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Wal-Mart shoppers take time to look up and see K-Fed

November 20, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

"Has anyone in here ever heard of a dude named Kevin Federline?"

That question, posed, by me, in an open newsroom, was greeted with about a dozen swiveled heads and looks of incredulity.

No, looks of pity is more like it. One 20-something colleague ventured to take me under her wing and help me limp through the ins and outs of pop culture, much like a Candy Striper would sympathetically assist a geezer tottering his way down the hall to get physical therapy on a broken hip.

If, like me, you are older than Robert Byrd's grandfather, here's the dope: Kevin Federline, aka K-Fed, is a purported rap musician who has basically failed in the area of tunage, but temporarily succeeded in the area of marriage to one B. Spears.

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This marriage lasted all of 36 hours which, as I understand it, set a new endurance record for Hollywood celebrities. Without Britney, K-Fed became known as Fed-Ex, and his career as a musician - well, let's just say he's not going to make anyone forget England Dan and John Ford Coley anytime soon.

This was a disappointment to me, since as a responsible journalist I took some time to do some research on his body of work and was much impressed.

I mean, how can you not be floored by lyrics that include:

Toy all your thing on me, baby.

Toy all your thing on me.

Toy all your thing on me, baby.

Toy all your thing on me.

All I can say is, move over Warren Zevon. As singer-songwriters go, this is top shelf. I like music that challenges the intellect. As a matter of fact, I have changed my e-mail address to toyallyourthingonme@herald-mail.com.

But all this background is beside the point, because the real news is that that the aforementioned K-Fed was in Hagers-town earlier this month! In Hagerstown to shop at Wal-Mart!

Um. Did I read that right? Big rich superstar in a Hagerstown discount store to buy, as the news story said, "food, clothes and video games?"

The Hagerstown part I can see, if the celebrity happens to be driving through with the windows rolled up at high speeds. But Wal-Mart? For clothes?

Britney, dah-ling, hold up on those divorce papers, this man needs you. Unless the fashion world has taken some crazy left turn that I don't know about. I haven't talked to Pierre Cardin lately, but I don't recall seeing many supermodels walking down the runway of late in stretch pants.

Of course, he was instantly recognized by the clientele, and swarmed by autograph seekers. Apparently to a lot of Wal-Mart customers, this was the most exciting, life-changing event they'd experienced since learning that Dollar General now accepts credit cards.

For a megastar, I'm not certain what's more unsettling - being in a Wal-Mart or being recognized in a Wal-Mart. Maybe it's me, but I'm not sure that's the demo I want as my core fan base. You wonder if he would have generated the same excitement by walking into, say, the Washington County Free Library.

This isn't to say that I myself don't occasionally shop at Wal-Mart (although, ahem, The Herald-Mail has never done a story about it). I got a lovely pair of tube sox there just last year. It's just that the size of it overwhelms me, is all. And invariably, I wind up being so fascinated just watching the shoppers that I forget what I came to buy.

Along with adoring fans, K-Fed was followed by a couple of body guards and the ever-present paparazzi. That's an interesting contrast right there. These guys are used to hanging out at Emporio Armani and Le Cirque. Paparazzi dude finds himself in a Wal-Mart aisle full of George Foreman Grills, he has to be thinking maybe it's time he stalked some other target.

Although this might explain K-Fed's presence in the first place. The police were called, management said, because "the store has a strict policy about photographers on the premises."

You hear that, Prince Harry? For all your red-coated fuzzheads at the palace, all you ever needed to do for some peace and quiet was to walk into your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart.

Hagerstown awaits your arrival. Feel free to toy your thing on us.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com

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