The Pacino Blunder and 4 Other Goofs I Made as a Young Writer

When you’re a novice, there’s a lot to learn.

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Do you know this man? At age 18, I did not. Image from Vulture.
  1. Who Is Al Pacino? Dumont High School, New Jersey, 1979 — senior year. A few of us were in the Periscope newspaper office after school. Adviser and journalism teacher Charles Barragato ran in, breathless. “Al Pacino is on the field!” he said. “Someone has to interview him!” I said yes, dashed down with pen and pad and saw a dark-haired man in a wheelchair, near the track. But I didn’t know Al Pacino from Adam. “Is that Al Pacino?” I asked a beefy fellow in a jacket. “If you don’t know who he is, why do you want to interview him?” the man snapped back. I stammered something. Turns out Pacino was considering the part of paraplegic Vietnam War vet Ron Kovic in “Born on the Fourth of July,” and they were scouting locations. I don’t recall what happened next. Maybe we just ran a photo and blurb. (The film came out in 1989, starring Tom Cruise.) I’m still embarrassed about this blunder. I know much more about celebrities and ordinary people now. (And we have Google, Wikipedia and IMDb — and a cell phone in every high schooler’s hand.)

As my yoga teacher, Joe Gandarillas, says at the close of class, “Thank everyone who has ever taught you, even if it was hard.” So my thanks go out to Al Pacino’s bodyguard and everyone else on this list. No one’s perfect, but experience definitely helps.

Alice Garbarini Hurley is a writer and daily blogger at her site, Truth and Beauty. She has worked for many magazines in New York City. Her articles and profiles appear in ASPIRE DESIGN & HOME.

Magazine maven, craft coffee lover, legal guardian. Passionate about fashion and lipstick — though it may not look that way when I dash to the supermarket.

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