But Celebs are People I Like More Than Most
When I can't sleep, I like talking to George Clooney and Brad Pitt. No, I'm not a crazy person - well, okay, maybe a bit - but I know I'm not actually talking-talking to them, just projecting my best bits onto personalities because it generally works better than counting sheep. Pitt is cuter than the sheep I'd count anyway (yes, still).
Here's how a typical scene in my head goes:
A swishy Hamptons-esque BBQ in Jack Nicholson's backyard. I have given a talk about the Internet, which for some reason, Clooney and Pitt attended. Nicholson is, of course, throwing the after-party, because I guess he too values the Internet.
Clooney: "something something witty, suave, ha ha ha."
Pitt: "something, something, earnest point about the state of the world."
Me: "clever, clever, hilarious."
We all laugh.
Can I just point out, also, that in these brain scenes of mine, nothing AT ALL romantic happens? I just make these two guys laugh. Sometimes I make Timothy Olyphant show up and laugh at my jokes too and we share a conversation about our mutual love of Bourbon, but that's as x-rated as it gets.
Why Do I Talk to Celebs In My Head?
When I was little, I was shy. When I was a teenager, I was awkward. (Yes, DESPITE my fashionable haircut I thought made me look like Bridget Fonda - but really made me look like an awkward boy - and my red jeans and my braces, I was still awkward. Hard to believe.)
When I was all ages, I was taken with glamour. People who knew how to enter a room and say the right thing, wear the right thing. People whose hair was always right. People who had naturally straight teeth. People who lost weight when they were stressed (jerks). People who could make everyone laugh. People who didn't stay up all night before the first day of high school AND university worried that they'd end up sitting alone at the cafeteria. (Good news: I didn't sit alone.) These were the people I admired.
I started practicing my conversations on these people - my take on these people anyway. River Phoenix helped me practice my best Manic Pixie Dream Girl lines before that was even a thing. Jack Nicholson was my confidant. These folks - imaginary friends, really - allowed me to project my most vulnerable thoughts on them and always laughed at my new material.
Why Am I Telling You This Stupid Story About How I Talk to Celebrities?
Today I walked down King Street in Toronto and International Film Festival MANIA is in high gear. This reminded me of my past life. Eventually, the awkward teenager grew up to be a (still pretty awkward, but hopefully funnier) twenty-something, who moved from the Maritimes to the bit city.
She got a job - wait for it - INTERVIEWING CELEBRITIES. That's right kids, my imaginary glam friends started appearing before me IN THE FLESH (well, more often, over the phone ... but still, you get it).
This was IT - my shot at making a lasting, amusing impression on the genre of human I'd so long admired. What happened? Here are some highlights:
1. I panicked and called Sting "Mr. Sting".
2. I told Joey from NKOTB "I liked you SO MUCH when I was 12" over steak.
3. I sat in front of Viggo Mortensen and went totally, absolutely MUTE during a small round table interview at the Toronto International Film Festival and just nodded. That's it. Nodded.
In short - I said NOTHING of any value AT ALL. Not one thing. All those years, those eons of having sparkling Vicious Circle-esque dialogue with the type of folks I idolized, went to waste.
So What Is the Point of This Stupid Post About Celebs?
Despite not saying anything wonderful in person, I still use celebs as my sounding board in my head. As I said earlier, Clooney hears from me all the time, specifically between the hours of 3:30am and 4:15am when I am trying to stop panicking about the fact my alarm will ring before I can EVEN FALL BACK TO SLEEP. I think it's good to practice your thoughts, your best bits, your conversations on people who will always accept you. Over time, the practice has made me less nervous in a room full of strangers.
I mean, for a while after I learned Clooney was engaged I was miffed and started talking exclusively to Michael Fassbender, but he's just SO SERIOUS that it wasn't as much fun. I've since forgiven Clooney for his romantic pursuits and have resumed our nightly chats. Miraculously, they picked right up where they left off.
ANYWAY, all this to say that a little imagination is worth holding onto, even though it's super lame and silly. Kids are lame and silly too and we all think they're pretty great. They're also imaginative. So yes - THERE WE GO - I FOUND MY THESIS GUYS - Imagination. Hold onto your imaginary friends, the ones who saw you through the tough times, the ones who thought you were just the best even when you were a super nerd. The ones you had grand adventures with. Your imagination and how it chooses to come to life can see you through a lot, can help you practice articulating your innermost thoughts, can help you tell stories and give you confidence.
So, you know, thanks George.