On Meeting the Rich and Famous and Being the Poor and Dorky.

Photo by Siebbi

Have you ever met a famous person? Yeah? How did you act? Were you calm? Cool? Smooth? Totally not impressed by their fameosity?

I've always imagined myself being that way. You know, Madonna would walk up to me while I'm nonchalantly blocking her entrance into Ben & Jerry's and she'd say, "Excuse me." And I'd say, "Mmmsorry. I'm in line here." And she'd say, "Do you know who I am?" Then I'd look her up and down, furrow my brow, purse my lips (which, by the way, why do we use that word? Purse the lips? Do we fill them with a bunch of stuff we don't really need plus our driver's license, credit card, hair brush, lip gloss, and bag of chocolate açai berries, and then snap them shut? Hmm. Maybe I should say "pucker" instead), put my hand on my hip, shift my weight back, and say, "Do I know who you are? Why? Don't you?" Or maybe, "Yeah, I know who you are. YOU'RE THE CHICK I'M GOING TO GO ALL CHUNKY-MONKEY ON IF YOU DON'T BACK OFF AND LET ME BEN-&-JERRY IN PEACE."

Except nicer.

But that's never what happens. What happens instead is this (The Following Is Shamefully True):

Chaim Potok–American Jewish Rabbi and esteemed author of The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev–visits the University at which I am a student. As members of the university speaker's committee we are to meet him, greet him, wine him (except this is BYU, so we punch him. Fruit punch I mean), dine him, and otherwise entertain him with sparkling conversation. Everyone is in awe of this man. Everyone makes scintillating comments and asks bright questions. My tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth like velcro. Then all of a sudden Mr. Potok notices me staring into my matzoh and he asks me a question. I drop my spoon, whip my eyes around the room in case there are any other Janiel's present (there aren't), swallow the dust bunnies in my throat, and with great wit reply: Flggglisplggrty spliggffhhzzzezzxxixx blatt."

That's a direct quote.

No idea what happened. Wait. Yes I do. My brain had fallen out under the brilliance of this man's public and personal persona, and landed in my challah.

And it did the same thing when I met Gerald Ford (yep, that Gerald Ford), Tony Orlando, Donny Osmond (I know, right?)–even the hott neighbor who I didn't notice was hott because I am happily married but he had an amazing chest, er smile. Couldn't even hold my braincells together for him. (You can read about it here. Long as you don't tease me about it. I mean it.)

This is pitiful. I mean, famous people are just people, right? They put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us do. OMIHEART I WOULD GIVE MY FIRST KID TO SEE CHRIS HEMSWORTH DO THAT.



I don't know what it is about people being visible that makes us put them up on pedestals. Maybe it's all that confidence they exude. That surety. That ability to do something great. We all want people out there who know what's going on and are bigger than we are. Maybe that's it. 

Or else they're just really AWESOME-BLOSSOM-SCHMAWSOM!


(photo of Chris Hemsworth by  mseckington)

About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I see you know how I feel.

    I like to imagine that if I ever met someone I admire, like Joe Hill or John Scalzi, that I would be totally cool and be all, “Oh, hey. How’s it going?”…but I can barely be that way with normal people, much less my heroes. So, perhaps it’s best that I never go to Comic-Con and save myself the embarrassment that would be sure to follow.

    • Yeah, except that you imagined yourself being nice, I imagined myself getting all in their face. So of the two of us, I think you’d do better at Comic-con. And maybe you should go. Maybe being around all those famous people would act as a vaccine and you’d be fine from then on.

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