Since David Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday, the warm tributes and fond memories have been pouring in. My Letterman memory, however, is anything but fond.
Right after Letterman said he would be leaving his show next year, he brought out a young intern.
“How long have you been interning with us?” he asked. “Since 2009,” the guy replied, to loud laughter.
Wait a minute. Intern . . . 2009 . . .
Back then I had a neighbor in my Upper West Side apartment. We’d nod to each other when we met at the incinerator, tossing out magazines or empty pizza boxes. She was in her early 30s and seemed nice enough, I guess: plain features, quite nondescript.
Late one night I heard rumbling outside my door. When I stepped out into the hallway, I saw my neighbor dragging a huge bag to the elevator. I nodded, but she was in a hurry and didn’t seem to notice me.
Early next morning, I wearily stepped outside and was greeted by about 40 screaming reporters blocking my building’s front door. One aggressive young woman cornered me. “Do you live here?” she demanded. “Do you know her? What do you know about her?”
“About Stephanie! David Letterman’s mistress?”
I blinked, uncomprehending. At that moment my neighbor Marty stepped from the building and sternly pulled me aside. “They want to know about Stephanie,” Marty warned. “Don’t tell them anything.”
“Stephanie. Our next door neighbor.”
The young reporter yanked on my arm again. “Did you ever see her with Letterman? What is she like? Is she in there now?”
I flashed back to the previous night. The commotion. The look on Stephanie’s face. Oh . . .
The reporters hounded us for days, phoned us, even tried to sneak in. One woman told our building superintendent, Jose, that she was Stephanie’s pal, sent to pick up her mail. But our savvy super had spotted this woman on our closed-circuit security cameras in the pack of reporters outside.
“Stealing mail is a federal offense,” Jose informed her.
So best of luck to you, Dave, wherever your new ventures take you. Just stay away from my building.