Dear Simon Baker,
I want you to know that I am not normally one of those guys who acts like an idiot around celebrities. I've worked in the film industry, and I know that famous people are ordinary schmucks who get tired of being harassed by delusional fans. So, yeah... sorry about that.
The truth is, when I forgot to fill out the immigration form in the Brisbane airport and you slipped ahead of me in line, even after I recognized you I was more interested in staring at your gorgeous daughter. I didn't know anything about you (I don't own a television); but my dad loves your latest show, so I knew you were famous and I just sort of assumed she was your arm-candy girlfriend. It was an obnoxious conclusion, fershure; but given that you are a Hollywood fixture, it wasn't a hard jump to make.
Then she called you "dad."
I quickly estimated your age (early forties?) and calculated that she was most likely waaaay too young to leave your side for a 31 year-old art teacher/writer. So with my attention diverted back to you, I stepped up to the kiosk. As I handed my passport and completed form to the immigration officer I lowered my voice and asked, "That guy was a celebrity, wasn't he?" He nodded, so I asked him your name. "Simon Baker," he replied.
I followed you out. As you went left towards the "hang-out-with-other-rich-people" lounge, I walked right, towards gate 86. Mine was the only flight to Los Angeles in the next few hours, so I assumed you would be on it. I thought about asking to shake your hand, but then my inner chicken started squawking and I sank down in cowardice next to three giggling, twenty-something American tourists.
After a while I took out my camera, set it on video, and toyed with the idea of grabbing a little proof that I had spent twelve hours in a metal tube rocketing through the ether with a celebrity. I toggled the power switch a few times before switching it firmly to "off."
"That's stupid," I told myself, "stupid and rude and too American. I'm half Canadian. I know better." I opened my bag and snugged the camera into its waterproof case, but as I zipped my carry-on shut I looked up and saw Cate Blanchett walking by. She was wearing a green knitted thingy on her head and her hair was all disheveled, but Nicole-Kidman-as-my-witness, it was her. I turned to the American tourist girls and said,
"Well, if our plane goes down, at least we know the world's gonna hear about it - both Simon Baker and Cate Blanchett are on our flight. That was Cate Blanchett who just walked by."
"What?!?" the closest one almost-shreiked... "Where?"
I pointed over my shoulder.
"Up there, in the green bandana."
"Really?" she asked, staring, "No effing way!"
As she said it, I began to have my doubts. Whenever I visit my brother and we drive around Los Angeles, I annoy him by claiming to see celebrities behind every steering wheel. That Latina in the station wagon with the cleaning supplies? That's Paz Vega, preparing for a role. The guy in the Maserati with impenetrably-tinted windows? Obviously Tom Cruise. I started to wonder - was it really Cate Blanchett? It could have been Anna Torv, another famous Australian actor... or maybe even Janet Smith, a mid-level accountant from Poughkeepsie.
I needed proof, or there was no way anyone would believe me. I got my camera out, turned it on, focussed, and rested it on my knee... waiting for you to break through the phalanx of security guards who for some reason were pulling random passengers into a cubicle for more "intimate" questioning. The gate attendant started the boarding and my seating zone was called, but I held firm. Finally, I saw you. I flipped on my "casual face" and my camera, pushed "record," and stared straight ahead.
What I didn't count on was that the line had backed up to a point almost directly beside me; and that a man who spends his life being paparazzied gets a sixth sense about it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw you notice my camera and then slow down as you drew parallel to my chair. I tried to turn the LCD screen away and hit the record button again, but it was too late. I heard you say "sneaky" over my shoulder. Face burning, I capped the lens and slipped the camera into its case.
At that point, I should have turned and said, "It was sneaky, wasn't it?" as I flashed my most impish grin. I should have apologized for being so pathetic, and then I should have added, "I was just trying to get some proof for my dad, but I'll delete it if you'd like."
You seem like a nice enough guy (you were good with your kids; and as a dad myself, that goes a long way), so you most likely would have laughed it off, shaken my hand, and offered to get that lovely daughter of yours to take our picture together. We would have fallen to yakking about film-making. Then I would have told you about some shorts I had written and produced, and you would have insisted that I come sit with you in first class so we could drink champagne, shoot the schieze, and discuss roles for both of us in the feature film I've been working on. Or something.
By that point, however, my inner chicken was squawking like she smelled fox breath; so instead, I just sat there feeling stupid and American - an extra betrayal of my dad, who is the source of my half-Canadianship. Canadians aren't like that, I promise.
I know you get treated worse all the time, but not by me. You were on your home turf, with your kids, and I acted less than my best. You deserved better. So again... sorry. May paparazzi drop dead all around you, and may it rain Oscars and Emmy's on your birthday.
- - -
*Note: I put a lot of time into giving you this ad-free reading experience. If this post means something to you, you are more than welcome to pay me back by linking the bejeebers out of it on your social medias. And/or better yet, you could go pick up a copy of my book, "IMMORTALITY (and other short stories)." Dankegratzithanks.
clip clop from josh barkey on Vimeo.
