phil Donahue Show. Not usually shy in sharing my opinion, particularly in my early 20’s, I ended up making a comment on camera during the show. Obviously it wasn’t a surprise when I finally saw it play on television. What was surprising was seeing it when I was watching Saturday Night Live in a half-asleep stupor. I heard my voice and saw my face on a commercial for the upcoming Phil Donahue Show! I ran into my sister’s room, woke her up, and said, “I was just on Saturday Night Live!” Well, not exactly, I know, but it was still exciting and unexpected.

When I returned to school that fall I went to my normal job in the college cafeteria. The full-time cafeteria workers immediately asked if I had been on the Phil Donahue Show that summer. They had seen me and were surprised. It may have been that same shift when a student with which I had had a couple classes stopped in the cafeteria line and asked my plastic-gloved self if I was on the Phil Donahue Show in July. It’s just amazing how many people that little comment reached.

At the time of the airing the local channel played a Star Trek marathon each Saturday after SNL. It just happens that Judy Light, my future co-worker at the Tyler Star News, would be taping the marathon that same night. Some 10+ years later Judy was watching some Star Trek shows when she heard a familiar voice. She thought, “Why is Amy in my living room?” It was me on the Phil Donahue Show commercial.

I guess it was my 15 minutes of fame. It is said we’ll all have that someday. Mostly it’s just shocking and a bit exciting when it happens.