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His Favorite Physicist

The blog entry after this will be titled The Movie Ballerina Sex-Love Playa Fallacy Comparison. Which sounds like an episode title for The Big Bang Theory. Which relates because the title of this entry is…see above.

First, some context. And a wee bit of name dropping…

Best Beloveds of course remember that Stephen Colbert and I are like, SUPER TIGHT BEST FRIENDIES? By which I mean ONCE I was at a party my publishing house threw and his book had just come out and I got to meet him and he was nice.

Then a year or two later Karen Abbott and I waited outside in the bitter NYC cold to be in his audience, and I am pretty sure he recognized me as his dear friend from the party. (Not really.) (But I kept pointing out to Karen all the entirely invented evidence that his whole show was aimed at pleasing me, and that he was sending me secret BFF signals all through the show.)

The truth is, when I met him, he was SUPER lovely and doing the thing where the celebrity tries to treat the fan like a person and not a fan. Like, asking me questions about me, being really genuine and kind.

I was COMPLETELY uninterested in that. I just wanted to scream my adoration into his face and get my picture taken with him and FLEE before I spontaneously combusted or peed the floor. He was very gracious about THAT, too, and just kinda rolled with it when it was clear I was not UP to being treated like a person. I escaped as soon as I could, camera phone clutched moistly in my delighted hand, heart pounding.

I came home and told Scott about it, breathless with delight, and THE COLBERT REPORT is one of the few shows Scott will watch that isn’t on Discovery channel. He smiled and said, “Cool.” Totally blasé. HE would have let The Colbert treat him like a person.

And don’t even ASK me about the first time I met Laura Lippman.

It was a LUNCH, not a loud party, so she was spared the screaming OHEMGEE I SO DOUBLE HEART YOU AND ALL YOUR SUPERNESS that poor Mr. Colbert was subjected to, but I will confess it involved blushing. AND stammering. AND toe scrubbing. Sadsadsad.

I came home and told Scott about it, breathless with delight, and he said, “Oh yeah. She’s very talented.” His heart rate did not rise. His voice did not quiver. He was….INSOUCENT!

A few years ago, Scott came with me on a business trip to NYC, and while we were there, we went to the theatre. My favorite thing to do in NYC is go to TICKETS in Times Square and see what I can get into half price that night. We scored PRIME seats to a Tom Stoppard play, and two rows in front of us, rocking an up-do and a white dress that probably cost more then my car…BAM! Nicole Kidman.

This is an A LIST MOVIE STAR, people. She was in MOULIN ROUGE! which hits my top five all time movies. (Other 4: History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Grosse Pointe Blank, and a revolving one depending on what has rocked my world recently.) Scott ALSO ADORES Moulin Rouge, and there was Nicole Kidman, and we were close enough to spit in her hair.

(For the record, I did not. JUST SAYING I COULD HAVE. THAT CLOSE!)

I clutched Scott’s arm and hissed., “NICOLE KIDMAN! ONE O CLOCK! LOOKIT! LOOOOOKIT!”

I spazzed. I vibrated. I hyperventilated. I trembled. I had to be physically restrained from leaping up and pointing.

Scott said, “Oh. Yeah. That IS her. Neat.” And went back to reading Playbill.

Now that we have a context, I have to tell you….Mr. Cool. Mr. Cucumber. Mr. Icy Veins. LORD INSOUCENT OF UPPER BLASÉ. Lost his crap earlier this week.

He was at a conference in Vegas and the key note speaker was…I refer you to the title.


Answer: Scott.

You should have HEARD him telling me about it on the phone. He was VIBRATING with thrill. And then I kept getting these EXCITED Un-Scottly TEXTS from him, saying things like, “He was on the same shuttle as me. I shook hand and told him I was looking forward to the keynote!”

