04/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

If She Loves Her Job, She Can't Be an Actress

When I was younger, I never liked people who would say, "Well, things were certainly better when I was younger. People just didn't blah, blah, blah then."

I always thought that was a swipe at my Baby Boomers generation, and I didn't like it.

Lately, though, every Boomer I know says things like, "Well, things were certainly better when I was younger." Frequently, they add: "Our celebrities were more polite, nicer and smarter."

I'm happy to announce that this isn't entirely true. I flew back from New York this weekend (here comes the plug: after my first production meetings for the Broadway show, Promises, Promises, which opens April 25). I knew I was sitting next to someone important because everyone who walked past our row as they were boarding pointed, whispered, smiled, gulped and/or stopped to gush or ask for an autograph (some on various body parts).

The one time I hadn't brought my laptop with me on the plane, I so wanted to Google or Bing or Yahoo to find out who my seatmate was. People were calling her "Polly" or "Paulie" or something like that. She was the sweetest and most patient person I had ever seen.

She was adorable: tall, thin, dark ponytail, sweet, considerate, polite, friendly. She took time to speak with everyone, answered their questions, directed traffic in the aisle, told the stewardesses stories that made them laugh, and didn't flinch no matter what the request was.

As soon as we landed, I retrieved my laptop and discovered she is Pauley Perrette, co-star of NCIS.

In retrospect, maybe I didn't recognize her because she told me, "I love my job." I had never heard an actress say that, so I guess I assumed she wasn't an actress, even though she was reading a script.

Thanks, Pauley, for a good six hours and some important lessons. I'll remember them next time I start to say, "Well, things were certainly better..."

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