Like This Little Girl Who Puked on Paula Abdul, I Also Have No Chill When Meeting My Heroes

This little girl is me.
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Publish date:
June 9, 2016
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heroes, famous people, meeting people, so you think you can dance, Paula Abdul

After completely nailing a dance routine to Beyonce's "Countdown" on So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation, 12-year-old Chi Tahani got to meet, hug, and puke on Paula Abdul.

As someone who compulsively word vomits all over any famous person she meets, I relate.

Luckily, the incident didn't really seem to dampen Chi's excitement over being voted through to the next round.

“I hugged Nigel, and I hugged Paula,” she told host Cat Deeley. “And she just squeezed me too tight. And all the happiness came out on her jacket.”

If, for some strange reason, Chi's dance career doesn't work out, I think she should pursue a career in PR, because describing puking on another human as "happiness" that "came out on her jacket," is the ultimate in spin. (It's almost poetry.)

Yes, in terms of celebrity encounters, this one actually seems pretty positive to me.

Maybe it's because I have a terrible history when it comes to meeting my heroes, but puking from excitement doesn't seem that far outside of the realm of something that would happen to me. I consider myself to be fairly personable and charming, but the moment I get the chance to interact with anyone whose work or art has impacted my life, I become inarticulate and awkward (like unpleasantly awkward, not charmingly Zooey Deschanel or Miranda July awkward).

In solidarity with Chi Tahani, I will now share one of my most cringe-y celeb meet up moments.

The "That Sounds Crisp" Incident of 2010

It was the summer of 2010. I was in Delaware for a summer internship at DuPont, doing some cool organometallic chemistry work, making money, and going out to Philadelphia a lot. I got to attend a few excellent shows, the most excellent being The National, which was almost a religious experience.

After the show, I lurked around the back of the venue with a couple of kids from Penn, hoping to get something signed. Bryan Davendorf (drummer) eventually came out, and kindly chatted with everyone while signing the backs of ticket stubs. During the show Davendorf had been playing a metal fan (the kind that blows air around, not a fan of metal music) as a percussion instrument, and one of the kids from Penn made some comment about how cool that was. "Thanks. It was a gift," Davendorf replied.

"A fan is a good gift!" was what came out of my mouth for some reason that is still unclear to me. No one really said anything.

The kids from Penn kept chatting, and I tried to figure out how to get back into the conversation and make up for the really cool fan commentary. I noticed Mr. Davendorf is drinking a beer, and saw that as my in. "Claire," I tell myself, "You know stuff about beer! Talk about beer!"

"What beer is that?" I inquired.

"It's a summer ale," he replied.

"That sounds crisp," I said, displaying both my deep knowledge of beer and command of the English language.

"Uh, yeah," he said.

I somehow lost my ticket stub in my purse, so asked him to sign the back of an empty checkbook.

"You want me to sign a checkbook?"

"Yeah, it's all I have, and there's a lot of blank space on it." Logic.

He signed it "Claire! Be lucky," which seemed really fair and appropriate. I still have this checkbook.

This isn't my only awkward encounter with an artist I greatly admire, but it's probably my favorite, as it features two of the strangest sentences I've ever uttered. I would like to think that I've gotten a little smoother over the last six years but, judging how I acted when I met Stuart Murdoch in person last year, I am sad to report that I am very much the same. Oh well. It's probably too late to change now. It's not all bad, though. Patrick Stewart called me "cleverish" once. And Walter Koenig was really nice to me.

How do you act around the famous and influential. Do you possess any chill? What's your best or worst celeb meet story? (Have you ever thrown up on anyone?)