The Best Time I Made a Celebrity Think I Was a Moron

by Kira Goldenberg

My first — and, as of now, only — top-shelf New York party was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in late 2009, when AOL threw a bash to celebrate its spin-off from Time Warner. I worked for the company’s hyper-local news darling, Patch, and our ranks were small enough for everyone to be invited. A couple co-workers and I, excited for an excuse to leave suburban Connecticut, hurried off the Metro-North to join the carpeted entry line.

While we waited, I overheard a couple security guards chatting. One of them pointed to a man toward the front of the line. “That guy was on Dancing With the Stars!” he said.

Inside was a hungry journalist’s mecca, with delicacies on all the trading desks, including a lavish sushi bar. My friends and I waited in line for a photo on the stock exchange balcony with P. Diddy and his entourage. Harry Connick, Jr. was there. And at the bar were mini bottles of fancy champagne with twirly straws — two of my favorite things in the world. I had a few, and was soon suffused with that wonderful bubbly lightness, like in the in the old Willy Wonka before they float too high and need to make themselves burp.

Anyway, while cradling my third-ish champagne, I noticed the guy the security guards had gossiped about mingling a few yards away. I decided I had to know who he was. Friends in tow, I walked over to him. I tapped his forearm, and he turned toward me. Here’s exactly what happened next:

“Excuse me, why are you famous?” I asked.

“I cofounded Apple,” the-man-Googling-later-revealed-to-be Steve Wozniak said.

“Oh,” I replied. “I thought it was because you were on Dancing With the Stars.”

He lowered his eyebrows at me and turned away. I was tipsy enough to wonder what his problem was.

Kira Goldenberg’s writing has appeared in places like Down East Magazine, The Hartford Courant, The New York Observer, and on

Photo by Nikola Bilic, via Shutterstock