Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Recently The Bloggess posted a blog about how you should not meet your heroes, except you should, because meeting Neil Gaiman was as awesome as she'd built it up to be in her head. She then demanded to know who all of our (the readers) heroes were, whether we wanted to meet them, if we already had, and was it good for us (heh heh). I started to respond, but then realized I was at work, and am not paid to blog (I know, I think I should be too). In any case, that was several days ago, and now not only does she have almost 1,500 replies, but I've missed the contest she was running, although since she already autographed her book for me, in person, I don't really care. Also, I've met a lot of people, and I want to meet a lot more, so this post is gonna be long. I felt she should have the option of ignoring it, although I'm tweeting it to her as soon as I'm done (because she follows me on Twitter, y'all), and also because she is a hero of mine, and I did meet her.

She was AWESOME! She was as funny and self-deprecating in person as she is on her blog, she totally fangirled over Rosie O'Donnell, even though she brought her, who introduced her to all of us salivating fans. Incidentally, Rosie likes my metal chicken. At this point I will point out that Ke$ha (the chicken) was a gift from ArchaeoloChick, because she's awesome and if I don't mention it, she'll give Guinea Pig a box of firecrackers and tell him to throw them at me when I take him to school, and his aim is painfully good. But back to the Bloggess, whose real name is Jenny Lawson. She delightedly signed both my book and my chicken, and she loved the rooster-shaped martini shaker ArchaeoloChick  and I gave her. The reason she's a hero is her ability to see the funny side of life, even when life is profoundly unfunny. She never makes it look effortless, either. She's frank and honest about the things she struggles with, which makes her even more heroic, because someone who has to pick themselves up time and again and keeps on doing so is made of stronger stuff than the one who never falters.

Other Heroes I've Met:
My Chemical Romance
Specifically, Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Ray Toro, and Frank Iero. I got to meet them last time they were in Philadelphia. They did a studio session for a small group of fans, during which they were unfailingly polite (Ray even tossed out a humble "aw, thanks guys" in between songs), each member of the band made a point to shake hands with and greet everyone after the set, despite the radio station employees hustling everyone out like the place was on fire. I managed to babble to Gerard a very strangled, high-pitched, English/howler monkey language hybrid how grateful I'd been to the band for writing the song "Helena", a tribute to the Way brothers' late grandmother, which was released during the same time my own grandmother was living with me during the final stages of a terminal illness. That song may have been the one thing that helped me cope during that time, and Gerard's response was (in non-strangled, low-pitched, fully decipherable English) "I'm glad we were able to help you." Then our brief interaction was over, with Frank reaching out to shake my hand because he hadn't had the chance to do so when I'd said hello to Ray, Mikey, and Gerard (see, polite). They've been my favorite band for a long time, and I don't see that changing--ever, really--but "Helena" is the one thing they've done that I'm beyond fangirling and appreciation for. The gratitude hasn't faltered at all, and I'm lucky that I got the chance to thank them in person.

Christopher Moore
I've done something for Christopher Moore that I've not done before or since. The closest he came to my neck of the woods on his most recent book tour was West Chester, PA, which if you're familiar at all with Pennsylvania, you'll know is located in the great back-ass of fucking nowhere! And since the whole of the state has a public transit system that covers about five miles, the only way to get there was by highway, upon which driving is my second-favorite activity, assuming my favorite is stumbling into a three-story wasps' nest and being stung to a puffy death. I will do almost anything on Earth to avoid driving on a highway, yet if I wanted to meet Mr. Moore, the highway was the only way to go. An hour out and an hour back, the most petrifying two hours of my life (and I've seen From Justin to Kelly). He held court for over an hour, telling us his inspiration and fielding questions with all manner of respect and courtesy, even though some of them were quite frankly stupid, all in all giving everyone present a night of grace and humor. He even staggered the autograph line so that those who had the longest to travel were the first to get autographs and go (note, AnthropoloChick and I were not even close to being the weariest travelers). The first book I ever read that I truly laughed out loud at was Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, a copy I'd found by accident at a closeout sale. I was inspired to learn more and research more through his absurdist humor in all of his novels about such varied subjects as Shakespeare, religion, cargo cults, and marine biology, than I was ever taught as a kid.

