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A hot boy band? He'll take a poke in the eye

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 9:23 a.m.

When I was a kid, well OK, into my middle 30s, I always wished that the Three Stooges would come to my house. Considering the fact that I may have gotten a really good eye poking out of the deal, it was a wild wish for a brush with fame. My wife admits that she used to hope the Beatles would drive by her house, hear her singing from her window and stop to chat.

How ironic that we may have both missed our moment in the celebrity sun two weekends ago at our neighborhood flea market.

Our neighbor, Barb Jenkins, deserves the credit both for helping us sell off our space-wasting castoffs and attracting what we all are now convinced was one of the chart busting boy bands.

It was her idea to have the neighbors pitch in and have a multifamily yard sale. It was also her idea to hang a banner on her porch advertising 'N Sync jewelry that she had to sell. I thought we should hang an 'Old Junk' banner on our porch, but my wife convinced me that would be a merchandising tactical error.

Yard sales seem to me to attract various strata of society. If you have a yard sale, you can count on meeting people who are buying your old worthless stuff to resell it themselves. If you had a barrel of gold coins sitting out, a swarthy man with a squint and a cigar would offer you a buck for it and tell you you're crazy not to take it. If you make a counter-offer of two bucks, he'll act as if he is having a liver attack, squirming around your yard like Dr. McCoy did every time the Romulans caught him in a disrupter ray on 'Star Trek.' Then he'll offer you $1.25.

Kids always want to buy something you know will get them in trouble the second they get home. Young mothers can't resist leafing through stacks of baby clothes. Men will pick up every tool and stand there tool-struck, trying to remember if they bought a metric hex spanner at the yard sale they stopped at last week, or if they need two, or if they lent me the one I'm selling now and if I'll take a buck for it.

Perhaps a yard sale on Rodeo Drive, offering secondhand fake fur and worn-only-once Armani would catch the attention of a passing truckload of heartthrob troubadours. But not my street, not my town.

Or maybe ...

OK, not a truckload, more like a very nice rental car, which I do remember noticing glide up to the street curb. Four young, what I believe is called 'stylin' guys climbed out and went next door to Barb's jewelry stand. My teen-age son, upon whom I depend for identification of celebrities not connected with the American Civil War, and I did what we always do when strangers are around - we hid behind the shrubbery and hoped they'd go away.

From over the hedge we could hear the pleasant banter of Barb and her guests. The quartet of customers remarked upon her jewelry. At some point, I heard her laugh and say, 'Oh no, REALLY, oh sure!'

Two broke off from the group and stopped at our yard to thumb through some books we were selling. My wife laughed and said, 'I don't think we have anything you guys would be interested in.' They grouped back up and left. I didn't give them a second look.

A week later, Barb came to our door. She had a poster and a stunned look.

'It was them,' she said, 'I'm sure of it.'

When people say things like ''It was them,'' I always assume that we're talking about aliens or communists or something seriously weird like that. So I was gathering up the kids to head for the hills before I realized she was happy about the ''them.'' The poster was them and they were the singing group, 'N Sync.

Right now you are probably saying 'SHUT UP' or 'NO WAY,' but 'YES WAY,' 'N Sync was at our yard sale.

It may be that we're a bunch of star-struck suburbanites struggling with the glitterless dreariness of our backwater existence, manufacturing the appearance of recognizable celebrities to give meaning to our workday world. But I don't think so. First of all, 'N Sync could have a concert with Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears in our back yard and I would be upstairs yelling out the window, 'You kids keep it down, I'm trying to read up here.'

The very fact that I don't recognize them is proof enough to me that it was really 'N Sync. Also their concert in the 'Burgh was the night before our sale, so they could have still been on this side of the country. Of course, the eyewitness testimony of our neighbor, Barb, cannot be discounted.

As they were leaving, one of the guys turned back toward her, smiled a trademark smile and whispered, 'It's really us.'

Oh, if it had only been Curly.

Phil Wilson is a Tribune-Review photographer whose work appears in the Standard Observer section.

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