Have you ever seen someone you know on a billboard? Not someone everybody knows, like a “celebrity” or your local “Becky Queen of Carpets,” but someone you personally actually just know?

Recently I was on my way to the airport dropping off my friend, Johnna (yes that’s how it’s spelled and you pronounce it ‘Johnnuh’), her son, and his girlfriend, who were on their way to Hawaii.

Since it was 5am on a Sunday, my friend drove while I drank my coffee, semi-comatose, just looking out the window…

All of a sudden I saw my friend Ann’s brother Tom on a billboard. I almost jumped out of the car! “Hey-” I shouted, “that’s Tom Crawford!” My friend and the others had no idea who I was referring to, of course, since he’s not yet a household name.

How, you ask, could I tell it was him since it was before sunlight and before my full intake of coffee and while going 60 mph?

Well, I had just seen him in a TV commercial for a bank. What was memorable about that commercial (besides the fact that I knew someone in it) was that it had a group of people riding these pea-green bikes.

When I saw it, it was unexpected and yet again I said “Hey-that’s Tom Crawford!” (but surprisingly Girl the beagle didn’t seem to care).

Almost every time I’ve seen him over the past 10+ years (except for his wedding reception) it’s been unexpected like that. Just a couple of weeks ago my sister and I rented Charlie Wilson’s War when all of a sudden I shouted “Hey- that’s Tom Crawford!”

And there he was – in the FBI (CIA?) office with Philip Seymour-Hoffman, who broke the glass that the janitor (Tom’s character) had just replaced on an office wall. So of course, we had to rewind and re-watch him a couple of times while I got all screechy again.

I usually see emails listing the roles he’s got coming out in, but who the hell remembers Charlie Wilson’s War 1+ years before it comes out?!

So I end up seeing him by surprise like this in commercials, in Apollo 13, Air Force One, Ally McBeal, Scrubs (in one of my favorite scenes: the Todd gets a wedgie from the Janitor and sails by Tom Mr. Peele’s window. Episode is called “My Missed Perception.”)

I can’t imagine what else I’ve missed him in, but I will check his IMDB entry again: <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0186976/>

In case you don’t know anyone in the ‘wood like I do ::blushes with pride:: I’ll just tell you how much fun it is to see someone you actually know when they’re on tv, in a movie, on a billboard, etc., especially when you’re not expecting it and when he deserves it. He’s a total sweetheart and I’m so happy for his success.