Oh, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. And it’s not like I didn’t expect it to happen again. Actors are … actorish, and this is what they do. They’re like cats on the doorstep…I want in…I want out…I want in…but unlike cats, you can’t exactly stick your foot under their butts and decide it for them. For one thing, most of them are bigger than you, if you happen to be me. For another, the whole virtual butt-kicking thing works much better in fetish DVDs than in motivational emails.
So I’ve heard.
But fame or no fame, actor or no actor, I’ve been down this pixel trail a time or two (dozen) before, and frankly, you can’t push people. They come or they go, and it can mean a great deal to the “audience” or it can mean nothing at all, but that makes no difference whatsoever to whether or not the person returns for the long term. I’ve seen people come back for twelve hours. I’ve seen people come back for just long enough to register a digital avatar trail and say “see, I went.” I’ve seen Brian Atene come and go and come back and go again over the course of a couple of years. But it’s the same process and we are just exactly as impotent.
I could email. I have his email. But I don’t for a second believe he’s playing coy: I think the man is honestly backing off, and that nothing is creepier than opening your email to see a mass of zombie grab-hands springing out from it, trying to draw you back. I’ll leave him be. If he returns, he returns; if he doesn’t, I hope he’s making shitloads of money and eventually sends me that autograph he owes me, which, no, I don’t think I’ll ever see. I’m like that myself, you see, and the list of things I owe to people I’ve never seen in the flesh is longer than I am tall. Even if I were, like, tall.
And if you think this is just about Brian Atene, you haven’t been paying attention at all.