How I became interested on the subject
or: Not all that glitters is gold: especially spikey haired airport patrons with female accompaniment and black sunglasses

Some time ago, I went with my extended family to the airport to see off my mother's sister's family. Among the group were several of my female teenage cousins. Walking into the airport, one of these "teenie bopper" cousins mistook a passerby for Sugar Ray, a chart-topping pop star at the time. Lamenting over the error, my cousins envisioned how cool it would have been to actually see a real life famous person. Being a bit older, and perhaps more prehensile, I imagined how cool it would be to actually be a real life famous person. At the time, I singled out a particular aspect of fame: widespread recognition.

How my interest in the subject became a goal oriented drive
or: My dream of becoming nationally recognized by only a small group of people

I have always been interested in the dynamic of fame. A celebrity cannot exist without a society of people to perceive another human as a celebrity. Just like everyone else, I understand the consequences of being part of the so called "fan base." However, I have never experienced the mental consequences of being the actual celebrity. Call me curious, or call me a chiseling charlatan, but at that time I wanted to experience the "fun" side of widespread recognition.

How I conjectured the plan
or: Manufacturing instant fame using cousins and street clothes

I figured that if bystanders saw others approaching me as a celebrity, they would believe that I was indeed famous. Luckily, I had a sizable number of teenage cousins with me, and they looked like they knew what they were talking about when it comes to pop culture in America. So, I convinced my cousins to help me achieve my aforementioned goal.

I decided that I would station myself alone, in a crowded section of seating in a gate with a convincing destination, such as New York or somewhere in California. More importantly, the group of people (who would eventually become my little all-American fan base) should consist mainly of adults, with the mean average age over thirty and less than forty five. This particular age group is not only less in tune with pop culture than those in their twenties, but are more excitable by the presence of fame than older adults. The group should be relatively stagnant; they should be seated for a long wait, and not in transition between two locations. However, they should have time enough before the flight to not be preoccupied with the complexities of the boarding procedure. Therefore, I figured the optimum departure time should be more than thirty minutes and less than an hour.

After sitting down and establishing myself as a peer member of the group, I would begin to execute the plan. I split my cousins into four "waves" of approaching fans. The waves should come at short but seemingly sporadic intervals, as to get the attention of the group without seeming deliberate: 

  • First Wave: two female cousins / five minutes after initial seating
  • Second Wave: one female cousin / three minutes after First Wave
  • Third Wave: two female cousins / one minute after Second Wave
  • Fourth Wave: three female cousins / four minutes after Third Wave

The technique of each wave varies only slightly:

  1. Approach cautiously (in a different direction each time) in what appears to be a state of stifled anticipation.
  2. Ask me if I am in fact the famous person
  3. Tell me that they are a huge fan
  4. Ask me for my autograph
  5. Exit, happily (in a different direction each time)

To avoid confusion, I asked my cousins not to mention or inquire about specific aspects of my non-existent role, and to make each visit short and sweet. Thankfully, my cousins are natural actors, and I did not feel like I had to worry much about the believability of their performance. The real trick is not in the delivery, but in selecting which celebrity you choose to become. To maximize the punch, you should choose the most famous character possible. This selection can get tricky. If you choose someone too famous then you will be demasked on the spot, risking public humiliation. Because I am not Hollywood handsome, and I wasn't particularly well dressed at the time, I thought a musician would be a better choice than an actor. I chose to be the bass guitarist from band Lit.  At the time, Lit was just famous enough to the point where a person may have heard their hit single or seen their hit single video on MTV, but might not know what the members of the band look like. Also, I chose a position in the band that generates less public scrutiny than, say, the lead singer. Obviously, unless you can actually sing, do not select the character of lead singer: someone will ask you to sing, and you will be hung out to dry. I decided to use my real name, betting that someone would ask to see my driver's license to prove my fame before they would know the name of Lit's bass guitarist.

I was clueless as to how the group would react to the routine, so I decided to wing it from there.

Turning theory into practice
or: "Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play"

We told the parents that we were going to spend some time in the airport arcade, and in a way, we were. Zipping quickly out of sight and into the heart of the airport, I chose a gate with ample departure time and adults. The flight was to San Jose. I began the show as soon as I sat down. I looked around, pretending to half expect a reaction from the group.  Five minutes later, two of my cousins ran up to me, giggling perfectly. The group responded almost immediatly.

"Are you Brian Glass?" one of my cousins articulated through her uncontrollable smile.

"Yes, I am," I responded shyly, glancing at the audience.

"Wow, that's awesome!" shouted my cousin, exceeding all my hopes of acting performance and believability. I now knew this would work.

"Yeah, what are your names?" I carried the conversation, but acted like I wanted to close it. After asking me to autograph a piece of paper, the First Wave exited stage left in complete success. At this point, the group remained quiet, and did little more than look over at me and whisper to each other, probably in attempt to identify me.  Three minutes later the Second Wave approached. This time, the group watched with delight as my brave cousin performed her debut solo act with poise. Still, the group did not feel comfortable in approaching me. After the Third Wave, however, my first genuine fan approached me.

"Are you famous?

The group waited in unison for my answer, as if the randomly approaching teenage females did not sufficiently reveal my celebrity.

"Yeah," I answered, seemingly reluctantly. Instantly, I was surrounded by the nearly twenty curious onlookers. There was no need to manufacture a blush.

"Who are you then?" was the general gist I got from the crowd. I answered that I was Brian Glass, bass guitarist for a band called Lit. For the next fifteen minutes, I was as famous as I'll ever be.

  • "Wow, I feel old, I don't even recognize Brian Glass! I'm out of the loop."
  • "Smart man, wearing regular clothes, wouldn't want to stick out like a sore thumb."
  • "Have you met that Carson Daily guy?"
  • "I can't wait to tell my daughter that I saw Brian Glass."
  • "You must be sick of crazy business people coming up to you with all those lucrative business proposals."
  • "Are you rich?"

One lady had her pre-teen daughter with her and asked her if she recognized me from TV. The girl nodded, and her mother took a photograph of me and her. I can only imagine where this picture now resides. I signed some more autographs and did my best to field questions. At the height of the drama, the Fourth Wave arrived to fuel the flame. At this point, the situation was slipping neatly out of my control

or: How a made up New York phone number nearly convinced me that I actually was famous

Eventually, my father saved me from the situation by paging me with a number with a convincing New York area code. I was not even aware that the rest of my family had been watching the entire time, but they were. I apologized to my new fans and explained that I had received an important page. After safely retreating from my fan base, I retreated to a safe distance to reunite with my family and reality. Luckily, they found the entire shenanigan quite amusing, and we all had a good laugh.

As with actual celebrities, I would imagine, the entirety of my fame is a complete blur. I was so scared that they would find out that I was lying. I felt remorse for my actions. I felt a desire to escape the overbearing weight of the crowd.  I felt... famous!

Unless you are a complete nut ball, I do not recommend that you attempt this procedure. If you really want the same notability as the stars, I suggest going to acting school or getting guitar lessons and taking the conventional route.

In response to some inquisitions: Yes, I did actually do this.

I realize that many frown upon nodes with titles including "how to," but I can't think of anything else. If you can think of something, tell me, and if I use it, I'll give you a dollar.

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