In my younger years I went through a phase in which I thought that it was great fun to surreptitiously place myself in the background of pictures and home videos. It was a game in which my friends and I would try to see who could end up in the most. We had to use the honor system as it was virtually impossible to verify who was the actual winner.
There was one basic rule to this game. We avoided wedding, funeral, Bar-Mitzvah or similar type occasion photos.
The game was a lot of fun and lent itself to some memorable moments. Back in 1988 I was in Georgetown visiting a friend when we decided to go to see the Washington Monument. While we were there I decided that there was no better moment than the present to try out my hand as a tour guide.
So I spent a few minutes searching for a good target and identified a family of four. Dad was busy videotaping the kids and mom at the monument. Having determined that they were a good candidate I took a deep breath and walked right into the middle of the shoot and introduced myself as a member of the Monument Mounties or something like that (my memory is a little rough) and welcomed them to D.C.
I then spent a few minutes providing them with interesting facts about the monument. They played along or maybe they bought into it, who knows.
All I know is that somewhere there is footage of a 19 year-old kid with a flat top haircut, a blue tank top, shorts, sunglasses and fanny pack giving this family a great welcome to our nation’s capital. Later on I did the same thing at the Capitol, The Smithsonian and near the White House.
Since then I have managed to travel around most of the US, parts of Mexico, Europe, Canada and the Middle East. One of my silly claims to fame is that having played the game on multiple continents and more than one island.
So the next time you look at photos of your last vacation, business trip or adventure take a look in the background and see if there is a semitic looking man smiling and/or waving at you. You just might have proof of my having won the game, or maybe not.