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They Say to Never Meet Your Heroes

·368 words·2 mins

They say to never meet your heroes. And when they do, it’s usually because it’s harder to put someone up on a pedestal once you’ve seen them up close. That a lot of people you’ve admired from afar — really, admired the idea of them and not the reality of them, since you’ve never had a chance to really encounter them — will disappoint you up close.

You might run into them at a party and they might be incredibly rude to you, even though you had to work magic in order to arrive at said party.

What starts out as a magical encounter to you might register as an annoyance to them, when you catch them on an off-day, at an off-moment, when they’re low energy and not “on.”

So they say never to meet your heroes. Because this is all true. These things do happen. It’s incredibly common for people to be disappointed when meeting their heroes. In fact, it’s rather noteworthy when celebrities pan out in real life as well — so rare that it becomes a kind of meme. The beloved, late Betty White (a darling). The legend of kind Keanu gracing everyone with his friendly polite manner, sad as he may be when captured at a hungry moment.

These “good up close” folks become legends for a reason. It’s rarer than our sense of justice, of fairness, dictates that it should be — that a celebrity is pleasant up close, universally, in large doses.

And this is a good reason never to meet your heroes. But it’s not the only one.

For there can be another reason not to meet your heroes — not because they’re cruel or banal or obviously annoyed with you.

But because to meet a hero might render them human.

And you might find yourself upon meeting someone capital F Famous, realizing that they don’t fundamentally differ from most people you’ve known. They’re human, just like you.

And this can be the most terrifying realization of all — that there’s nobody here but us chickens. That at the end of the day, we worship ourselves, imperfect idols, and not avatars of excellence.

It’s better not to dwell on it.


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