It’s an ordinary Tuesday morning, as uneventful and routine as can be – for most people that is. For me, it’s another chaotic day of dodging the general public to avoid being mauled, because everyone thinks I’m Idris Elba. Yes, It’s obvious that we look exactly the same, but it can be quite the hassle resembling someone who is not only famous but widely considered excessively good looking. Not to mention the fact that we both ooze charisma.
On this day I want to go shopping in peace. I’ve had it up to here (I’m holding my hand up really high at this part, just so you know) with taking hasty late night trips to stores because shopping during the day with the rest of the lowly minions (no offense, regular people) isn’t an option. Going for a stroll, browsing the mall, sitting at a coffee shop – these are things I simply can’t do normally. I deserve the opportunity to live my life, as does Idris. We didn’t ask to share a profusely good-looking physical appearance and be famous – well, I suppose he did ask for the fame, but not I.
Since this particular afternoon had me feeling fed up with all of the restrictions, I firmly decided that I wouldn’t let looking identical to a movie star dictate my actions. I called a car to pick me up and drop me off in a busy shopping center. It arrives and I get in and it’s immediately clear that the driver thinks I’m Idris because he says “Hey, how are you doing?” desperately trying to chat me up because he’s certain I’m the famous movie star. “Where are you headed to?” he asks, nosily, probably hoping I’m going to a movie set or something. I lower my sunglasses over my eyes and give him a quick response, “The shopping center on 6th.” I say it with slight irritation in my voice so he understands that I don’t feel like talking about The Wire, or when there’ll be another season of Luther, or how it feels to be handsome & famous. Stick to driving and let me sit in silence, bloke.
We pull into the shopping center and the starstruck driver asks, “Do you want to be dropped off in front of any specific store?” I’m like, come on dude, I don’t need the special celebrity treatment! I’m no diva and I’m sure if he didn’t think I were Idris Elba he wouldn’t be basically begging to spend a few extra precious seconds in my presence while he dropped me off in front of a particular store. I pay, tipping him 25%, but I’m sure he isn’t satisfied because he thinks I’m the super rich actor, Idris Elba.
This celebrity worship continues everywhere I go for the next hour. I walk into J.C. Penney and not one, but two different times I was asked if I needed help finding anything by employees who couldn’t keep it professional and had to find excuses to talk to me. Just because someone is in movies doesn’t mean they need to be doted on. Shortly after, I go into H&M to buy a few things and after I pay the sales associate says, “Have a great day sir.” Again, I’m like, I get it, you think I’m Idris Elba, but can you save the silly, desperate effort to be excessively friendly to a celebrity?
As I walk throughout various stores people naturally make brief eye contact with me before looking away almost immediately, because they’re nervous or intimidated thinking that I’m Idris, and they want to appear normal. There are a few times where my gaze lingered to see if they’d come back for a second look and after I stared for several seconds, some of them gave me an annoyed glare, which probably meant they weren’t huge fans of Pacific Rim or something. Whatever. Oh and get this, I went to Cold Stone for some ice cream and I tipped and an employee literally started singing to me. Treat me like any other customer, dude. Can’t I just be a regular guy who doesn’t get all of this unwarranted, over-the-top admiration?
You might think it’d be fun to look exactly like someone famous and beautiful but it’s truly taxing. It’s draining, it’s inconvenient, and it has far more cons than pros. I wonder why I have to sacrifice a normal life because I look (and give off similarly high levels of charm) like Idris Elba, the #2 runner up of People’s annual Sexiest Man Alive award in 2013. It’s just constantly Idris, Idris, Idris, but I not dris, he dris. The next time you think, “Wow [INSERT RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING CELEBRITY NAME] is gorgeous, I wish I looked like that,” just remember my struggle, and go look in the mirror and thank the heavens that your face and personality in the grand scheme of things are irrelevant. Ugh, I’ve got to go because these bloody coffee shop employees are saying I need to “seriously get out” and that they “closed 25 minutes ago,” which is probably code for “Can you step outside so we can get a photo and an autograph.” Alas, my difficult life continues.
