I am a big fan of a standup comedian named Chris Hardwick. Chris, in addition to being a delightful standup arteeste, hosts a variety of shows on G4 and has a website (http://www.nerdist.com/) and has a podcast that I listen to and apparently has written a book and talks at comic-cons, etc. I found out that he was performing on Friday (yay!) in Brooklyn (boo!), so I bought tickets for Cricket and m’self and we trundled off to deep dark Hipsterville to enjoy comedy. I wanted a good seat, so I got there at 5:39 p.m. (doors opened at 6:30). Aaaaaand I was the only person there. Like, the only person on the whole block. In fact, since this was in the heart of Hipsterville (everyone, and I mean EVERYONE I passed had one or some of these: a fedora; a beard; tight pants that ended way too high on the leg; a bicycle; argyle; dorky glasses; a guitar; stupid hair; a sullen expression) I could not find the theater because there was no sign or indication of its location. When I eventually found the damn place, I parked myself outside and immediately regretted getting there so early since the building next door was a seafood supply warehouse and, every time the wind shifted, an odor of “rotting clams in the sun” wafted past me. Eventually other Hardwick fans showed up and I was pleased that they were total stereotypes of the gamer/computer nerds: pudgy, dorky people who were somewhat uncomfortable in their skin and therefore stood around poking their fingers at their iPhones/Droids. Even though I would classify myself as an art/animal nerd, I felt like these were “my people”.
I don’t know if everybody does this, but if I like a product that someone is making that they spend their own money on and give away for free (like podcasts) I often send them something. You know, a “thanks for making this, please continue to do so” kind of thing. So I brought a card with some money in it and a print of my pirate tugboat drawing. The show was terrific, and except for the girl sitting next to me who smelled like she had rolled around in dry cat food, it was a great experience. Afterwards, you could go and meet Chris, so a big ole line formed and I waited my turn to say hello and give him my baggie with the stuff in it. Now, I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but I hate being in this situation. I call it the 100% situation. The person you want to meet, the person you admire, he or she has 100% control of the situation. You already know how cool or interesting they are. They need to prove nothing. YOU, on the other hand, have exactly two seconds to not appear boring or crazy or weird. You have zero percent control. And no matter what I do in this moment, I give the impression of being “off”. Always. ALWAYS.* When I got to the front of the line, I just tried to be gracious. I think I gave the impression of being soft in the head, which is better than being a stalker or whatever (“I need a snippet of your hair to finish my doll!!!”). Chris gave me a hug and thanked me for being there, he could not have been sweeter. I actually felt a little odd hugging him because…you know when you watch men on TV, you assume they’re about six feet tall. And then you see them in person and you’re like, whoa, not what I expected. Chris is about 5′ 7″, but he has the proportions of a much taller man, which means he has a small head and a thin frame and itty-bitty hands. He is what my mother would call “fine-boned”. When I hugged him, I was scared I would crush him like a wee robin in my hand. But no one was smothered, he got my package, all was well. Here’s a picture of him all normal-like:
And here’s a picture of him dressed as Princess Leia.
*An example of me meeting important people and failing: At my old company, there were two elevator bays – one that went to all the floors, and one for the executives to go straight to their floor. I, being a peasant, rode on the all-floors elevator. One day, the CEO of all of North America gets on with me. Just him and me, all alone in that tiny enclosed space. I was so nervous I would say something stupid to him (“Ha ha! Your skin has some damage, I see. Is that from teenage acne, or smallpox, perhaps?”) that I turned around and shoved my face into the corner, Blair Witch-style. No joke. I have no idea what he thought I was doing. I must have looked insane. Not good with the first impressions, I am.