I don't really understand the weird fetishization of celebrity in the US. It seems that everyone wants to meet someone famous and get a piece of them. What's up with autographs? What does it mean that you got someone you admire to sign a piece of paper?
I understand the desire to meet and talk to the people I admire. But, going up to a famous person and being able to enter a real conversation with them is absolutely impossible. Because nuts stalk famous people, they must always be on their guard.
Because I feel this way, I have never approached anyone to shake their hand or get an autograph -- it's utterly meaningless. Besides, there are very few people in the world whos stature I would consider worthy of an autograph. I almost walked over one of them a couple of weeks ago.
During my last trip to San Francisco, my friend Terry and I went to Beethoven's opera Fidelio. Terry was calling home, so I was walking around the beautiful opera house. As I rounded a corner, I came upon a really elaborate wheel chair. I thought to myself "Wow, that's a really elaborate Stehen-Hawking-style wheel chair". Then I walked around the front and nearly bumped into...Stephen Hawking! I remembered reading that he was in town lecturing in San Jose while I was in San Francisco. Of course, even if I wanted to get something silly like an autograph, his advanced state of Lou Gerhig's disease would make it cumbersome. As much as I'm not star struck, it was a little amazing to be so close to such a great man. If ever there was someone worthy of adoration, I would vote for him long before the pop star of the week. I hope he enjoyed the opera!