I can never get what the big deal is about celebrities. They’re just people who happen to have specific talents or abilities, be it in performing arts, sports, etc. But they’re still just people, aren’t they?

I saw my first celebrity in person when I was 3. My parents brought me to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan (1969. We lived in Brooklyn at the time so it wasn’t a far hike) and I distinctly remember seeing Ronald McDonald on a float. I don’t think I was really impressed per se as much as I was confused about why he was out there on the streets of Broadway and not in my television set at home.

My next celeb sighting was when I was 10 or so. I had an aunt who lived in California and she came to visit us for a few days. We picked her up at the airport and as she was waiting to get her luggage, one of us noticed that Richard Thomas (“John Boy” on ‘The Waltons’ TV show) was standing nearby. Apparently he had been on the same plane as my aunt. My mother suggested I get his autograph but I was still painfully shy at the time (for those of you who know me in person, yes I really WAS shy as a child) and all I could do was stand behind him and stare. Oh, and I reached out and touched his coat once or twice. Oooooo….!

I shook hands with U.S. Men’s Ice Skating champion Scott Hamilton when we went to see him in the Ice Capades in the mid-1980’s. Well, it was kind of less of a handshake and more of a high five. Well, it was actually less of a high five and more of a “touch whatever part of the hands of the people who have their hands out as he skated past them” sort of thing. He touched my right middle and ring fingers. I was only about 18 years old and didn’t have very much life experience, so I still thought it was the coolest thing and I didn’t plan to ever wash my fingers again. That lasted until my next foray into the Ladies’ room and that was the end of that.

I think my “unimpressment” (is that a word? I doubt it. But hey, it makes my point.) started not long after that, when I became an über fan of the Monkees, when I was about 20. I went to a lot of their reunion show concerts in the mid-late 1980’s and got to meet/get the autographs of Davy, Mickey and Peter (Mike not so much…he wasn’t around) many times over, as well as stalk lurk watch them from afar.  Anyway, being able to watch/talk with those guys so often helped me to eventually understand that they (at the time, THE biggest celebrities in MY little, teeny tiny world) were just ordinary people, who had the same good and bad qualities as anyone else – they just happened to sing and sometimes play their own instruments for a living, instead of deliver mail, teach 8th grade science or sell cell phones at a mall kiosk. It definitely changed my attitude about the concept of “celebrities.” Those thoughts have followed me through ever since, with whoever I’ve met.

Talent and ability are nice but people are more than that. That’s not to say that I don’t care about individuals’ talents; far from it – I’m still very impressed with several peoples’ abilities to sing, act, write, put together something special, make me laugh, etc., just as I may be impressed with a terrific restaurant worker, or a well-behaved 2-year-old at a movie theater But they’re all still just people and no matter how remarkable their abilities are, they may be a sweet as pie or they may be self-centered, spoiled, gross, phony, unfriendly unpack your adjectives twits in “real life.” Not that I’m necessarily going to meet them; in fact, chances are that I won’t. But whether I do or not, in the back of my head I always remember that they’re only human and may not be “all that”, once you go past their abilities. So I tend to think of them and, when applicable, treat them as I would anyone else.  That’s probably why I have so little interest in celebrity scandal either – Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, Anna Nicole Smith, et al…they’re all human and have a right to their privacy. Despite whatever and however much the media tries to shove down my throat, it’s really none of my business and I try to treat it as such.

But that’s me. And it’s already been well-established that I’m weird.  <^_^> Besides, I’ve had my own brushes with fame. Well, sort of. But we’ll save that for another day…