by Maria Ingmire
Not every celebrity meeting goes as expected. While it’s not unusual to have a case of nerves, always remember that your nerves will get the best of you when a meeting with a favorite celebrity takes a turn for the worse.
One of my favorite fantasy writers is Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files series. I got hooked some years back (before the awful television show came out), and since then I’ve enjoyed reading about the adventures of wizard detective Harry Dresden. The last time Butcher had come to Dragon Con, I tried to wait in his line for two hours and I still didn’t get to his table for an autograph. He’s one popular guy in the authors’ signing room. Cut to Dragon Con 2013. This time I got in line early and finally got my turn.
“Hello,” I said. “Thanks so much for coming here to the con.”
“Hi,” he said. “I love coming to this con.”
I try to speak to celebrities in a friendly but casual way, as if we sort of know each other through a mutual acquaintance.
“You look great. Love the longer hair. The last time I saw you here you had that buzz cut. Your wife must be enjoying the new look!”
When Celebrity Encounters Go Wrong
Now, the last time Butcher had been a guest at Dragon Con, that time I couldn’t get in to get my books signed, Butcher had appeared with his famous-romance-author wife. At his panel that year he spent a lot of time talking about family life in a household with two writers. I swear I thought I was giving him a compliment. Also, his hair really did look terrific. It was super shiny and healthy looking, like he uses expensive conditioner.
He looked up from the book he was opening up, my copy of Side Jobs, and said, “Actually, we’re divorced now.”
Uh-oh. My hands flew to my face. “Oh no, I am so, so sorry.” Unconsciously, I had taken a step back, as if by stepping back I could rewind time. “I had NO idea.”
“Oh, it’s okay. You didn’t know.” He took pity on me and smiled. Thank you, geek gods.
I got my comeuppance, at the end of the day. The photos my friend took of the encounter are grainy and awful. Neither of my autographs is personalized, either. It’s okay. I’m still a big fan and will check Jim Butcher out at his panels. Think I’ll skip the book signings, though.
This is Jim Butcher politely signing my book after being side-swiped by my “compliment.” See what I mean about his amazing hair?!
The photo op I deserve, blurry and with poor Jim bravely smiling long enough to get rid of me.