I realize that to be in the presence of an international star of stage, screen, and radio can be intimidating. I don't think it's arrogant to acknowledge that I have a certain quality—call it an aura, call it a vibe, call it "It"—that puts people off their game. Disarms them. Always has. Bound to. God blesses you with talent, looks, sexual prowess, voice of an angel, brains of an Einstein, instincts of a jaguar, and believe you me, boychik, people notice. Is it a burden? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Bet your ass.

Which is why when people—I don't like the word "fans"—get nervous or awkward around me, I tend to be lenient. And no, not simply because the alternative prolongs the encounter. I believe allowing people to tell you how much they love you is part of the package.

It's called humility.

But I'm here today to tell you that there is such a thing as too much.

Most people, they come up, they say I love you, Mr. Patinkin. I felt your pain in Alien Nation. Your album Mamaloshen made me plotz. I cried when you bailed on Criminal Minds. Great. Yes. I get it. "Thank you." I may seem preoccupied with, you know, LIVING MY ACTUAL LIFE, I appreciate it. Fine. Great. Next.

But some of these people... Ay-yi-yi! I have only one question for them. Let me illustrate: Take the guy who followed me into the Sky Miles lounge at JFK—I don't even think he was a member—just to say, "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to—" and yes, I did stop him before he could say the last word, because frankly, I don't appreciate being pigeonholed.

I created the role of Inigo. Breathed life into what, before I came on board, was, frankly, a rather two-dimensional caricature, mired in cliché. Is it my job to listen as some jag-off with a mileage upgrade does a poor impersonation? Hang on, let me call my agent and ask him to look up that clause in my contract from 29 years ago, thank you very much. Did I say that? No. You know what I did say? WHAT ARE YOU THINKIN'? recommended