He deployed an exclamation point! WOW. For my low key husband, this is the equivalent of me meeting some admired celestial being and having my head literally explode into chunks of fevered joy. And here I use the word literally to mean LITERALLY. I would have to DIE in an explosive wave of pleasure SO GREAT that my HEAD would fall into several pieces to be the equivalent of SCOTT sending that text.

He took pictures at the talk. He waited in line to have his book signed. He was TOO SHY to get his picture taken WITH the guy. HA! I am SO filled with laugh and charm to see him FINALLY fan-ning out.

I told ALL my friends about this, and they all laughed and were charmed. Then I ran out of friends, so I started telling HIS friends, which was…less satisfying. When I told both Skeet and Chris, and they reacted almost identically. BOTH conversations went something like this:

Me: So Scott went to this conference and the keynote speaker turned out to be his favorite physicist, and you know, usually Scott is—

Friend of Scott: OH! Who was it?

Me: Who was what?

FoS: The physicist? Who was it?

Me: Umm, not sure, like a Japanese sounding name?


I love geeks. All of them. As a tribe.

But I love mine most of all.

28 comments to His Favorite Physicist

  • Shelley S

    I just have to say that your blog is a delight to read. Thank you for sharing.

  • Aimee

    Heeeeeeeee! That’s awesome.

  • Beth R

    I would have been totally geeked out with Scott… AND with you 🙂 Maybe I’m just a fangirl for being a fangirl?

  • Let me just say that, the first time you responded to one of my comments on your blog, I stood up in my living room, screamed, and did a dance. I will geek out when I meet you in a few months. Prepare yourself.

    Also, my best friend is much like Scott, and maintains his cool during all the most exciting times. I’m waiting for the day I get an “exclamation point text”.

    Love this post! PS: You got a picture with Colbert?! Was it posted on here?!

  • I’m with Dani, if I met you in person, I would fan-girl all over your lovely sweater. …no, TRUTHFULLY, I would probably not SAY anything because I don’t want to be THAT person than can’t treat a very talented individual as a PERSON rather than an OBJECT OF REVERENCE.

    Whenever you’ve commented on one of my comments, I literally lose my sh*t and immediately show my husband. He raises his eyebrows and studies me as if I have lost my mind. But I know, I KNOW, how he’d act if he ever met, say…Chris Metzen. Yeah.

    I, too, love geeks (as a tribe) and I love mine the most.

  • If I met you in person I’d probably be more likely to recognize your voice than your face haha. Thanks to your audiobooks your voice is fairly familiar. And i would squee and tell you that you are brilliant. (Psst, Joss! You’re brilliant!) I am now considering myself not very many degrees of separation away from you and from Stephen Colbert via Mir even though I’ve never met Mir I have been blog-reading for ever and ever and ever and my blogfriends feel very real, even though I live entirely too far away to ever meet them at conferency things and what not. Hm, I think the espresso is hitting me now! Sorry ’bout that. *blush*
    Anyhoo, I too love the geekdom. I quite hope to marry a geek – only way to balance me out 😉

  • 1) LOVE “The Big Bang Theory” 🙂

    2) I once met Stephen King (he was very gracious and kind even though I was a complete dork) and right after, I called my husband. I babbled something into my cell phone that I’m still not sure was English but my husband? He knew. He got it. 🙂
    (I wrote a blog post about it in case anyone wants to cringe along with me – http://madelinemora-summonte.blogspot.com/2011/11/king-of-all-days-part-i.html)

    3) I pretty much geek out when I meet favorite authors – I did it when I met you at the South Carolina Writer’s Conference a couple of years ago! But every single author was kind and nice and encouraging about my own writing. That’s class.

  • OK, have to admit it, I’m a geek too. I would have gotten excited too. And, physics is just a hobby of mine. Thanks for the fun story!

  • Klint Demetrio

    SQUEEE!!! Michio Kaku! He’s ex-Army btw. 😀

  • Em

    Well, good for that Machu Picchu guy because Nicole Kidman and Stephen Colbert probably get treated that way all the time but honestly, at how many parties and plays does a physicist get to be fawned over? Not many I bet.

