We have all seen those teenage girls screaming as some celebrity passes in front of them. Some people upon meeting a celebrity become incapable of speaking and are therefore are seen as airhead fan girls (or boys). I myself have a problem with this. No, I don't scream at the sight of Justin Beiber but when meeting writers I become incredibly nervous. Even after 4 years of speech and debate I still feel incredibly inarticulate when meeting authors. My friend and old debate coach, Matt, is the son of a well known apologist. I know and love his entire family but the first time I met Mr. Mittleberg my heart was pounding and I was very nervous. One time we were at a conference about Atheism and refutation to it. During the conference I had a question which I posed to my group. Matt said "Come on let me introduce you to Lee and we can ask him." Lee as in Lee Stroble....yea I was pretty freaked out. I couldn't believe he was so relaxed at introducing me to Lee Stroble! Luckily I ended up talking to Mr. Mittleberg instead and was able to articulate my thoughts a little better. What is the point of this blog post? No it is not to tell y'all of my inability to articulate thoughts when meeting writers but I want to talk about dealing with someone who is famous. Yesterday for 4th of July a whole bunch of my friend gathered together to celebrate the Mittleberg's included. Again I was very nervous when I saw Mr. Mittleberg had come and it got me thinking about fame and how the average person should deal with meeting someone famous. So here are my thoughts:
1. Identify why you admire them
This is the first step. Think about why you are starstruck. Is it just because they are famous?* Are they really successful at something you want to do? I am well aware that the reason I have trouble with talking to authors is because I admire them and respect them. I have gain knowledge through them that I wouldn't have gained otherwise. Without them I wouldn't be as close to God, be able to defend my faith nearly as well. Through authors I have learned about how people think, about places (real or imaginary) I haven't seen or known about, and am spurred to create worlds of my own.
2. Identify why you are nervous
What is the real reason for your anxiety? You know why you admire them but why are you nervous? I mean you admire a teacher or friend yet you don't get starstruck. Is it the fame that changes things? Maybe but I know for me that fame is only part of the problem. The thing is when I admire someone I want to impress them, I want to show them that I have grown because of them. They have had success and especially for an aspiring writer people like Mr. Mittleberg are not just a source of adoration but also role models. And honestly when I have to do something like debate in finals front of someone I admire I become nervous and even more of a perfectionist than I already am. We are just more use to seeing them which would explain why Matt talks to well known apologist with apparent ease. He is use to it so it doesn't bother him as much.
3. Remember they are human
This is the last and final step. Remember that they are human and they started out exactly where you are right now. Take a deep breath and if they talk to you don't freak out! Keep as calm as possible and pretend they aren't famous. That they are just the father of your friend or a teacher or whatever works for you.
*If this is the case then skip to step three and no offense but it might be a good idea to find someone else to admire.