For more nonsense & writing from this author, follow him on Facebook:
1. We will do a Gollum / Smeagol impression from time to time. Sorry not sorry.
2. If we ever sit down to watch LotR, it will be the extended edition. Theatrical versions are exactly that: for the theaters. Although, if a theater decides to show the extended editions, we will be there so fast, Legolas will be struggling to keep up.
3. Second breakfast is a real meal to us. Some people call it “brunch,” but they’re just wrong. It’s second breakfast.
4. We’re going to quote LotR all the time. All the time. One does not simply walk into the frozen foods aisle without a jacket.
5. Yes, sometimes you’ll walk in and we’ll be cleaning, listening to the LotR soundtrack, and getting a little teary-eyed. It’s just sooo good! And the Shire’s recurring theme makes us homesick for Bag End.
6. Our idea of a perfect date is to stay inside and marathon all three extended editions.
7. As much as we love to stay in and marathon, we also LOVE going on spontaneous adventures.
8. We don’t have just one celebrity crush. We have a whole Fellowship crush (with maybe the exceptions being Gandalf and Gimli, sorry), and if any of them came into our lives, we would drop you like a hot honey-cake. If we tell you that we choose you over the Fellowship, we’re like seriously into you. (Also, Viggo, call me.)
9. Don’t mention The Hobbit trilogy unless you’re prepared for a heated lecture. We either hated them, and we’re going to tell you in detail why the trilogy was so bad, or we liked them, and we’re going to tell you in detail why the trilogy wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone is saying.
10. We might not readily admit it, but it’s secretly on our bucket list to do some LotR role-playing during le sexy time. (Everyone’s tastes are different, but if you can get your hands on some Aragorn and Arwen costumes, you’ll probably score major points.)
11. If we’re ever sad or having a bad day, just put on the extended edition’s bonus features. Nothing cheers us up more than the playful banter of Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, and the rest of the Fellowship cast.
12. If we open a present, and immediately clutch it and growl, “My precious,” it means that you got us exactly what we wanted, and we’re never letting it out of our sight.
13. If we look at you, cling to your arm, and growl, “My precious,” maybe be a little bit concerned.
14. We’re going to classify any one we date as soon as we meet them. Here are a few examples and what that might mean: If we classify you as an elf, you’re gorgeous and a little magical. Hobbit: humble, kind, and stable. Dwarf: loyal, a little stubborn, but with a very good heart. Basically, as long as we don’t say you’re an orc, you’re in the clear.
15. If you ever do anything absolutely horrible that you know we would be furious about, buy us tickets to Hobbiton in New Zealand. We’ll never be angry about anything ever again.
1. I’ve invested so much effort already. I can’t just give it all up and start from square one.
2. If I give him the space and time he’s asking for, everything will go back to normal.
3. In the beginning, our chemistry was pure magic. It’ll be forever before I find someone else I can get so close to again.
4. It’s my fault things have gotten so bad lately. And it’s up to me to make things right again.
5. I should count myself lucky to have someone—even if he isn’t exactly there for me.
6. I just don’t see myself being any better off without him. I won’t be happy if I’m single. I’ll just be lonely.
8. If he’s not showing interest in me anymore, I should just be more interesting.
9. He wasn’t really flirting with that waitress, or those girls at the party last weekend. Even if he was, I’m strong enough to handle it.
10. Somewhere deep inside is the guy I first fell for, who treated me well and who cared deeply about our future together. He’s bound to resurface again. How can I walk away knowing that?
11. Relationships are hard work. I need to devote more time and energy to us. Nothing else matters.
12. Just because he says he isn’t ready for a serious relationship, doesn’t mean he actually feels that way.
13. Sure, it’s become more and more apparent that we have totally different values. But opposites attract. Maybe that’s why it worked so well in the first place. I can’t expect to find someone whose general outlook on life mirrors mine.
