They say “Never meet your heroes,” and I can tell you from experience that it’s good advice. I’ve met all of my idols, and I’ve been disappointed by every single one.
When I found myself face to face with my favorite actor, he ripped my autograph book in half with ease. I don’t remember much after that, but I can tell you firsthand that his hair and teeth are real. And, I will say, it was pretty cool when he let out the trademark roar that’s filled theatres for decades—almost made getting mauled by the M‑G‑M lion worth it. Almost.
I’ll never forget the night I ran into an artist whom I still consider a genius, even though she threw me out of her studio, which I invited myself into. Now, I’m not an art historian or anything, but, as far as I’m concerned, you won’t find a better painting than that famous one with the banana on it. I don’t know what it’s called. “Banana Painting,” maybe? You may have seen it on the news. Anyway, when I witnessed that gorilla putting her God-given talent to use, up close and personal, I froze. Then flew out of GoGo’s cage. Then froze again when the spotlight was turned on me.
It was around this time that I stopped sneaking into zoos at night, but that didn’t make the celebrity encounters any better.
I looked up to the F.D.N.Y., and they burned my house down.
I asked Michael Jordan for a selfie, and he punched me in the face before vigorously washing his hands.
I humiliated both myself and President Barack Obama when he refused to kiss me on the forehead because I wasn’t a baby.
Yep, all of my heroes have let me down, even when I tried to manage my expectations. You can spend hours in line thinking about how things likely won’t go the way you want them to go when you finally get your book signed, but that won’t prepare you for your favorite author writing a message dedicated to someone who isn’t you inside the hardcover you shelled out decent dough for, despite the fact that it’s only going to collect dust on your bookshelf next to your “Family Guy” DVDs. I can understand confusing “Alex” with “Alec,” but “Alex” with “Dorothy”? That’s my aunt’s name. I ended up giving her my signed copy, but only after I ripped out the page with “Your nephew sucks” on it. I suppose I should be happy that the Long Island Medium really is a psychic, but let’s just say that I’m borrowing her next book from the library.
You probably won’t believe me, but I promise I’m not trying to brag when I tell you that I begged Ringo Starr for his drumstick and he threw his drum set at me.
Also, I saw Gallagher gardening.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. On what should have been the greatest day of my life, the day I finally conquered the Meatball Parmasaurus Challenge and was supposed to get my photo taken, for the Wall of Fame, shaking hands with its creator, Fuzzy Fabrizio, whose mustache you’ll find emblazoned on every box—he was clean shaven.
At the lowest of the low, I found God. I said prayers, built shrines, and looked for Him in every single piece of burnt Wonder bread that came out of my toaster, but, when we met outside those pearly gates, She told me to go to Hell.
I don’t know what it is, but I always seem to bring out the worst in people. Maybe it’s the terrible things that I do. Or maybe it’s the horrible things that I say. If you pulled a Taser on me and asked me why, I’d probably tell you that it’s because I care too deeply, before I stomped on your toes and made a break for it.
As it turns out, the netherworld isn’t so bad. It’s so, so, so bad. The Devil is exactly as evil as he is on TV, but way shorter than I thought he’d be—which I really regret having told him. Now, in addition to poking me with his stick, he’s reading over my shoulder while I write this. Ow!