Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind

Memba Ben By Memba Ben, 3rd Apr 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

I learnt that the key thing with expectations is to lower them so that they can be exceeded. When I met a celebrity, he failed to meet the inch high bar I had.

My recounting of an encounter with a celebrity.

Back when I was younger, I worked as one of those field sales reps who had to canvass different areas. I didn’t enjoy it at all but like all things in life, I learnt something out of it.

This one time, we had to work at an affluent area where people would often meet local celebrities. Actors, singers, socialites, athletes; you name it and chances are high that you’d catch them around here.

We got dropped off at the local mall and were sent off to demonstrate the product and (hopefully) make some sales. While the majority decided to try their luck inside the mall, a couple of us figured we’d have a better chance if we targeted people by the parking lot (after all, we were trying to sell car wash kits).

Throughout the afternoon, we went up and down the entire car park, demonstrating the product and trying to sell it but it was seemingly all in vain. As though otherworldly forces were conspiring against us, everyone seemed to have a (convenient) inconvenience that prevented them from buying the product.

Defeated, the makeshift crew we formed decided that we needed to regroup by taking an impromptu break. However, as we were heading back, a purple McLaren pulled up into the parking lot.


Normally logic would’ve had me questioning the need to own a McLaren in such a suburban area but… it’s a McLaren. I (alongside my team) just stood there admiring this mechanical marvel and being the type of people we were, some comments were made.

“Here I am, struggling to make ends meet whereas this guy is driving a four million rand car”
“He probably had to have it imported or some shit”
“Technically speaking, this guy wouldn’t be able to hit the cars top speed because of the traffic laws. What a waste.”

While everyone had their own opinions, one of the guys said it best:
“Goddamn, what a beauty”

And a beauty it was.

I’m no car magazine writer so I won’t bore you with the excruciating attention to detail those guys describe cars but that car was definitely a sight to behold and it seems the driver knew that. As if the purple paint job wasn’t enough of an eye catcher, the car was being paraded around with the guy constantly revving the engine, turning what was an inconspicuous suburban mall parking lot inside an affluent neighborhood into a grand super car exhibition.

It could’ve been seen as obnoxious…but we didn’t care.

During this whole time, my workmates and I were just so entranced by this marvel that we were oblivious to a coworker attempting to catch our attention.

This was after all, a four million rand car.

Something in our direction must’ve caught the driver’s eye because they made a hasty stop while cruising. The car then backed up a bit and turned into the driveway we were in.

Oh shit, it’s coming here.

The car crept ever so close and as we were giving way, the car slowed to a stop. The passenger’s window rolled down and a heavily tattooed hand motioned for us to come closer.

Being the fearless (read: stupid) person I am, I took lead.

“Afternoon Sir, we’d just like –oh shit, it’s Icy Hot!”

Now, Icy Hot (not his real name) was a famous rapper in the country who at that time was riding a wave of popularity following the release of his debut album. When I say this guy was everywhere, I mean this guy was everywhere.

At the mention of the mystery driver, my workmates fucken bulldozed past me, crowded the car like a pack of groupies and began sucking up to the star.

“Man, I’m such a huge fan”
“Can I take a pic with you bra?”
“People are never gonna believe me about meeting you dude”
“If you could just listen to my tape bra, I’m sure you’ll love it and…”

I was dumbfounded. I mean, sure, the guy is cool and all and I may have been star struck for a minute but the guys were acting as if it was someone important like Obama, Mandela or Messi.

It’s just a rapper

But despite what I thought of him, I respected him for his hustle. It’s not every day you earn enough to drive a McLaren and…

Wait a minute, if this guy has the cash to buy a McLaren, surely he’s got some spare change lying around to buy a couple (or the damn box full) of car wash kits. They do say that fortune favors the bold so why the hell not?

I picked myself up from the ground and made my way to the car. I expected my workmates to refuse to let me pass by it seemed they were done with they wanted and were just casually chatting to Icy Hot. With that in mind, I walked over to the driver’s side and rapped on his window, hoping he’d roll it down and give me the chance to talk.

After some initial resistance, the guy relented, rolled down his window and…yeah...

I like to think I’m an open-minded person who gives people the benefit of the doubt. I like to think that the majority of people are also like this but it can be difficult to remain so when we as people form both positive and negative biases towards others and even harder when external forces persuade us to think that way or otherwise.

Icy Hot is a star in the entertainment industry which naturally goes hand in hand with excessive media coverage and we all know that’s almost never a good thing. Tabloids have proven time and time again that they have no qualms with deifying or vilifying celebrities for the sake of a sale despite knowing very well that at the end of the day, these stars are just the same as us: human.

Now, Icy Hot has been subject to a few front cover scandals involving skirt chasing and promiscuity (despite him publicly being in a relationship) but knowing how tabloids work, I decided to give him a chance and treat him like any other person. In any case, I was here to make a sale, not judge the guys character.

The following exchange was exactly how our conversation played out:

“Hey man, what’s good?”
“All good bra”
“Look, I just wanted to say I’m a fan of your music (I’m not actually a fan, was just being polite) and in the same way we are supporting your hustle, I was hoping you’d support mine. I’d just like to show you-”
“Wait, before you carry on, let me ask you something”

Up until this point, everything was going well but things soon fell off a cliff.

Remember all that jazz about giving people the benefit of the doubt? That we can’t judge a book by its cover?

Yeah, that shit isn’t always applicable.

Sometimes, the tabloids actually get it right.

This guy put his hand out the window, pointed in the direction leading to the mall and said the following:

“Do you know that chick?”

I look back trying to see who he’s talking about and find that he’s pointing towards my female coworker who was earlier trying to catch the group's attention.

“Yeah, I know her”
“Call her for me”

I was a bit surprised at his bluntness but what he said next just floored me.

“Yeah. Go call her and tell her the real Icy Hot of Liquor and Women fame (that’s not the actual name of his album but it was something just as stupid) wants to speak to her

Did this guy just?
This guy actually did that!

All this time I was trying to treat this guy with respect and such when it turns out he’s just as much a bastard as people say is just unbelievable.

I didn’t even respond or try and call my coworker. I just walked away in disgust. How was he gonna come here and act like he’s hot stuff?

Guy’s album wasn’t even that good, fuck him.


Celebrities, Celebrity Culture, Personal Experience, Personal Experiences

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author avatar Memba Ben
A fan's view on the business of football.

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