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In which John discusses experiences on both sides of the starstruck equation.

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Good morning Hank it’s Tuesday,

despite being 41 years old I still sometimes find myself star struck ,like when I meet people I admire I often talk too much and feel nervous and then afterwards exhaustively analyse the encounter before coming to the inevitable conclusion that I made a fool of myself.

Why did I blabber on and on while talking to Dan Howell at Vidcon last weekend and why couldn’t I form a coherent sentence when I met the author Zadie Smith 7 years ago and did NBC soccer’s Rebecca Lowe that my hands were shaking when we met and etc. Even though I understand intellectually that people are just people,I literally cannot help myself-like put me in front of Roberto Firmino and I will melt.

Hank part of what you explored so beautifully in An absolutely remarkable thing is how weird fame is,like if you met Roberto Firmino for instance,who I’m reasonably sure you’ve never heard of,you would probably act normal and calm and ask interesting questions not because you’re immune to star strukedness  but because, to you Roberto Firmino isn’t that famous whereas I have spent many hours thinking about him and know the names of his spouse and children and also his dentist,which is weird. Now I have also been on the other side of this strange equation,like I remember once I was in the cereal aisle of the grocery store when a young person started screaming ,not like words or anything just yelling and I started to look around in a panic to try to figure out where the emergency was only to realise that I was the emergency. Most people do not scream when they meet me and for the record even the person who did was very nice , just excited and I like meeting people who like my work.

I’m really grateful for anyone who’s made a place for me in their lives for stuff I make and meeting such a person whether at a signing or at a Chipotle is an opportunity to express that gratitude, albeit in a fleeting way but it’s also an inherently weird experience because like that young person started screaming in the middle of the cereal aisle because they saw John Green but I also wasn’t aware that John Green was in the cereal aisle until that person started screaming. In the moment before , I wasn’t experiencing myself as John Green but instead as myself, a middle-aged dad in Indianapolis trying to figure out the least sugary cereal that my kids will agree to eat and so that moment took both of us by surprise . Now, like in a signing line I know that I’m gonna meet you and you know that you’re gonna meet me but still it’s a brief and intense moment that I never feel quite prepared for and I really don’t wanna disappoint people who meet me because I know from experience that a negative encounter with someone whose work you admire can be a huge bummer and I’m sure they also wanna come off poorly and so this nervous energy kind of collides which can make it really difficult to say the essential thing i want to say which is Thank You.

Regardless of where I am in that’s equation I mostly just wanna say thank you in a way that people will believe and that will mean something to them but of course,I can’t . I can’t because we only have a few moments together and because I can’t articulate myself that well and also because it’s hard to say thank you in a way that gets past the psychic armour of irony and cynicism and so I often end up fumbling and mumbling, which is to say that I end up feeling star struck on both sides of the equation.

One last thing,I sometimes hear from people who’ve been to meet me that afterwards they felt embarrassed or mortified they said or did or didn’t say or do and I just want to respond to that with a blanket it’s okay.

It’s okay even if you screamed in the cereal aisle ,I mean I would endeavour not to scream in the grocery store in the future if you can avoid it but don’t worry about it. There’s so much else to worry about . I’m glad to have met you and if we haven’t met I hope we someday will and I’ll be able to say what I feel .

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Hank I’ll see you on Friday.