Most of us don’t meet famous people in our day-to-day lives, particularly heads of state and other political leaders who are often too busy for chance encounters. Even if you find yourself in the White House, the odds of meeting anyone you’d recognize from the news are pretty slim.
But as many news outlets have revealed, President Trump’s schedule isn’t quite as fixed as those of presidents past. When at the White House, he tends to wander around aimlessly. On his many vacations to Mar-A-Lago, he appears to hobnob with wealthy people—who pay for that opportunity—rather than, you know, doing his job. It seems to me that Trump mostly spends his time waiting for people to recognize him.
So, the odds are that much greater that you, a common American citizen, might actually run into the guy when you’re not expecting it. And given that the odds are also pretty good that you, as a common American citizen, disapprove of how his administration has conducted its business so far, what are you going to do if that happens?
It might be ridiculous, but I have a suggestion: act disappointed that he’s not famous enough.
This idea is inspired by a passage from the book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives Of Donald J. Trump, in which a lie Trump tells to make himself seem more important actually, for a brief moment, has emotional repercussions for him:
The relevant passage once again, for those of who of you who prefer not to squint at tweets:
Donald has already set himself up for a fall. Prior to leaving New York, he told real estate vice-president Blanche Sprague that singer Michael Jackson would be accompanying them to Tokyo. Unaware that the boss’s claim was just another big lie, Sprague leaked word to the media that Jackson would be coming along. The rumor subsequently traveled around the globe to Japan. Upon arriving in Tokyo, Donald and his party find a horde of Japanese reporters and camera crews waiting in the airport concourse.
“Stop!” Donald commands his minions, forging ahead of them at a quickened pace. “I’ll go out by myself. They’re here to see me.”
But when Donald reaches the end of the concourse, the media horde does not react or even seem to know who he is. By the time the rest of his traveling entourage catches up with him, the Japanese are staring dumbfounded.
“Where is Michael Jackson?” a Japanese media spokesman asks in English.
One of Donald’s party informs them that Jackson could not make the trip, then hastens to add, “Mr. Trump is here and will give you a brief photo and question opportunity about his reasons for coming to Japan.”
The media spokesman looks baffled. He turns to the assembled horde of reporters and camera crews and says something to them in Japanese. The entire group turns and drifts off without bothering to ask a single question of their American visitor. Donald is visibly shaken. Fearing that the Japanese’ media’s snub might put him in a dangerous depression, Norma Foerderer and Blanche Sprague grab him by the arm and escort him through the airport.
Now, obviously the exact parameters of this encounter can never be replicated again; like it or not, Trump is the President of the United States, and now no one can say they don’t know who he is. That’s why he ran in the first place.
But while you can’t approach Trump from a place of true naïveté, you can still mess with his ego a little bit. It probably wouldn’t even be that difficult, if you can manage a straight face. The trick is to be polite and conversational, but still completely dismissive and uninterested in him. Some suggestions for talking points:
“Whoah, for a second I thought you were Alec Baldwin! My apologies. They do such a great job with the makeup on that show, it’s really uncanny.”
“Huh, you look… *different* in person.”
“Did you bring Sean Spicer with you? That guy is great. I loved him on SNL.”
“Are you still doing that TV show with the celebrities?” (He will no-doubt point out that Arnold Schwarzenegger is now the host of Celebrity Apprentice) “ARNOLD? Oh man, I love that guy! He’s my favorite celebrity in the world. If I ever met him it would probably be the best day of my life. Are you friends with him? Arnold is so cool. I bet he’d be a great president.”
“Aw, I thought that Barack Obama was going to be here. I voted for him, you know.”
“Where is Michael Jackson?” (We all know Jackson has passed, but on the off chance that Trump still hears this phrase in his nightmares, it might be worth it to trigger his subconscious)
“How odd to meet you in the flesh! I thought you’d be taller.”
“Wow, what they say about the camera is true, huh?” (Let him infer what you mean by that, but pointedly stare at his midsection just in case.)
“Oh! Your hand is… not what I expected. Is it hard to fit watches to your wrist size?”
“Is Steve Bannon here? I was hoping I’d get to meet him. I’m a big Seinfeld fan.”
“I met George Bush once. He was nice. Very presidential.”
“You know, you and my grandma have the same jaw line? It’s like looking at a family photo.”
“I loved you in Back to The Future II. You had a cameo in that, right? No? Who am I remembering?”
If you get the chance to use any of these salient icebreakers, let us know how they worked out. You’d be doing America proud.