A funny story.
I was backstage at a news station, awaiting my turn to go live and be interviewed. While I waited, I saw a man in an exquisite trench coat parading around like a god. People from the studio came up to him and took selfies with him and shook his hand.
I had no idea who he was, so I went up to him and offered my hand for a shake. He looked at it like a snake, determining if it was poisonous or not, then reluctantly shook it.
“I’m Ethan,” I told him. What’s your name?
He told me, but I forgot what it was. I was distracted by the golf ball-sized diamonds clinging to his earlobes for dear life. I stood at least a head taller than him, yet I felt his manliness trying to stand on its tippy toes to crush me with his cold confidence.
“Are you famous or something?” I asked him, genuinely curious. “Since people keep coming up to you for pictures…”
He looked like I had slapped him across the face. “I don’t know…are you?” he inquired.
“This week I am,” I told him, and it was true at the time.
I don’t recall how our interaction ended, but he took a few steps away from me and turned back, visibly offended. “You shouldn’t ask people that,” he quipped before turning and parading a few more laps around the small studio. Seriously, he was gliding around the studio as if a few more rounds would draw more fans to him out of the 11 people in the room.
I walked over to a camera operator and pointed to the rich man. “Who is that dude? I think I offended him but have no idea who he is.”
“The one with the $50,000 earrings?” he asked. This guy was tall and lanky with a goatee and a plaid flannel hanging from his frame; the stereotypical camera operator. Friendly. “He’s on Shark Tank. Started his own clothing line and probably worth several hundred million.”
“Oh,” I said. “I had no idea who he is, so I asked him if he’s famous.”
The operator laughed and told me, “He’s probably not used to people asking him that.”
The rich guy pointed me a few more dirty glances from across the room while shaking a few more hands through his black gloves. I went live and shrugged it off. If someone is offended because I didn’t know who they were, they should reexamine their priorities.
Half of me still wants to go back and shake the rich man, yelling “THE UNIVERSE DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND YOU!” I probably should have. Maybe I would have gotten more famous as The Dude Who Shook the Dude From Shark Tank.
I guess you reach a certain level of fame or wealth and suddenly, when someone hasn’t been graced by your identity before, it’s an ontological offense to your being.
Welp, wherever you are, Shark Tank Man, I know who you are now.
And I’m coming for you.