Monday, December 28, 2009

Fame – Be Careful What You Wish For

Another Christmas has come and gone.

Christmas wishes hoped for. Some received – while others denied.

It's all part of Christmas.

But one wish I would never make is that of fame.

I have indeed met some famous people.

Once – at the young age of twenty - I got drunk with Burt Reynolds – me and about twenty five other people that night in the former Atlanta underground that used to house the Omni.

And I once stood in line at the airport with Bill Cosby – but he was in no mood to be sociable that day. Airports ticket lines are not conducive to grand moods of social levity.

I have written here already about the time I walked eighteen holes with Mike Weir.

As well, I once met basketball legend Isaiah Thomas as he waited for a puddle-jumper to take him from Detroit to Toronto. He was very friendly that day. He actually came up to us and asked us if we wanted his autograph. I have no idea why we declined his offer – but we did. I joked at the time that I hoped Mr. Thomas would not be on the same flight as us.

And once while at Canada's Wonderland amusement park north of Toronto, Shania Twain – a just then rising country music singer leaned back against a chain link fence as I did the same from the other side – and as we both turned around to see what we had done – I got the nicest smile from the soon-to-be-super-star as she apologized to me – as I apologized to her. So my bum has touched her bum. But that didn't impress her much – and to this day I wonder if I inspired that song?

But these are only random chance occurrences of paths in life crossing each other.

Novelty encounters only.

I have never seen any advantage to fame. And after the last month or so, witnessing the Tiger Woods affairs on every form of media available to the modern man, I wonder even more so "who would want fame?"

Why?

The world is a much smaller place now. And while I feel closer to friends I have not seen for thirty years as they continue to appear on various social media sites like facebook – it is also smaller in the way the creeps of the world can now approach my family online – promising great riches of Nigerian bank accounts and false and misleading emails from what appears to be my own bank asking me to please confirm the information for my various accounts.

The scary part is that we are just at the very beginning of this new age of the Internet – even though it has been prevalent in our lives for the last fifteen years.

Sites like YouTube to allow every person with a camcorder the ability to post their best attempt to be noticed in the hopes of instant fame.

Fame – why would anyone wish for fame?

The only fame I would ever wish for would be that of recognition among my peers – those that I struggle and toil with on a daily basis in the efforts to fulfill the obligations of our professional designations. And I believe we as a team have already accomplished that positive level of recognition – within the confines of our corporate audience at least.

I wonder if Tiger Woods is still happy to be famous.

It would appear that with fame come riches - or at least the opportunity for riches. And power. That seems to be the common perception of fame anyway.

But to me I think such fame would bring unwanted obligations. Conditions on fame such as constant public scrutiny. Approval ratings. And of course the loss of any privacy a person such as you and I may not appreciate that we enjoy.

Would I want pictures appearing on web sites of me all unkempt with ball cap on in sweatpants as I run into the market for sorely needed bread and milk for breakfast?

"Fred Brill is really a sloppy bum!" would read the caption – announcing the truth that my close circle of friends already know.

Would I want people speculating on my personal life because a picture appeared of me talking to a pretty girl out at a social function?

I think not.

It would also appear that a stipulation for popular fame is beauty.

So I think I am pretty safe.

I am not one that people would look upon as a beautiful person. I am actually quite odd looking. I am not complaining mind you. Being an odd-looking married father of two has its advantages.

I wonder how it must be for that beautiful girl – the one people like me are seen talking to that launches speculation on intentions and other what-nots.

How inconvenient it must be to be beautiful?

Yet there is a multi-billion dollar industry founded on products to make us more attractive – both men and women. And for what purpose?

Sex I guess. Sex would appear to be the motivating factor for so many stupid things people do.

Do you think Tiger Woods is still motivated by sex?

Who knows.

Who cares?

It's such a small world now.

Damned near crowded.

I don't answer the phone when the caller ID reads "Unknown". Let them talk to my answering machine.

I don't open emails from people I don't know – regardless of how large the sum in my Nigerian bank account could be.

But I still smile at strangers as I pass them in a store or on the street. Some smile back – others look offended that I acknowledged them.

I also sometimes like to wave at strangers as I go by in my car – but only for the sport of watching them try to figure out who I am and how it is that they must know me. My wife hates it when I do.

Someday perhaps I may find myself famous – quite by accident I would assure you. And should that day come – the game of passing strangers on the street and waving or smiling at them would take on a new aspect – depending on the nature of my fame.

Should I be acknowledged as that amazingly talented writer of Headstuffing – the response would be positive of course. But this is quite unlikely.

But should I be acknowledged as that horrid person accused of doing what-not to you-know-who for reasons we all know – the response would be much more negative.

I might even get punched in the nose.

And for this reason alone – I will do my best not to do anything horrid like what-not – certainly not to you-know-who – and never, never, never for reasons like the one we all know.

Because I'm already pretty odd-looking. A broken nose certainly wouldn't help.

Let others fill the role of beautiful and famous. Let them enjoy the riches and the power that fame brings.

As for me – I am quite content to simply remain anonymous – except for my name and odd-looking picture of me in the top right corner of this page.

I will simply continue to whisper to the world in my writings here on Headstuffing – attempting to make you laugh – or point out the foibles of the day – of our ways. And whisper those ideas I sometimes have that may make a difference in the world, whisper them into the ears of the rich and famous and powerful so that perhaps – just perhaps – one day that one of those ideas might take root in the public's imagination to be realized.

But leave the fame to someone else.

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