Remember: They are only people.

I almost shat my pants the first time I got the “VIP Call” at work.

“Hi Paul, it’s Andre here from the special visits department. Listen, Tom Cruise has just arrived, his IT guy is having trouble connecting him to his VPN back in the states. Can you pop up to his suite and see if you can help him?”

“Yeah, no problem. I’ll be there in five minutes.”

It was my second week on the job, still trying to acclimatize to my new working environment. I was so green you could have tasted the chlorophyll if you dared to lick me. Suddenly I get a call to go visit this guy I had been watching on the big screen for years. I had to help Maverick. I was to be his geeky wingman for an hour or so. In my head I was expecting the charismatic, suave and sophisticated guy you see on the silver screen. The radiant smile that glows from the pages of any number of trashy gloss publications. This was Tom Fucking Cruise, idolized by millions of adoring fans. Men would kill to be this guy for a day, women would gladly donate vital organs to sleep with him.

I knock on the door.

“Heyyyy, you must be Paul, the computer guy? Come on in.” he said.

Three words sprang to mind instantly: short, beard, braces.

“Hi Mr.Cruise, I believe you’re having a few problems connecting to the office in the states?”

“Yeah, I’m not sure what’s going on, I’ve been talking to my guy back in LA all morning and he can’t figure it out.”

“Let’s just have a look here… this might take a couple of minutes.”

“Sure, take your time. Would you like a drink or something?”

“Oh no, I’m fine thanks. Just had a coffee downstairs actually.”

So here I am, sitting in Tom’s suite, checking his network settings, doing the usual troubleshooting stuff we all do to “make it work”. He’s sitting there, watching TV, drinking coffee. Things aren’t going according to plan, his VPN doesn’t like the IP address our DCHP gave him so I have to give him a new one manually, which takes a couple of minutes to organize with the systems guys. Verging on the brink of an awkward silence while I’m waiting, I attempt strike up some banter.

“So, are you going to be staying for a while Mr. Cruise?”

“Four days I think. By the way, you don’t have to call me Mr. Cruise”

At this point I start laughing my ass off and say thank you.

“I’ll level with you Tom, I’ve only been doing this job for a couple of weeks and I was pretty nervous about meeting movie stars and the like. This is a bit of first for me.”

He finds this highly amusing, which makes me feel a lot more comfortable.

“Wow! What were you expecting? I hope I haven’t scared you out of work!”

“Not at all, not at all. I just…”

I sort of trailed off here, not quite sure of what I was trying to say. Thankfully he laughs, understanding my situation.

“Hey, it’s cool. Don’t worry, I’m not going to throw the TV at you if you can’t get my computer working!” he quipped.

He got up, took a few calls, looked in the mirror a few times, tried to disguise a fart with a cough but to no avail. He was such a normal bloke I was shocked.

Eventually I got him connected, his email came in, everyone was happy. I got up, got my stuff together, Tom shook my hand and said thanks, wished me luck in my new job and said that he would probably need to call me next time he came back. I gave him my card, he gave me a fifty pound tip.

Since then I’ve met many, many of these so-called stars. They are NOT surrounded by an entourage of “people”. They do not operate on a different level to us humble proles. They fart, shit, bleed, snort, piss, cry, smell, fight, fuck, drink and smoke like the rest of us.

They are certainly not better than you, so think about your own life a bit more before you waste any more time concerning yourself about what Tom Cruise has for breakfast.

If you must know... he likes toast.

See also: Celebrities I have served

A few years ago, The Saturday Times featured a very interesting article explaining why people care so much about stars they have only met on TV.

The theory states that it comes down to a wiring in our brain that originated at a time when our ancestors were hunters gatherers. In those times someone who was in your immediate surrounding everyday, someone you saw everyday, had an importance in your life, be it a relative, the leader of the group or your mate. In other words, there was a direct relation between the number of times you saw a face and the importance the person in question had in your life in terms of survival or in terms of authority and hence the attention you had to give to that person.

The same kind of phenomenon can still be observed in babies who smile when they recognise the face of their mother. It can also explain the importance of pictures, photos and imageries in our life. Ever wondered why you keep a picture of your loved one in your wallet? or on your desk? Isn't it an intuitive way to counter the slow natural decay of our feelings when the person is not physically close to us?

Today, in the age of remote viewing, this wiring is no longer so relevant but still influences strongly our behaviour. That is why people do care about persons (and that covers movie stars as well as politicians...) they see every day of their lives but who do not have any kind of impact on them otherwise. This unique feature is key in the manipulation of the masses.

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