    And for my own meeting Joshilyn Jackson story… I got a sitter, got my sorry butt through city traffic in Cambridge in the rain and arrived late. I asked you a question that you did not answer “duh” to and when I got a picture with you at the end, you posed in that way people are supposed to remember to pose so that they look nice in the picture – sort of to the side, forward leg bent, chin up. I, however, am standing next to you, fat faced, red faced and beaming like a 1st grader next to her science project. All puffed out chest and trying to convey with my eyes “LOOK who is standing RIGHT THERE!!”. Cuz I’m a nerd.

  • I have one too, Em, a story about the time I got to MEET! JOSHILYN! JACKSON!

    She was astonishingly gracious. I stammered about how inspirational she’d been the time she spoke to my critique group, and she started to respond, and I realized she thought we’d actually met, like in person, so I interrupted her (DIE of embarrassment! I interrupted her!) to explain we hadn’t actually met because it was online.

    She gave me a split second of owl eyes and said, with just the right touch of pity, “Oh, honey. Don’t you remember?” (insert comedic pause of exactly the right number of seconds) “We made out!”

    And I melted into a total puddle of fangirl SQUEE! from which I have never recovered.

  • There needs to be “like” buttons or something so I can like these comments. Even the comments made me laugh!

  • So my mom and I took a road trip last summer to a bookstore north of Milwaukee. I really wanted to go to this super cool author’s book signing, and my mom was happy to tag along. We listened to her book on tape (that would be “The Girl Who Stopped Swimming,” duh) all the way up. We browsed the bookstore, we staked out comfy seats on the sofa rather than the folding chairs, and we thoroughly enjoyed the reading from Backseat Saints. And then I won the gift card drawing, so I got to purchase even more books, which meant we were there right up until the store was closing. As I checked out, you asked the staff about a cab to get back to your hotel, and there were going to be long delays or something… so I said, “Not to sound like a crazy stalker fan or anything, but we can give you a ride if you like.” Apparently a 42-year-old woman and her mother don’t appear terribly threatening, because you accepted. I sent up a little thank you that my back seat was clean and we all chatted casually for the five minutes it took to get to the hotel. As we were driving away, Mom said, “Oh, she’s so NICE.” And I said, “Yes, she IS.” And they we giggled like a couple of twelve year olds.

  • Wow, you can name drop as good as anyone in L.A., but without all the pretentiousness and fake, uh, “enhancements.”

    I’ve been here for over twenty years and worked with some pretty big names, so I’m probably more like your husband. “Hey, was that David Duchovny? Hm. I understand he just bought a new car.”

    My wife is the one who goes into full stalker mode. “David Duchovny? Where? Which car is his? Can we wait until he comes out of the store? Which way did he go?”

    But maybe someday we can meet you (a REAL celeb). THEN we can see which of us goes all stalker-ish. In a good way, I mean.

  • Brigitte

    You AND the comments, too funny!
    Since I already freak at talking to regular ol’ total strangers, I’d have to run and hide from FAMOUS total strangers. But then I could claim I’d been in close enough proximity to breathe the same air as them, I suppose. 😉

  • DebR

    Em!! I have TOTALLY been mentally calling Scott’s Favorite Physicist Machu Picchu ever since I read this blog post. I feel so much less like an older-and-less-attractive-Penny among the Big Bang guys now that I know I am not alone in that mental quirk! Wheeeeee!!!

    Peee Essss to Joshilyn – I heart geeks too.

  • We married the same man. Mine is just blond and in Texas. Therefore, my favorite line from the ENTIRE post was, “He deployed an exclamation point!”

    That right there is a BRILLIANT piece of man-geek writing.

  • And ALSO @Em. . .your Machu Picchu comment made me laugh audibly in my empty classroom, because the man I married that is just like Scott but not? HE is a science teacher. . .