Wow he totally caught you. I'm sad the inner chicken took over because I'm SURE you would have had a phenomenal conversation with him, leading to him promoting your book in his next interview...ReplyDelete
HA! that's awesome - he totally smelled your camera. they're pap senses are WAAAAY to sharp to ignore.ReplyDelete
but i agree with hannah - that'd have been awesome if you talked to him. i'm sure he's a cool dude!
Dude, I'm totally like you and I get where you're coming from. It just feel rude and invading to go up to someone who doesn't know you and frankly be an arse.ReplyDelete
People don't understand that if one goes up the rest will follow like a herd of sheep and in one moment you will ruin that man's privet time and space (with his family).
I'm glad your chicken clucks loudly!! :-)
Josh,how embarrassing .. there is no easy way to approach a famous person..some lesser mortals would have showed no restraint.... it's there private time and must be for them fraught with problem's and anxiety's of getting noticed and bothered by people they do not know....he isn't percieved to be a stranger to you but you were to him..the joy and curse of television ehhReplyDelete
If you spot someone famous your torn between the devil and the deep blue sea..you can't really approach them even though you desperately want to...I felt your pain...
Oh Josh - that was an awesome post - I was lol-ing so hard and frankly, I'm not sure I wouldn't have been tempted to do the same, since I'm with your dad on this - Simon Baker's one of my all-time FAVE actors!! His current show rocks...ReplyDelete
...and so does your blog... =) And big kudos to Hannah for doing some PR for ya... *grin*
Hope all is well with you,
I think you should have obeyed your "squawking chicken" from the get go. Oh well, no big deal, however, it does seem a bit desparate of you to try to get his attention this way. You're still doing the same by writing letters to him (and actually expecting a reply) and posting this apology on the internet. Oh, by the way, you're a stranger who happens to be a fan, who happens to have an "eye" for his only daughter ... that just screams "wierdo alert!" Honestly, you ought to understand when I say "stop embarrasing yourself!"ReplyDelete
P.S. are you "half" american? You should really stop apologizing or making excuses for it. America is a place, not some sort of personality disorder. Be responsible for your own actions. There's still hope for you yet Josh.
So, an American, a Canadian, and an Anonymous Internet Commenter walk into a bar...ReplyDelete
I forget the punch line. But the important thing to remember, my friend, is that it's a joke. And jokes are hilarious. High-Lair-Renalfailure-Us.
So, in the words of Apu... "Please come again."
Josh - I would hope the anonymous internet commenter is a NYC girl with a great sense of humor ; ). For some reason, I think its more accurate. Loved the "High-Lair-Renalfailure-Us" and "Apu" comment. It was indeed hilarious and way off. And as for coming again, I hope she does, again, and again, and again...ReplyDelete
You know what makes it extra funny? I'm not actually a fan, and really didn't know who Simon Baker was at the time (as I made clear at the beginning of the post).ReplyDelete
If I was gonna get all weird and star-struck, it would be for someone I had the giggles about. Like Emma Thompson, or Matt Damon. Hmmm... Daaaaaymuuuun.
And Josh, that's Simon's oldest son, Harry Friday, to your left - not in the striped shirt. Stella Breeze, his daughter, is in college in the US, but they do all go home to AU to their home and relatives there. Naomi Watts is Stella's god mother and Nicole Kidman is Harry's. There's another younger son, Claude Blue. From what I've read, you would've had a funny, good time talking to Simon. I like to think I would've talked to him, but talk is cheap! You now know more than you really wanted to. And, yes, The Mentalist is a great show!ReplyDelete
Ha-ha. Thanks, Karen.Delete
I woulsn't be too embarrassed. He is a very mellow guy and v cool about the crazy lengths some fans go-not you bc you didn'T even know who he was lol he would have a laugh now too.Delete
He told a slightly embarrassing funny story on Leno about an airport experience but it was '10 I think. Basically he thought he was recognized but really wasn't lol.
He is a chill guy and he would have said you were a great son and signed something for you. I think what he would have bothered by is if you alerted everyone and he got mobbed or huge crowd. though honestly I'd love to know if a nice celeb I like was near me.
Mistaking his daughter well DiCaprio is nearly Simon's age and you'd be right about the gf bit with him. Simon had her at like 22,23. Surprised his wife was not with him.
Ps he is on instagram under snappytoes I bet you would get along with him he is the artist/photography/surfing style
Here's the things, you have those people who'd tell you, no, you shouldn't approach him, he's a person as we are all, he's not different than you or me or... he goes to the bathroom as ... well you know what I mean, yeah, everyone deserves their privacy but don't forget, he is in a vocation where it's a huge part of his job, he entered this vocation knowing this is what will be, everyone who's an actor, singer a "celeb" enters this world knowingly they are going to be bothered one way or another with and without their families, that's life, so yeah, I would have turned to him otherwise I'd ask myself "What If" for the rest of my life.ReplyDelete
I've only recently (last November 2017) began watching his show and got into it and him so I get it, he seems as a nice guy, he seems shy.
Worst case scenario he'd tell you "not now", but he knows this is part of the job otherwise he wouldn't have began at first place.
I have so much to say regarding this issue but you know what I mean.