Meeting a celebrity, no matter how famous, will put you in a weird place.
What do I say? I don’t want to embarrass myself. I hope I don’t talk to them about something that relates to a different celebrity.
This is compounded when the said celebrity is related to a good friend. The kind of friend who will love to tell stories on you.
That was the precise predicament I found myself in recently. I was surprised to know the special guest for our church’s turned out to be more than I anticipated. I knew the artist performing was related to a long time friend, and what do you expect when the artist is a relative of a friend. No comment. Oh, I happened to be running partners with this friend’s husband. We ran two marathon’s together.
That is right, he was my guide in two marathons six years ago. Well, almost two marathons. The second marathon, I left him to run the final few miles alone. I really wanted to meet my goal, so I went it alone and blind. That is a crazy story for another time. But my partner’s family told on us many times both out of humor and admiration, stories of accidentally running into bicyclists, fire hydrants and fences. Joe and I had good times.
Now, as the evening’s entertainment is being introduced, I find out she used to be the lead singer of Mayfair Laundry
I knew that band from the 90s as they were a cool rock band, and one of those cool bands with a girl singer. I like new stuff as much as the next guy, but I have to admit, I was yearning for some vintage 90’s rock from the defunct band’s lead singer. But we live in the now, and we got to hear Kim Dexter’s new stuff
Her husband and founder of the alt-rock band, Mayfair Laundry worked the board in the back. Turns out he won a Grammy for some of his other work too. We were in the midst of greatness, and I barely knew. My mind was blown.
I sat enjoying the night thinking the whole time, why didn’t my friends tell me their relatives were so cool. Or maybe they did, and I just missed it. Isn’t that how it goes. We always think our relatives are way more incredible, and everyone we brag about them too cynically never believes it.
At the end of the night, I thought I would tell my friend that she should be embarrassed that she never told me her brother was that cool. I would have begged ahead of time for some rock from my prime rocking out years.
Then she had the unmitigated gall to want to introduce me. Oh no, I told her. This is a good story for you to tell around the dinner table. But she insisted. I was done for. Was I really going to talk to a guy about his glory days? I had nothing witty to say. Oh boy. Now, I was going to really look silly. I had no way out as she yelled across the room for her brother Paul. Paul, she shouted again. He was coming, and the meeting was inevitable.
But then she started talking as she introduced me. She did not play up how much I wanted to know the guy who won a Grammy or started a cool band. Nope, she introduced me as the guy she had told so many stories about. I was the guy who ran into all those things with Joe.
The tables were turned on me. Now, I was the celebrity. Well, celebrity of sorts. I became the one whose reputation preceded him. And I was embarrassed for an altogether other reason. My false humility, which is more faux than humble turned me into a sheepish guy who looked to get out of that situation quicker than a dog runs away with the cookie it stole off the table.
Maybe next time, I meet a celebrity it will go better. Have there been any times you did not know what to say? How did you react?