This is the first in a new series on celebrity authors.
A couple years ago, I stumbled across a book titled "Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper" by Stephen J. Dubner. Dubner wrote about spending time with Franco Harris, a Hall of Fame running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dubner's childhood favorite.
The book tells of Dubner's childhood passion for Harris. Dubner even signed his school papers as "Franco Dubner". It was right at this point when I was drawn into the book not to emerge until I finished the entire book.
As an adult and accomplished writer, Dubner saw Harris on the cover of a magazine. He decided he had to meet Harris. The book tells how it went and how it all felt. It delves into the nature of hero-worship. It reveals a young man's dream and an adult's reality. It is poignant, funny and fascinating.
This book hit home with me. As everyone here knows, I have met some of my favorites. I have spent some real time with Roddy Piper, Andrea Evans, Rick Monday and others. Each time I have walked away with many emotions and thoughts. Even now, when I think back on each encounter, I have an ever-evolving set of feelings.
I exchanged a few notes with Dubner over the years. I told him I loved his book and that it helped me understand the feelings I had about my encounters with my old favorites.
Dubner did an outstanding job in explaining his feelings. He wrote what I had felt about my first few celebrity encounters. Meeting my childhood favorites was incredible, but meeting them also made them less "larger-than-life".
It's kind of a tradeoff. I was fortunate enough to get to know some of my favorites, but in getting to know them I saw their everyday traits. This isn't a knock on them. They are regular people afterall. In the end, the tradeoff is worth it however. I still love watching Piper (old or new) in the wrestling ring and I can reflect a bit on my interactions with Piper as a quasi-friend.
Besides Confessions, Dubner has written Freakonomics, Choosing My Religion and The Boy with Two Belly Buttons (a children's book). That is quite a wide range of topics.
Dubner's story wasn't just a book I enjoyed reading. It was like a therapy session. I gained a lot of understanding of myself, an admitted hero-worshiper.