As an indie author, I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter. I write the odd joke, plug the shit out of my book series, and try to steer you off Twitter and onto my blog with carefully chosen and manipulated silly photos, which is probably why you’re reading this now. There are two standout things I’ve learned from interacting with other Twitter users: 1) cats are way more popular than I thought they were, and 2) there’s a whole load of crazy in the world. And I mean a shit-ton.
Of all the kinds of crazy I’ve witnessed, my current favorite has to be intense, foaming-at-the-mouth-to-meet-their-idol fandom. Before you go straight to the comments section to call me an asswipe, hear me out. I get regular fandom. It gives us purpose, in a pathetic kind of way. We can get through a difficult day knowing we can go home and worship Justin Bieber, One Direction, or Kermit the Frog. (I was scraping the bottom of the barrel there.) It also gives us a sense of community, knowing that there are other goofballs out there who obsess about Kermit the Frog as much as we do.
Being a fan is generally an innocuous pursuit, but I think we can both agree there’s healthy interest, and not-so-healthy interest. I believe the difference is this: the sane fan enjoys that famous person enriching their life, whereas the insane fan wants to be part of their idol’s life. They’ll stop at nothing to meet their idol, possibly even if they’re deceased. Common symptoms are: creepy narcissism, an inability to talk or post about anything else, and a total disregard for all the things in the world that actually matter. A rarer symptom is having their idol’s surname as part of their Twitter handle (true story).
I truly envy these people. While I’m worried about my receding hairline, whether to buy life insurance, or my daily fiber intake, these people are so distracted they couldn’t possibly give a shit about any of those things. That seems like a cool place to be.
I want me some, at least for a little while. Just a couple minutes. And what better way than to write a letter, ostensibly writing about and to my idol, but not being able to keep my hand away from the cookie jar and inevitably rambling on about myself. Receding hairline…what receding hairline? By God, it’s working!
Cue wavy dissolve before dream sequence.
Dear Jason Statham,
Let me start out by saying I love your movies. But this wasn’t always the case. When I was at university, I used to wear a bowtie and think that I liked art-house films with little dialog, lots of staring into space, and actors smoking cigarettes as though they were kissing a beautiful lady with the patience of a Tibetan monk. But I’m happy to say I’m cured now. I know I’ll never be fully over this disease—it’s definitely a disease, Jason—but I’m in recovery. It’s all thanks to you.
(Can I call you Jay? Is that cool with you? Is it even short for Jason? Forget it, I’ll just carry on writing Jason.)
Regardless, with your performance in The Transporter, you helped me discover that I don’t like artsy movies. I like movies that don’t take themselves too seriously, movies in which the actors have bulging muscles, raise one eyebrow after delivering a cheesy line, and straighten their shirt collar after kicking a bad guy’s ass. I feel like I’m free, like I’ve discovered who I am, and it all started with you. I love you, Jason, but not in that way. Not that there’d be anything wrong with that.
This lack of pretension seeped into other areas of my life: I no longer pretend that I like scallops, classical music, or those fancy potato chips that boast the quality of the soil used to grow their silly unpeeled potatoes. Cheez Doodles all the way for me, Jason. Most importantly, it’s influenced my writing style: gone are the trite metaphors and observations, unnecessary and overlong descriptions of rooms and places, and intellectualization of characters’ emotions. In their place is dumb fun. Fast-paced, exciting, and a little silly: like watching two giraffes engaged in a taekwondo bout.
As a tribute, I make reference to you in my novel Bad Guy by Proxy. I shoehorned in your doing your own stunts—super-fun fact, by the way. And there’s even a character loosely based on you. He’s a martial artist and has a bald head. (I’ve often thought of kissing yours, in a manly way, like when I turn my dad’s attempt at a handshake into a hug.)
Jason, I salute you. Keep up the good work. I’ll carry on watching if you keep acting in that ironic, self-aware way of yours. You’ll never play Macbeth, and for that I’d like to kiss you in a special place—in a totally straight way.
If reading about my healthy interest in Jason Statham has convinced you I’d make a decent comedy thriller writer, you’re in a luck, because that happens to be the exact genre I write in. You can check out the words and punctuation I have for sale here.