Local Celebrity Cracks Under Stress Of Local Fame

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Vol 36 Issue 23

Roommate Never Seems To Leave Apartment

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA–Paul Shermer noted Monday that Ed Twilley, his roommate of eight months, appears to spend every moment of his life in the apartment shared by the two Charlottesville men. "Every time I come home, there he is on the couch," Shermer said. "I know he works for the state doing something, but he never seems to be at work when I'm home." Shermer said he is beginning to get creeped out.

Self-Described Avid Reader Halfway Through Dragonriders Of Pern For Sixth Time

ALLENTOWN, PA–"Serious bookworm" Angela Goodwin is reportedly halfway through her sixth reading of Anne McCaffrey's fantasy series The Dragonriders Of Pern. "I've read every book in Dragonriders at least three times," Goodwin said Monday. "I guess you could say it's just part of my love affair with the written word." Earlier this year, the "die-hard reader" also read 10 of Piers Anthony's Xanth novels in 15 days.

Area Man Gets In One Last Night Of Sex Before Breakup

HOUSTON–Anticipating an imminent break-up with girlfriend Mindy Huhn, Derek Haskell, 24, deliberately scheduled a final romantic evening Sunday for the purpose of intercourse. "I was planning to dump her this week, probably Wednesday, so I figured I should squeeze in one last go at it before then," Haskell said. "I especially wanted to because I don't have anyone lined up next, so who knows when I'll have sex again?" Haskell described the encounter as "pretty good."

83rd Birthday Party Stretches Definition Of Party

JACKSON, MI–An 83rd birthday party for Hilldale Nursing Home resident Abraham Porter stretched the definition of the word "party" Monday. "Yes, there was food and music and gifts and people gathered for the purpose of celebrating, so, technically, it was a party," said Lydia Marks, the ailing Porter's great-grand-niece. "But it felt like something else altogether." The highlight of the affair, Marks said, was when Porter recognized his only son.

Hair Dyed Back To Original Color

TULSA, OK–After three months as a redhead, area resident Natalie Rice dyed her hair back to its original brown Monday. "I decided I wanted to go natural," Rice said, "so I got a bottle of Clairol dark auburn and just went to town." Rice said it will probably take another two or three dye jobs to completely restore her natural brown coloration over the artificial red.

The Greatest Movie Ever Told

Hola amigos. Que pasa with you? Me, I've been pretty damn good. It's summer, my car is running, and the ladies are fine. Sometimes you can't ask for anything more. Well, ya can, like maybe to get laid by Pamela Anderson, but asking ain't a good idea, because you'll only jinx what you've already got.

My Summer Reading List

Another swampish July will soon be upon us, bringing with it the promise of sweltering heat, golden pitchers of ice-cold lemon-ade administered to me in enema-form, and the nightmarish prospect of sunlight which lasts until nine o'clock at night. Monstrous! When I was a lad, it was dark from five in the evening until noon the next day, and the July temperature never exceeded fifty degrees on Professor-Doktor Fahrenheit's scale. I am certain that the world is hurtling ever closer to the Sun, overbalanced as it is on one side by the overbreeding of the fecund Hindoo, but at present there is little I can do about it.

Wall Street And The Mob

Last week, the FBI arrested 120 members of New York crime families, breaking up a massive securities scam that combined old-school Mob violence with high-tech Internet fraud. What do you think of organized crime's foray into Wall Street?
End Of Section
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Personal Finance

Local Celebrity Cracks Under Stress Of Local Fame

WAUWATONKA, WI–Unable to cope with the mounting pressures of local fame, local celebrity Randall "Herch" Herchwick, 51, shocked residents of this placid Midwestern community Monday with an uncharacteristically emotional outburst during an Elks Club Picnic at the Plefko County Fairgrounds.

Randall Herchwick

According to witnesses, the popular WTNK Action News anchorman "snapped" after being submerged in a charity dunk tank, at which he had volunteered as a "human target." Following the humiliating dunking, Herchwick allegedly raised his voice and swore at several picnic-goers, storming away angrily and frightening a group of small children, one of whom reportedly began crying.

Described by town doctor Glen Hardale as "almost a nervous breakdown, but more minor," Herchwick's disturbing display is believed to have been brought on by the strain of 11 years of intense, unrelenting local celebrityhood.

