I’ve talked about this a bit on my podcast, but I figured it was worth mentioning here again.
My kids, like all kids, have celebrities they idolize. My daughter thinks Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift are the greatest. My son can’t get enough of they Mythbusters crew, sports stars like Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson, or comedians like Ricky Gervais (well, Karl Pilkington, really) and Craig Ferguson.
But, even in this age of emails and twitter, I can’t get the kids to reach out and write fan mail to their idols.
I shouldn’t say we haven’t ever done it. My son once wrote to Philip Rivers when he was required to write a formal letter in English class. We did mail it out, but he’s never followed up. The kids also helped me author an email to the band I Fight Dragons when we produced a lip-synch video to one of their songs.
However, each time, it’s like pulling teeth – and I can’t figure out why.
My son joined me in being part of a Movember fundraising team with Persepctives’ own Paul Goebel. As a fourth (and fifth grader) he “grew a mustache” to raise awareness of prostate cancer. We talked about making a funny video where my boy’s mustache gave him a Hefner-like social life, and sending it to Paul, but where my son said he thought it would be hilarious, the project (like so many great films) never left the pitch meeting.
Paul’s even mentioned on my son’s participation in Movember on his podcast. I thought for sure that hearing Paul say how great it was would inspire my boy to send him a quick note. But no…
It’s a shame, too, because Paul and all the other celebrities my kids like are really nice folks. The guys from I Fight Dragons sent my kids some very nice emails after seeing the video we made. My son remembers Paul from his “Beat the Geeks” days and knows he’s always friendly with me. And the pinnacle of celebrity acknowledgments came when Craig Ferguson answered my viewer email on TV. My son couldn’t stop talking about that for weeks.
However, when it comes to sending Craig a letter himself, it just doesn’t ever seem to happen.
I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. Given the shyness my kids normally exhibit, I can understand why they might be hesitant to reach out. I can remember my own reluctance to write to stars back in the day. In fact I can only remember writing to four celebrities before I turned 21.
- I wrote to Ringling Brother’s Circus’ Gunther Gebel-Williams back in 1977 after a field trip to see the circus at Madison Square Garden.
- I wrote to Dan Majerle while in college after watching a Suns/Sixers game and being the only fan in the Spectrum cheering for him (so I thought).
- I wrote to the producers of The ‘Burbs saying how much my college roomate and I loved the movie (this was the only letter that got a reply, and they mailed us a script!!!)
- I wrote to Pat Riley when Dan Majerle was a free agent saying I thougth Riley should try to sign Majerle to the Heat (and he did).
These days I’m still nervous when reaching out. It’s so much easier for a child to gush about how great someone is than an adult. Once you pass 30, all you can really do is say “I love your work.” But when you’re a kid, you can ramble on and on.
Still, it seems a shame. Celebrities are so much more accessible now than they were when I grew up, and the ones my kids enjoy most are good people.