Living Out Loud

Brushes With Celebrity


Most people have a story about having a brush or two with celebrity. For some, it's a truly meaningful moment in their lives, something they went out of the way to make happen, perhaps even spent money on, like paying to have your picture taken with William Shatner at Comic-Con. My friend checked her daughter out of school to go meet President Clinton when he stopped in the small town I worked in during the 2012 campaign.  Other times, celebrity encounters happen out of happenstance. My Dad sat next to a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on an airplane. When I was a kid, I saw one of the star players from a national champion college basketball team at an amusement park. I had breakfast one on one with a US senator at McDonalds.

I don't know if celebrities are just normal people, just famous, or not. Michael Jackson sure seemed weird. The first President Bush famously didn't know what a bar code scanner was when he saw one in a store. Bruce Springsteen seems like one of the guys but there is no way he can be after living under a microscope for 50 years, right? As much as I like his music, there is no way in hell I'm spending hundreds of dollars to go to his (or anyone else's) show, though. I'm not into celebrity gossip. I don't know which star is married to which other star, usually.

Social media has muddled things a bit. People I never thought I'd interact with have responded to various tweets and toots through the years. I hear people like John Siracusa on podcasts for years and then one day he's giving me a thumbs up for an observation I made on something. Journalists I've respected and listened to for years are out here on the Internet mixing it up with the common folks. I'm not going to lie; it feels kind of cool.

I respect whatever brings people meaning in their lives. If you've met a celebrity and it makes you feel good to share it, consider this an invitation. Hopefully it was a positive experience and not some horrible case of the clap you caught from a singer or guitar player.

There are also the people who are famous within communities. I have to say that John Siracusa, who I mentioned earlier, has never let me down. John is well known among people in the Apple Tech enthusiast community for the comprehensive reviews he used to write for Ars Technica on new editions of Mac OS X. These days it's his podcast presence that adds to his reputation. 

Unfortunately, positive feelings can and do get spoiled. The guy who writes the well-known Apple focused blog, Daring Fireball, made some pretty backwards statements regarding the war in Israel/Palestine. He's certainly entitled to his opinion. I'm not shy about giving mine. As a result of his politics plus what I feel is a general lack of logical thinking on his part, I stopped reading him. I recently wrote a piece opining that a certain segment of the tech press has just plain lost touch with how normal people use their devices. It doesn't mean I think they are bad people or that they aren't knowledgeable about stuff I'm interested in, it just means they make me roll my eyes from time to time.

I hope to God I never get my 15 minutes of fame. I have way too much baggage for it to ever last and I just wouldn't be good at it.