“Living in the Limelight, the universal dream
For those who wish to seem;
But those who wish to be…”
Hero worship is a strange, curious thing.
You admire someone you don’t really know, for whatever reason, and you start to build a pedestal out of what you imagine about them. And then when you do meet them, you have all these expectations of how the meeting will go and, again, what the person must be like. Inevitably there’s a let-down.
Or at least, that’s what my experiences have been like, as a hero-worshipper.
It’s also really odd being the hero-worshippee. You think, “What does this person mean they’ve always wanted to meet me? I’m just, this, person, ya know? I do what I do and like what I like and whatever.” And you get a bit of “What if I don’t live up to this person’s expectations of me?” (spoiler: see the word “inevitably” above).
So why do we do it?
Last year, around SL9B, I started to get to know people whose names I had heard before, people I called “Somebodies.” Some, I was familiar with their work and really love what they do and was very excited to meet them. Some, I got the impression were jerk-faces who really turned out not to be. OK, one. And that one said something to me that really stuck: “There are no Somebodies. Anyone who isn’t himself is Nobody.” And of all the people I met last summer, that one “jerk-face” is the one I’d most likely call a friend.
So when someone came up to me and said, “OMG Mistletoe! THE Mistletoe!” my first thought was, “WTF did I do to earn a definite article?” But then I thought, whatever the reason, something I’ve done made an impression on him, a good one, and while he doesn’t really know ME, he does know my work and THAT is what he’s complimenting. So I just said, “Thank you.”
Then later I thought, “That was weird.”