The story of how I finally met one of my idols... and completely screwed it up.
By Michael Kras (Actor, Director, Playwright)
They say that you should never meet your heroes. I now think that's because there's a good chance that you'll come across as a creepy stalker. And with that, allow me to begin my story.
As you can see from my byline, I'm a playwright. And the other night, I attended the premiere of a new show by one of my idols... a young, extremely talented up-and-comer in the playwriting world (who shall remain nameless). I'm a big fan of this playwright's work... you might even say I consider her an inspiration. Now, I've seen quite a few of her shows but have never had the opportunity to meet her.
So I get to the theatre, buy my ticket, and tell my friend I'm heading upstairs to the bathroom. I start climbing the stairs and, as I do, I see the playwright descending toward me.
And this is where it all starts to go downhill.
I have a mild panic attack and refuse to look anywhere in the vicinity of her, let alone make eye contact. I pick up the pace and zip up the stairs. Afterwards, as I'm sitting in the theatre and waiting for the show to begin, I try to think up an impromptu script I could use should I end up talking to this playwright after the show. I decide I'll tell her how much I enjoyed her piece and that I'm also a playwright. A longer discussion may even come out of it, who knows?
The house lights dim, the show begins and ends, and I head out to the lobby. My friend and I wait around a bit, and I stall with the hope that the playwright will eventually emerge. At this point, we're the only two people left in the lobby... everyone else has surprisingly left already. Lo and behold, she then emerges from the theatre, clipboard in hand, walking swiftly past me. In my head, I say "Michael, you've gotta do this. It's now or... a very long time from now."
I could have been a normal person. I could have done something sane to get her attention like say her name, or even just 'Excuse me'. But I decide to try to counter the fact that I'm incredibly nervous by feigning confidence. And here's where things go even further downhill.
She's about to pass me, so I lunge forward, shove my arm out, and blurt out "I'M MICHAEL!"
She stops, and turns to look at me with a facial expression I can only assume is the same one people make when they're about to be murdered.
I stand there, continuing to hold my arm in front of her and saying nothing. My entire mental script has completely wiped itself out. She gingerly grabs my hand, shaking it and introducing herself. And when she tells me her name, I say "I know".
I KNOW!? NowshethinksI'mastalkerohmygodohmygodohmygod.
I try to think of something, anything I can say to help alleviate the tension. All I can come up with is "I REALLY... UMM... REALLY ENJOYED YOUR SHOW TONIGHT." She thanks me and says she appreciates hearing that. I then close things off ever so gracefully with "YEAH. WELL, UH... GOODNIGHT" as I head for the door and run off shamefully into the night.
That was it. I didn't get to tell her I'm a playwright as well. I didn't get to ask her any questions about her success or how to break into 'the biz'. I just got to humiliate myself in front of one of the people I look up to and admire.
But there's a moral to the story: It's never not going to be nerve-wracking to meet one of your idols. Just embrace it. In a twisted way, it'll actually make things easier than doing what I did. Trying to act confident when I was practically Jello was my big mistake and it made things worse than they could have been. If you're ever in a situation like mine, just relax, breathe, and take your time with it. Otherwise, you might end up doing the Walk of Shame like me.
Maybe someday soon I'll get a chance to meet her again and it'll be easier to talk. All I know is, I'm not going to let this sort of thing happen again. My lack of a criminal record depends on it.
Question of the Day: Have you ever met one of your heroes? How did it go? Drop a comment!