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What a celebrity cruise with my favorite star taught me about disappointment

Imagine finding out your absolute favorite celebrity would be hosting a cruise for 2,000 of his fans. You get tickets to the cruise and happily board the ship with the other 1,999 people, excited to get a glimpse of your all-time fave. Do you get angry when he is so busy entertaining everyone that you only get 10 minutes or so of face time? Or worse, do you say something inappropriate to his girlfriend because you think he belongs with you?

We all have our celebrity crushes. I’m sure many of us have even made a “deal” with significant others about which celebs are allowed on our “list.” When, though, does expectation outweigh reality?

The above actually happened to a trio of celebrity brothers recently, on the cruise that they held for their fans. 2,000 lucky individuals — sadly, I was not one of them — got to hang out with the Scott Brothers of HGTV fame for four days. A couple of sour apples spoiled the bunch and actually prompted the oldest brother, J.D. Scott, to shed light on the situation with his ever popular weekly Hot Topic discussions on Facebook. Thankfully, the disdain seemed to be contained to those sour apples and not to popular opinion.

The whole situation got me thinking about expectation versus reality and how common this notion has become. I see it every day as a professor. Countless students have yelled at me when it took me a bit to return their calls or respond to their emails. I’ve heard the “I paid a lot of money for this class” line more times than I can count. Much like the Scott Brothers, I am a human and can only do so much. From what I gather from those on the cruise, the boys went out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time, often working from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. the following morning. While I’m not a celebrity, I can sympathize; I work extremely hard, sometimes seven days a week to help my students succeed.

Personally, I think we can blame the Internet.

Not that I dislike the Internet or anything, but it does tend to give us an unrealistic view of the world. Think about it: How many times have you emailed someone and literally checked your inbox five minutes later to see if they have responded? I catch myself doing it all of the time. What about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat? The creation of these things has made us feel closer to celebs than we ever thought possible. Suddenly, they’re real people, living and breathing as we do, perhaps even talking directly to us, as is the case with the Scott Brothers — who love their fans so much that they often chat with them. I can see where a person who has only been privy to this sort of world — one with the Internet — might misconstrue reality.

Another perfect example is what happened to a friend of mine years ago. She was new to the whole Internet experience and actually thought she was talking to one of the members of her favorite band. She was young and naive, so she got to the point where she honestly thought that they were in an online relationship of sorts. She went so far as to disown me because I tried to tell her it was extremely unlikely that it was actually him on the other end of the computer. Unfortunately, I was proven correct when he announced on national TV that he was seeing someone. It pained me to see her as upset as she was when the realization hit. Thankfully, it didn’t destroy her; she eventually rebounded. I’ve read stories about people whose story doesn’t end so nicely.

So I ask you, my friends: How far is too far, and how can we fix it?

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