Over the Counter Communication about Cher
Juicy gossip has always existed and it has high communication value.
Gossip has such power to move information quickly and effectively that most major religions have injunctions against it. It’s in the fine print. We gloss over it as we head to the office water cooler or stretch closer to the chair next door at the hair stylists just to stay in the loop.
Often, our intentions are camouflaged behind, yes; you guessed it, celebrity gossip magazines. Gossiping about celebrities appears to be a safe and satisfying communication channel for all the good that gossip can yield.
Today, while at the checkout in a boutique grocer I like to call “Whole Mortgage”, I lamented my inability to easily separate a couple of in store coupons while the clerk looked on. Wordlessly, he handed me a pair of easy grip and long bladed scissors. “Thank you,” I said. “It appears that despite there being perforations I don’t have the strength to pull them apart. I have tennis elbow and it’s terribly painful, and I don’t even play tennis.”
He said he’d pack my groceries while I manoeuvred the money saving portion of my visit at his counter. I tried my hand at humour to entertain the troops of tired and hungry customers breathing behind me. Time ticked. I spoke again, as if about a friend, “Cher said aging sucks, and I guess I agree with her, but it’s not the looks that I care about. I can live with wrinkles. It’s my mobility and being able to do things that I would miss.”
Invoking celebrity calmed the clerk and piqued people’s interest. “I’ve never had a customer here quote Cher,” he piped in.
“Really?” I added. “She’s great.” Smiling, I added, “She’s another lovely dark haired woman.” I’m not sure if he noticed the features Cher and I shared.
Bespectacled in a totally cool way, and gay (It’s OK where I live I am the minority and well tolerated in a decidedly and decadently gay residential pocket) he added, “I follow her on Twitter.” As if his entire being was dedicated to a higher cause of communication when not on duty ringing in dollars.
Ooh lala counter top turned. Now HE was the celebrity on that spot. I was close to someone who followed Cher’s words. He had bits to communicate about her typos and message mishaps. “Oh she’s been on there for quite a long time and she can be quite interesting, but…. (His face twisted a bit with concern) .. I dunno. It seems like she hasn’t exactly gotten the hang of how to be on there yet. She does have a lot of things she likes to type in her opinion about.”
My Public Relations DNA immediately threw in a comment about Chas and how I liked her, now him and how I heard a CBC Radio interview where he talked about his famous mom and her challenge in accepting his transition. Clerk nodded approvingly as he tucked my organic Lacinato Kale into a big paper bag. I blurted sincerely about how I envied his great relationship with his partner. We had gone from elbow pain to the human need for companionship.
Clerk of communication central cut me off. “Oh no, that’s over. Yes it died just recently and I’m ashamed to say I know about it.” He cast his eyes down on this end note.
We resumed our roles.
To end on a positive communication, I justified our chat by saying we contributed to the social good. I told him about gossip being a social value in Joseph Epstein’s book “Gossip.” Then I suggested a good movie I’d seen last week, Teenage Paparazzo by “Adrian.. Oh… that gorgeous young man from Entourage who plays a celebrity famous for being famous. Sorry I don’t have a TV so I’m a little rusty on newer celebrity names,” I trailed off.
“Next” Other clerks beckoned customers in the single line up to them.
The automatic door swung open and I pushed my cart, careful not to hurt my elbow out into the cool West Coast night air.
Over communication about celebrity, the clerk and I negotiated a relationship in neutral territory. We shared personal issues, learned something new and safely revealed a mutual interest.
Had I known I was going to drag Cher into my social interaction that night, I would have dressed with a bit more flair to communicate my admiration for her career and how she carries herself. No doubt she is not tweeting about clipping coupons for almond milk and protein builder bars.
One article on Joseph Epstein can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/2011/11/18/gIQAAPXILO_story.html
Teenage Paparazzo is an entertaining and high value look into the history and current lives of paparazzi. It follows a 13 year old ‘professional paparazzo’. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1232206/