JJ Vincent knows that when he runs into a pop-icon he truly admires, he will end up being totally un-cool. And he’s cool with that.
I’d like to dedicate this to my friend H, who I have always thought was the coolest, least flappable guy ever, capable of meeting icons of the literary and music worlds with a casual handshake and nod, the most Dude-like dude in existence.
I was wrong.
He inadvertantly, in a totally random situation, crossed paths with one and became a slobbering, babbling, 13-year-old fanboy. He did recover and have an adult conversation, but not before revealing to everyone in the general vicinity that even 40-something men can be reduced to “duhhhhh” idiots.
I know the feeling well.
I have been “that guy”, the guy who swears that if he ever meets X or Y or Z, or someone like them, he will just be cool and talk to them and maybe hang out, whatever….and when the moment comes, he utterly and completely fails. Many times over.
Celebrities seem to be just part of our daily lives. They are on our TVs, our computers, our cell phones, our print media, whether they are the entertainment or the news. These are not the people I’m talking about. I’m talking about the people who are iconic to you, the people who by their art or music or abilites or inspiration or accomplishment have made an indelible impression in your life, the people who you would give almost anything to have 15 minutes with, just to listen to them talk or watch them work or play.
The people who you, in short, dream of meeting.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve played the “What-if” game. What if I met so-and-so? What would I so? What would I say? Maybe you’ve even played out the meeting in your head, scripting it in different (often impossible) scenarios, voicing both or all roles.
It’s highly unlikely that this fantasy involves multiple OMGs, near-hyperventilation, and the desperate tumble of thoughts through your mind, “Do I ask for an autograph? A picture? Wait, my cell camera is not working, crap, omg did I just ask that, ok, he is not laughing at me, facepalm on the kindergarten rookie screwup.”
You’d like to think this would not happen, that you will be Dude-cool. You won’t be. At least once.
I’ve been uncool more than my fair share of times. You can’t go to Comic-con for 17 years without meeting someone who makes you totally lose your marbles. I’ve handflapped at the illustrator of a popular card game, jumped up and down and clapped when getting the autographs of the cast of a certain “geek comedy”, hoped to goodness I made sense the first time I met Henry Rollins (still not sure I did), and done something so mind-numbingly stupid that it can only be summed up this way….when someone famous admires the buttons on your lanyard and asks about them, GIVE HIM ONE. Sorry Mr. O’Donnell, I’ll know better next time.
I will admit to hanging on to my dignity on a few occasions.
I’ve been to a number of non-Comic-con events where I’ve crossed paths with the awesome. I’ve met my top three favorite authors and did not turn into a goofball. I met an icon in the queerlit community and hung out with her. I met a legendary comic book artist and we talked about a long-forgotten 80’s TV show he was part of. I said complimentary things to two actors I love without needing a babble-to-english translator. I was a semi-regular call-in guest on a radio show and did not lose my cool, even though the host was a legend in her field.
But truly, when it comes right down to it, I am a fanboy.
Meeting the people who make or have made a difference in our lives is, for most of us, not a common occurance. So I think when we have their attention for 20 seconds, we try to cram all of our admiration and sentiment and enthusiasm into 16, with 4 left over for a photo. The anticipation has us red-faced and breathless, even if it is a chance meeting and we have about 3 seconds to decide what to say and how to act. We start out behind the eight ball. Add to that the rapid-fire speech and cup-runneth-over excitement and you have a recipe for risking being “Fanboy Idiot of the Week” on someone’s website.
But that doesn’t stop us, does it? It’s kind of nice to revert back to being a starry-eyed little kid in the face of a larger-than-life personalities. When they notice you back, for a moment you feel special, like you are part of some elite group.
And as weird and sometimes inadvertently obnoxious as we fanboys are, I think our icons can handle it.
We do, however, apologize in advance if we drool a little.
photo: RyC – Behind the lens / flickr