Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Fan Club, Part 2

Previously in this space, I went on a bit about admiring Famous Persons when I was a little guy, and every once in a while writing a Fan Letter. And sometimes receiving an authentic but (understandably) not super-personalized reply in return.

The previous blurb was about Mary Whipple, the US Olympic crew team leader.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook, about my other Brush With Fame, from early October 2009:

 

Tonight I traveled to Concord, MA for the opening event of this year’s Emerson Umbrella book festival. The keynote speaker was Roy Blount, Jr. For those who are unfamiliar, Mr. Blount can be heard as a regular panelist on the NPR current events program ‘Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me,’ and as a frequent guest on ‘A Prairie Home Companion’. He’s the author of twenty-one books, and has written articles for publications ranging from The New Yorker to Sports Illustrated – which, you’ll agree, is a fairly wide range. A native Southerner, he now lives in western Massachusetts. He’s a terrific writer and comes across on the radio as a very funny and insightful gentleman. I presumed he would be that way in person . . . couldn’t imagine it was all an act.

As I sat in the front row of the auditorium, but well over to the side, the chief organizer person of the event asked me if I’d do him a favor: could I make sure that no one sat in the seat next to me? He was going to introduce Roy Blount Jr. in a few moments and wanted to make sure that a seat was available for the man to sit in while the introduction was going on.

It occurred to me that I had been given advance notice of a potential Brush With Fame. If one of those Brushes With Fame were to be thrust upon me unexpectedly, without any warning at all, I imagine that I would try to find something to say that was witty but not stupid, memorable for the right reason, and not overly ‘fannish’ . . . FAIL . . . and then wish I’d had more time to prepare. Well? . . . I had just been given time to prepare.

In the ensuing five minutes, I went through all the things I could say, if saying something were to be appropriate or even possible. I came up with something that I liked, and rehearsed it to within an inch of its life.

I’ll just kill the suspense right here: I said it, got a pleasant response, ad-libbed something else which was also not embarrassing to either of us; and thus was my Brush With Fame complete, and pretty damn satisfactory. (To me. I can’t speak for Mr. Blount.)

But what I’ll remember for a really long time was that when the chief organizer person brought Mr. Blount to his seat, before I could utter a word of my prepared remarks, Roy Blount Jr. stuck out his hand, fully intending to shake mine, and said ‘Hello! My name is Roy Blount Jr. Good to meet you.’

Thus the Famous Author of 21 Books, who was lots more famous and widely well-regarded than anyone in the room, greeted an average person in a way that completely revealed him as someone who didn’t think he was any more special than anyone else, and who not only didn’t rate any overly special attention, but wanted to make sure he properly greeted someone whom he would be sitting next to (however briefly).

If I thought I was a big fan of Roy Blount Jr. before, my previous level of Fan was just a warmup act for my current level of Fan.

And he would probably read this and wonder what I was making all the fuss about.

Buy his books. :)”

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November 4, 2010 - Posted by | celebrity, Famous Persons, literature, writing | , , ,

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