Heroes I'd like to meet:
Tom Hiddleston, who may literally be not only the nicest actor on the planet, but the nicest person
Jessicka Addams, wildly gifted artist and thought-provoking feminist
Brianna Karp, writer and homeless advocate, who lived her subject with dignity and strength
Temple Grandin, animal husbandry expert and autism advocate, who used her autism to revolutionize her industry
Daniel Tammet, linguist, mathematician, certified genius, who takes a unique approach to expanding the human mind

Hero I'd have liked to meet:
Maeve Binchy, recently deceased writer who made modern Ireland come alive for me with just words on a page. Even if I never get to go, I can still see it in my eyes, brimming with rich history and characters.

Favorite Heroes:

Stop reading now.

Seriously, it's nauseating.

You don't want to read what I'm about to say, it's cloying and cliche and trite.

You're gonna hurl all over your keyboard. Or your phone. Or your tablet. I don't really know what you're reading this on. Except you. Yeah, you. We both know you're procrastinating, so quit wasting time on this and get your shit done.

Why are you still reading? Do you like to puke?

I fully absolve myself of any up-chucking that may result from reading this.

Fine. You asked for it.

My parents are my heroes. I told you it was cliche and nauseating. But it's a cliche for a reason. I firmly believe that everyone should consider their parents heroes. If you don't, there's something either very wrong with you or with them. If the former, seek help, if the latter, I'm truly sorry that you missed out. And before anyone goes accusing me of currying favor with them by adding them, you should know that if it's not bloopers on YouTube on my dad's iPad, my mom can't find it online. My dad is slightly more proficient, because he can check his email and download the Big Bang Theory whip app onto his phone. It's safe to say they won't read this anytime soon, possibly ever. But despite their flaws in understanding the technology that they can't blame on their age because they are the exact same age as Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs, and William Shatner is 81 and knows how to use fucking Twitter, seriously why can't they ever remember their passwords?!, I find the ability to live with someone for almost thirty years and still be in love with each other (not just loving each other, which is important, but being honest to god in love) pretty heroic. There are places in my life where I always have to be something, some little pieces of me that I have to display and others that I have to hide. At home I can be whatever. I can be tired, or bitchy, or ditzy, or geeky, without fear of censure. Making a safe place for your kids is pretty damn heroic. Dealing with life in general is heroic, and it's more heroic when you have to deal with it in front of someone, day in, day out, letting them see all the cracks and failures. Our public heroes can serve as inspirations and guides, but just like anyone else, we only see what they allow us to see. Even when they discourse about their failings, it's after the fact, once the storm has passed. It's brave and honest to do that, but it's even braver when you let people see you in the middle. It's a silent, suffering way to show the people who idolize you that as bad as it is right now, as bad as it will be again, this is life, and this is how you deal with it. And it will get better.

Moral of the story: Meet the shit out of your heroes. You run the risk that they will disappoint you, but the giddy feeling that you get when they prove themselves worthy of the title is unbelievably good. Like wine without the hangover or chocolate without the weight gain.

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC post... I love Jenny Lawson's blog... and I'm glad to see others reading it... I felt like a total nut job posting my review of her book since I never saw hide-nor-hair of it on most of the book blogs that I follow... which makes me think I need more book blogs to follow. -_-

    I don't think there's anything wrong with your parents being your heroes.
    It's no more cliche than a teacher being your hero... but that doesn't make it less true... they're the people who influence your daily life, and when they do that positively, they deserve to be looked up to.

    Other people inspire us from afar... but parents inspire us directly and motivate us... and let's face it, are there for US. There is no better cheerleader/supporter/believer than a good parent.

    Also... I'm forcing everyone to read Let's Pretend This Never Happened.
    Not much force is involved though, once they pick it up, they can't put it down. XD