I don’t know what it is about meeting a celebrity that makes me put my foot in my mouth and then cringe forever .
If the celebrity is a writer, I have no problem. I can always admire their latest literary prize or most recent book, even if I haven’t read it. I’m pretty good at mocking up those conversations.
No, my problem is when I come across celebrities from the other areas. For example, one time I ran into a famous feminist lawyer that had been at university with me and found myself raving on about how wonderful she was, and how much I admired her work, all this to my own embarrassment. Not that she didn’t deserve all that praise. But still! Why didn’t I shut up?
A second time it was a well-known comedian, and after praising her work before I knew what I was doing, I was blowing off about young comedians who need better scripts as their acts were too often a series of ill-timed disjointed jokes. The celebrity smiled weakly probably thinking I was really talking about her and made good her escape.
And there was the play held at a private house using well known on TV actors. When I went over to congratulate one, forgetting who she was though she did look familiar, I promised her a bright future and tried to ignore her obvious dismay at my lack of recognition and tact.
And yesterday at a private gathering, a well-known singer accompanied by her guitar playing spouse gave a wonderful rendition of a ninety forties song adding a terrific scat. I was so thrilled I went over to congratulate her, and for some mad reason couldn’t stop talking. I had that weird feeling of standing outside myself, while telling myself to shut up, and the smiles on the performers’ faces wilt with the effort of staying polite.
Is it because we are so star struck with celebrity that once we get within a centimetre of a BIG NAME, that we become stiff, awkward and silly? I thought I was well beyond such adolescent behaviour, but keep rediscovering that I am not. So I have decided the only cure is to become a celebrity myself, only I’m not sure how to make this happen. So little these days is shocking apart from joining ISIS or making some politically offensive statement. So I am left with the idea that all that might turn me into a ‘name’ are my books, and so far I am so distant from celebrity status I don’t think it will ever happen. I can only pray that true celebrities remain at a safe distance and I won’t continue making a fool of myself.