    And ALSO @Joss. . .I thought of you last night because NORMALLY when Tony wants to watch a documentary in bed, I’m all (That’s fine as long as I can read, cuddle up next to you, or sleep) EVEN IF it’s about the Hoover Dam–your PERSONAL favorite of all documentaries. But LAST night, well, he was watching the SAME Hoover Dam documentary. . .I had to put my foot down. Twice? Um. No.

  • Dew

    Hee! This is awesome! I think deploying an exclamation mark would definitely be required when in association with Michio Kaku. I’m pretty sure my husband would have it no other way!

  • Totally, totally get this! My sweet geek smiles and nods at all my fangirl moments of author worship (and yes, you’re at the top of those moments, Joss!), but one of these days she’s gonna meet up with a wordworker or luthier or surveyor, and then I can smile and be sweet in return.

    Love geeks, each and every one of ’em. And you, for appreciating them!

  • I know someone who knows you and bragged to people. So, how pathetic is that? I fanned out by proxy! My husband answered a board game question of who you’d most like to meet, living or dead, with the guy who designed the Coke bottle. Except he actually knew his real name! I called him a nerd and gave him a kiss.

  • Eleanor

    Oh dear. I read down until I saw the photo of Michio Kaku, and then I squeed. Because there HE WAS. The celebrity whom I just saw appearing on QI on the BBC! Yes! Yes! It’s ASIMO! *Ahem, the little robot on the left in the pic with Michio Kaku* Yes, I am a pathetic geek. Well, maybe not pathetic, and it looks like I’m in good company here.

  • Kim

    I hope I didn’t disappoint you with my lack of fangirl fawning at our DBF “date” at the Brickstore. I can promise inside I was jumping up & down and bragged for weeks to anyone I could find.

  • Laura Lippman

    To quote Captain Hammer, who I know has been alluded to on this blog before because, yes, I am your fan: I remember it differently. Surely, the blushing and stammering was all mine because we were surrounded by independent booksellers and you are one of their goddesses. I figured I was at the party because it was in my hometown and all I required was cab fare to attend.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    At least you didn’t spend your entire time with Laura Lippman (OMG, did you see she POSTED above ?) explaining your name. When I met you, I did not have the courage to ask for a picture and spent the entire time that we talked explaining why I had asked you to sign “Shelley” on my book, but my posts on your blog show my name as “Michelle”. And then when you got home and blogged about the conference and mentioned meeting me, dubbing me “Michelle-who-is-really-Shelley” I squeed because you mentioned me in your blog. My name is Michelle-who-is-Shelly and I am a total novelist fan geek.

    P.S. It’s curtains for you Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.

  • Lori B.

    I’m married to a geek who is also a sports guy. We live outside of Nashville, so we get to see lots of music stars, movie stars (Nicole and hubby Keith live here) and sports stars. Nashvillians pride themselves on not acknowledging “fame” to the famous person’s face. So much so that sometimes when they come from L.A. they get weirded out when you talk to them in the Starbucks line as if they were just another normal person. Of course most of us post the siting on FB, but we’d never be so rude as to ‘fan out’ in frint of them 😉 So, I’ve come more than once raving about having seen a ‘star’ out in public to my hubby and he nods and smiles and is completely nonplussed.

    Two years ago in church on Easter Sunday I look over at my hubby just after we returned from the communion rail and realize something is wrong. He has a weird look on his face and is trying to act cool but it is not working. Concerned he might be having a major medical problem, I shrilly whisper ‘what is wrong with you’ and he whispers a man’s name and says he’s sitting behind us. Who? He says the name again, and I’m still not getting it. He finally says the name, tells me he’s an olympic silver medalist and one of the Predator’s top hockey players. (I still can’t remember his name.) it was kind of fun to see him freak out a little over a star sighting, although he would have cut his arm off rather than ask for an autograph in church. Sadly, a few of our church members did just that…

  • Lori B.

    Last post should have said “I’ve come HOME more than once…” Home was missing. Hangs head in shame…