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How to Treat Famous People

Facial Hair

Beating the Thunder, at home, is like sticking a Coca-Cola can in your mouth and calling it art. More on the game during the day.

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The handsome gentleman in the photograph below is DeAngelo Williams, running back for the Carolina Panthers and fantasy football god.



At the Timberwolves game, he sat about fifteen feet to my right, in the row behind me. During breaks, and once during the game, at least a dozen people walked up to him and asked for an autograph or a picture. One person shouted from the next section over a rapid-fire volley of thanks for getting him into his fantasy league's playoffs. I was mortified. Perhaps the novelty of being recognized by strangers hasn't worn off yet for Mr. Williams, but it will.

I absolutely will not ask for autographs. My default position is to leave the person alone. He or she will sense my recognition, if they acknowledge me at all. If the person is particularly interesting or important to me such that I must make contact, I'll shake hands, tell the person a compliment, and leave it at that.

For instance, once while walking out of a 49ers-Cardinals game in San Francisco, I saw a familiar face to my right. I sidled up to the man and asked, "Has anyone ever told you you look a lot like Mark Grace?"

"That's because I am Mark Grace," he said.

"Well, I just want to let you know I enjoyed watching you play all those years," I said.

He smiled, thanked me, and we went on our ways.

That's it.

I like to think that my approach does something small for the other person, which is enough for me. I don't need to prove to anyone that Mark Grace smiled at something I said.