Who among us does not have a childhood celebrity crush. The one person from a band/movie/t.v. show that we knew just needed to meet us once to realise that we were the love of their life.
Mine was Ralph Macchio. Specifically Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso in Karate Kid. I really believed we were meant to be. Daniel had a love interest in the movie, Ali (with an I). She was not the one for him. Obviously I was. There is a scene where Daniel and Ali were in a photo booth and took a reel of photos together. I remember thinking “Please, Daniel and I are both olive skinned and brunette, our pictures would be perfection, not these two.” I really believed with all my heart that I was Daniel’s true love, not Ali. If only I lived in America and not so far away in Australia, we would have already met and fallen in love. I practised bouncing a soccer ball on my knee (the way he taught Ali at the beach when they first met) for hours every night for months. That was the way I’d get his attention and win him over. By showing him my soccer prowess. Sure I was 11 and he was 24 at the time, but let’s not get hung up on such details.
My obsession with the movie and Ralph escalated quickly. I watched the movie over a hundred times, was able (and am still able) to recite lines from all characters, had my parents watch and also love the movie, bought copies of Karate Kid 1, 2 and 3 from a video library in my neighbourhood that was closing down, and the book. Yes, there was a book. The worst kind of book. The type that is made after the movie, not the other way around. I know, I know. You gotta understand though, this was true love. Why else would I buy copies of American Teen Beat in the late eighties at a cost of $8 per magazine. That probably equates to paying $50 a magazine at today’s rates. As an 11 year old. If only I had used those powers of persuasion on my parents for something worthwhile.
I watched every movie that Ralph Macchio had ever made. The Outsiders and My Cousin Vinny are still two of my favourite movies. Up The Academy, not so much. I even sent the one and only fan letter I ever wrote to Ralph. Of course by the time I wrote it, I was a mature 12 year old that didn’t just gush about how beautiful he was, no, I wrote to Ralph about what a great actor he was. I had credibility, I was not some lovesick young girl. Sadly he never wrote back. Didn’t even send an autographed photo. I still can’t really talk about it.
Although I have squandered much time, money and effort into a love that was never going to be returned, I regret nothing. It gave me joy and control of something at an age where we are all just trying to find out who we are. So for those of you hoping for an Instagram Like or Comment from your celebrity crush, let me remind you of the lesson from that famous poem Ithaka. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.