14. I’m about five blowjobs and ten sexts away from fixing this.
15. If I rearrange my priorities to accommodate his needs, things will get better. I just have to reshuffle my schedule a little so we can spend more time together.
16. We’re so comfortable in bed together. It’s not worth starting all over again with someone else.
17. He’s just not the gentlemanly type. I don’t need a guy to do nice things for me, or to be polite.
18. We have such a great story to tell our grandkids about how we met. That has to be worth holding onto.
19. It’s not that he doesn’t respect me. He just honestly doesn’t always know how to conduct himself like a decent human being. It’s not his fault.
20. Love and intimacy don’t just evaporate. It’s all there—somewhere. I just have to rekindle the flame, as they say.
21. It’s not like he’ll be this immature forever. As he gets older he’s bound to change. I can wait.
22. I’ll miss the way he [insert quirky habit here] way too much. I can’t let go of that.
23. It’s doesn’t necessarily mean anything that he wants to spend so many nights apart.
24. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t like any of my friends, or that he talks shit about them. They’re just not his type.
25. All couples fight. It’s healthy to argue, even if we never really resolve anything.
26. It’s okay to want completely different things out of life. We’ll just have to compromise.
27. If anyone can handle long distance, it’s us.
28. In a way, it’s a good thing he bores me. I shouldn’t expect to be entertained by my boyfriend constantly.
29. My parents might not think he’s all that wonderful, but he’ll grow on everyone eventually.
30. I should probably just get used to the fact that he’s so busy and stop complaining that the doesn’t make time for me.
31. Maybe he’s not perfect, but there’s probably no one else as perfect for me.
32. He’s a really good guy—at heart.
For the ones we lost,
and we were never ready to lose.
Special thank you to The Starry Plough Pub!
I am in 4th grade when our class watches a video about our bodies and sex,
how things will change,
cartoon depictions of anatomy,
giggling from Tommy and Ricky,
Two girls with ringlet curls too embarrassed to watch,
so they bury their faces in skin.
I mimic the nerves of my peers,
but see, I kind of already know about sex and the proper words like
vagina and penis.
Because my parents talked to me about this stuff,
Held an open door policy
Questions never afraid to be asked,
so they were always answered.
Freshman year in health class, we learn even more.
We learn about things like STDs and protection.
Girls come in and speak about their experiences with teen pregnancy.
Bodies are not quite as funny anymore,
We see drawings of sperm swimming and where exactly the clitoris is located,
though some men still can’t find it…
Everything is explained.
But they do not tell us what death looks like.
I have seen pictures in textbooks
of things like herpes or the implantation of the egg in the uterus,
but nobody paints a picture of the grim reaper.
No class prepares you for what it looks like,
How death has a smell,
That it permeates the room,
The air becomes so thick
that sometimes you can almost taste it.
I am 16 when I first taste it
He is shrinking day by day,
this man who was never embarrassed
to talk to me about things other fathers shied away from.
I am 16 when I clean vomit stained sheets
and stay up all night with my ear pressed to the wall
so I can listen for his labored breathing.
I am 16 when cancer hits my world
in a way I never anticipated I would have to learn.
We are just a family of three.
Spilling honesty at the dinner table,
I remember it like a triangle of safety
someone once told me
this was a new theory on how to protect yourself during an earthquake,
Create a triangle of safety
and that’s what we did
in that small family of three.
Until adenocarcinoma asks for a plate,
pulls up a chair,
invites itself to every moment,
resting inside my fathers gall bladder,
working it’s way up his chest.
It becomes so greedy,
It stops my father from eating.
I am sick all the time,
but I am not the one dying.
Where is the pamphlet on how I’m supposed to survive?
I want to scream at my principal,
every instructor there trying to teach me,
Where is the manual
for my heart to keep beating
when his ceases?
Nobody can tell me.
Nobody can tell me.
That’s the thing about death,
that even with a doctor’s note
and a ticking clock,
nobody can tell me
how I’m supposed to stop my own bleeding.
For more from Ari, be sure to follow her on Facebook: