“Dude, you just got scolded by Zachary Levi!” – Friend
Yeah, I did. It was at the last night of Nerd HQ’s Dance Party at San Diego Comic Con. Zach was cool enough to just be mingling with the crowd, and as I approached him, my hand was already in autopilot, whipping out the camera in selfie mode.
Holding it up for the typical selfie-celeb pic, he put his hand up to block the camera and was like “No…No…nononono…This is a dance party not a picture party.”
My wife pleaded with him, but he gave his reasons, which I thought were Sunday school hilarious but also true (dang it).
We all agreed, had a nice little convo, and I brought up the fact that he and I had the same wristband (Nerd HQ wristband). I mean it’s his party yet he’s hanging out with the people, chatting, not taking pics like he’s some celeb, and rocking the same swag as everyone else.
Zach played along with my observation and was like “Yes! Now THAT you can take a picture of. Everyone fist bump and put your hands in!”
Later that night, I caught eyes with Zach from a distance and we gave each other a “What’s up” head nod and peace fingers like we were old friends.
I’m sure it wouldn’t have been like that if our initial encounter were just a typical selfie and “Thank you.”
I had to explain to myself and to my wife that what he was doing by not taking pics with people was causing them to (painfully) be in the moment. To have stories saying the were able to talk to him and each other, to realize how freaking tall he was, and witty he was for not wanting to take a pic with us. It wasn’t snobby or high-horsed, it was what anyone would’ve done to enjoy the moment with their fellow nerds and friends.
Celebs like this stand out to me. They shift the culture back to normality not only by building the community but also by being in it.
And now, my friends and I have this very story to tell, which is arguably better than a picture.