Ten years ago, I got a tip from a friend IRL about where to find Madonna’s personal Facebook page. Not the one the world sees, but her real one where she keeps up with friends and family. Turns out we knew someone in common, so on a whim, I sent her a friend request.
I never heard back. The nerve!
Sure, I was just some internet rando, but given that we shared a connection I thought there was a decent chance she’d click “accept”. I always wondered what the uber-famous among us eat for breakfast and here was a chance to find out.
I had a recent experience that gave me a hint as to why Madge ignored me. I received a friend request from someone I didn’t know. We had no connections and his name didn’t ring a bell, but after scrolling through his work history (entertainment industry) and available pics (seemed like he had a wife and traveled a bit), I thought “Eh, why not.”
Almost instantly I got a message from him asking me to talk. It was filled with typos and contained a link to a video about a project he was working on. It also claimed he was “good friends” with famous people.
Nice Midwestern guy that I am, I clicked the link, got the gist of his project, and sent back a note asking what he wanted to talk to me about.
Here’s something they don’t tell you in acting school: when you’re visible, people ask you for things. Help. Money. Your opinion. You’re asked for a lot of random stuff.
I don’t really mind this, I just find it interesting. When I was doing commercials and VO, no one asked me for anything. The second I started doing TV, suddenly people thought I was either A) connected and able to get them whatever they want, or B) wealthy.
I am neither.
This guy, whom I had never met and didn’t know anything about, wanted me to do him a favor. He asked me to get his project in front of people he thought I knew. I politely declined, for multiple reasons. First, I was raised to keep a respectable distance from people until I have a bit of a relationship with them. You get something when you put something in, you don’t get it just by showing up and demanding it. So that was strike one.
Strike two? I’m not a big shot actor who can wave a magic wand and get people to listen to him. I’m a serial guest star. I have no pull anywhere, with anyone. His ignorance of the hierarchy of the TV industry led to his unrealistic expectations.
Strike three is that I’m not going to vouch for someone I don’t know. I’m not stupid.
And if there’s a fourth strike, it’s that name droppers are always full of crap. Never trust one.
And so, I sent back a nice note wishing him luck and assumed that was the end of it. But of course, it wasn’t.
I wonder what’s been dropped into Madonna’s inbox over the years. Countless people must want God only knows what from her. I’m sure her outspokenness and overt sexuality hasn’t done her any favors in her effort to avoid internet crazies, if she’s been trying to. People asking for stuff must be just the beginning. Investment offers, resumes. Unsolicited lyrics, melodies, scripts, demo reels. Not to mention sad-sack stories about needing money for medical bills, funeral expenses or righting some godforsaken wrong. No wonder she ignored me.
She was on to something.
You might know that my acting career started in voice over, which is about the least visible thing you can do and still be an actor. I moved into corporate videos, commercials, print, writing, teaching, then finally TV, where I spend most of my time now.
It’s where I want to be and it’s taken me decades (literally) to get here, and I never knew that the price of admission would involve saying no to people I have never met. Which I don’t like to do, honest! But sometimes they leave me no choice.
So it was with this guy, and he shared how unhappy he was with my decision. He lectured me about life and how the business works. He said I “obviously” didn’t watch the video since if I had, I would have rolled out the red carpet for him. He called me “young” which since I’m 47 made me chuckle and struck me as condescending at the same time. And of course he claimed to know even MORE famous people, and there might have been a threat in there somewhere but I didn’t finish reading because really, it wasn’t worth my time.
So let’s recap: Random internet stranger wants something from me, I don’t give it to him, and he flips out.
Today I got a friend request from someone who looks like a nice lady. I don’t know her, neither does my wife, and we have no friends in common. She might be someone from my past that I just don’t remember. She could be totally harmless, like my many other FB friends I have never met in real life.
But she could also be the next crazy person, and life’s too short for crazy. I deleted the request.