I FIRST REALIZED I'D BECOME A celebrity when a colleague chucked the January issue of Regardie's magazine onto my desk and said gleefully, "Congratulations, pinhead. You made the list!"
List? What list?
It was the "Power Elite" list, of course -- Regardie's compilation of "the one hundred most influential people in private Washington." There I am, on Page 55, right along with the mega-wealthy Hafts, pe`re et fils, Henry Kissinger and Edward Bennett Williams.
The reason I'm included, it seems, is that my job at the Associated Press entails putting together the Washington Daybook. (For the uninitiated, this is an essential media fixture: a detailed calendar of just about every newsworthy event taking place in the nation's capital each day.) Virtually every news director in Washington relies on either the AP Daybook or the United Press International's Daybook (UPI staffer Brian Wallace made the list, too). Ergo, the Daybook editor must be a pretty influential guy, right?
Well, as even Regardie's points out, the job isn't exactly glamorous. It can even be tedious, Sometimes stupefyingly so. In addition to high-level White House and Foggy Bottom happenings, we also list things such as seminars on wastewater treatment ("Pardon, ma'am, is that sewage or sewerage?"). You get the idea. Power-brokering can be a pretty dirty business.
Has my life style changed now that I'm officially one of Washington's Big Enchiladas?
Well, for one thing, the quality of my junk mail has improved. Ads touting investment-quality rare coins and travel services ("To meet the needs of the busy executive . . .") have replaced those extolling the virtues of diesel engine repair and locksmithing as viable career options. And people say things like "Well, how's Mr. Influence this afternoon?" Has a nice ring to it, even if I do detect a weensy bit of sarcasm.
I'm also getting letters from people I haven't heard from in years, which isn't always so wonderful. One especially obnoxious PR guy I thought I'd ditched in 1982 sent me a Christmas card with a gravy stain on it. It came a month late and the word "congratulations" was misspelled. It's the thought that counts, I guess.
Anyway, I've got to go. A local utility is on Line 6 with a water-main flushing schedule it wants logged in the Daybook. And someone is on Line 7, too. It just might be Joe Allbritton wanting to do lunch sometime.