So, I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Helsinki yesterday speaking at the Nordic Business Forum. Oh, you haven’t heard? That’s ok, I can tell you all about it. He flew in to Helsinki on his private plane, jumped straight into an SUV and, escorted by hoards of bodyguards and two police cars, headed off to the gym before going back to his hotel to rest up. I know this because the papers and my Facebook friends have been following his every move. I must have seen at least 20 selfies of 40-something businesspeople smiling next to The Terminator. Most of them were blurry, but hey, your hands would probably shake too if you were trying to fit Arnold Schwarzenegger and your head into the same picture.
I don’t think people have been this excited about a celebrity arriving on Finnish soil since Wiseguy touched down at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in 1991. He was greeted by a huge crowd of screaming fans chanting: ”Wiseguy, Wiseguy, you are such a nice guy. Welcome to Finland, it’s nice to have you here!” I’m sure most people here remember that day well. Ken Wahl probably isn’t one of them, however, since he was trashed when he got here and only got drunker and rowdier over the course of his visit. Talk about a wasted journey!
It’s fair to say that Arnold is a wiser guy than Ken Wahl, but all the attention still must have been strange for him.
When you grow up in Manhattan (or LA, where Arnold lives), you get used to seeing and living with celebrities. And as most New Yorkers will tell you, the correct protocol when you encounter someone famous is to either pretend you don’t recognize them at all or to silently look them straight in the eye as if to say: “You might be Paul McCarntey, but you’re high if you think you’re going to cut in front of me in line.” This actually happened to me once when Paul and I were both trying to buy groceries at Whole Foods. He got the message.
I guess the reason New Yorkers ignore celebrities is two-fold. A) So many famous people live in NY that we respect them enough to give them the privacy they clearly want. After all, it’s their home. And B) So many famous people live in NY that we wouldn’t want them running around the city thinking they’re better than the rest of us. After all, it’s our home.
I can understand that being famous probably isn’t as easy as it looks. It must get annoying to be recognized wherever you go and have random people come up and talk to you in a restaurant when you’re just trying to have an argument with your husband or wife like any normal person. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that hearing “OMG, I love your work and I’m your biggest fan!” could ever get old. I guess I’ll never know since most of us copywriters can walk around pretty much any city without encountering any fans. Sigh…
See you later, Terminator!