"Being in the public spotlight each weekday at six on the Channel 15 NBC Action News, as well as Saturdays as co-host of Wauwatonka Live At Five, well, it's a lot of pressure for a man to face, I'd imagine," Hardale said of Herchwick, beloved by hundreds of Wauwatonkans, as well as residents of nearby Plovis and viewers throughout the greater tri-county area. "Local fame is, as they say, a harsh mistress. An ordinary fellow like you or me, or Pastor Bob or Don over at Hefke's Seed & Feed, can't imagine what it's like."

"Everywhere he goes locally, people recognize him," Hardale continued. "If he wants to enjoy any privacy or anonymity at all, he's pretty much forced to leave this three-mile-radius area."

Following the outburst, Herchwick was rushed to Dr. Hardale's office, where he was asked to lie down and rest while the doctor administered a mild sedative. He was reportedly also offered a cookie.

Early Tuesday morning, WTNK Channel 15 released the following statement: "WTNK and the entire Action News family is deeply saddened by this unfortunate turn of events, but we are confident that Randall Herchwick, or 'Herch' as he is affectionately known, will make it through this crisis and be back to bringing you the same level of telejournalistic excellence and service to his community that has established WTNK as Plefko County's leader for 'News You Can Use.' In the meantime, we ask all of you to keep him in your thoughts and prayers."

Rumors that Herchwick's outburst was the result of a fame-induced drug problem were quashed when lab reports revealed that the news anchor's system contained only over-the-counter antacids and a mild prescription antihistamine. Still, locals said, the strain of Herchwick's local notoriety has taken its toll in recent months.

In this June 6 photo, Herchwick avoids local paparazzi at the Korner Kart convenience store.

According to Wauwatonka resident and regular Action News viewer Eileen Lund, the first sign of trouble came in February, when Herchwick seemed "stressed and even sort of irritable" during the taping of the ordinarily heartwarming "Thursday's Child" segment, during which he reaches out to a child in need. While taking a terminally ill boy on a tour of a cheese factory, the usually cheerful anchorman, Lund said, appeared bored and impatient with the child's questions about cheese and "seemed in a hurry to get the segment over with and go home."

"I watched it with my grandmother," Lund said. "Neither of us were heartwarmed at all, which I thought was unusual."

Over the past few months, Herchwick's behavior has become especially erratic. In April, he began covering his face when exiting his favorite eatery, the Portage Road Sizzler Steakhouse, shielding his identity from Plefko County paparazzi. Since early May, he has been spotted grocery shopping at Banjo's Food Ranch as late as 11 p.m., hoping to avoid the swarms of local fans which plague him whenever he shops in the afternoon. And on June 3, his 1995 Pontiac Bonneville was seen in the lot behind Larry's Tip-Top Inn, where Herchwick had gone, it is presumed, to drown his sorrows in drink.

"I asked him for an autograph for my daughter when Patti Danforth and I took a tour of the WTNK studios with our Daughters Of The Corn group last week," resident Carole Helmsley said. "He sighed heavily and looked a bit pained. Then he said he'd have to go get a picture to sign from the WTNK NewsTruck. But once he went in, he never came back out. It was as if he was deliberately avoiding us."

"If I'd only known the pressure the poor man was under, I wouldn't have asked," Helmsley continued. "All that constant hounding from autograph-seekers must have been too much for him."

Other Wauwatonkans, however, feel little sympathy for the regional luminary.

"Herch knew what he was getting into when he decided to seek local fame, and now that he's grabbed the brass ring, he's got to live with it," said Gus Brinkle, weatherman at rival station WPGN Channel 27. "He wouldn't be here today if it weren't for his fans, but now that he's got the spotlight, suddenly he turns on them and starts complaining about the pressures of celebrity. It's ridiculous. If he can't take the attention, he should never have gotten into this business. It's not all store grand openings and charity fun runs, you know. If you want the glamour and the glory, you've got to be willing to take the bad stuff, too."

"That's the way this crazy rollercoaster that we in the business call 'the fame game' works," Brinkle said.

Will Herchwick recover? At this point, it remains too early to tell. But one thing is certain: For this anchorman, local fame has brought local accolades and adoration, but not without a steep price.

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