Fifteen Minutes of Fame
I was famous this week! Bet you didnít even know, did you? Ah, itís true then what they say about fame being fleeting? It all started last week when I wrote a pretty good column - at least it was to me. Of course, I feel that way about every one I write. Each creation is a little part of the self that hurts to give up... sorta like a hangnail.
"This article really deserves to be read," I thought, knowing I was going to put it on my webpage. But this time I went a stretch further. Iíd been reading the editorial page of the local paper earlier, which happens to be the Nashville
Tennessean, not exactly a small local paper, with a circulation of over 260,000. "Iíll give em a chuckle," I figured. Before I thought much about it, Iíd shot off an email to the editor of the biggest paper around.
Later that day I checked my email and there in my inbox was a reply from the paper: "Did you write this or get it off the Internet?" Get it off the Internet? My child, my creation, my own smiling birthling! Irony of ironies. Somebody writes everything - even the stuff on the Internet. Or maybe it just grows out there in cyberspace some place, mutates and reproduces itself?
Do people really do that? I mean, steal stuff off the net and put their own name on it? Donít answer. Iím sure they probably do. Not much respect for the word "copyright" on the net. Not much concern about the word "plagiarism" either. Well, anyhow, this one was my own baby Ė those who know my writing could see the family resemblance at first glance. It had wit and wisdom, just like its mama. Had my nose too.
Sunday rolled around and I sat down at the computer to check my email. "Loved your letter," said one fan's email. "Great stuff in the newspaper!" said another. "Uh oh!" I figured Iíd better get off the computer and go buy a paper Ė fast. Besides, the car needs gas, I logically and non egotistically reasoned, as I rushed to hurry to the corner gas station, the closest possible place with papers.
As I paid for the gas, I asked, "Where are the papers?" "Oh, we keep them outside in a machine," the clerk replied. He didnít know I was famous. Should I tell him, I wondered? I settled for just asking for change for the machine. Removing all the advertisement inserts and putting them aside in a big pile, I finally found the real paper. Sure enough there, there was my letter, right there on the editorial page. Yep, that settles it, Iím famous!!!
I told my honey, who was watching the Tennessee Titans game on TV at the time. You can just imagine how interested he was. Get between a man and a football game if you really want attention. Of course, it will probably not be the sort of attention you are craving. "Iím famous!" I told him. "Huh?" he said, "Can it wait till halftime?"
"Iíll call my mother and tell her." Mothers are great, always so proud of their children. She is a bit suspicious about my writing on the internet, though.
"Mom, Iím famous! Iím in the Sunday newspaper!"
"Really? Thatís niceÖ and how are the kids doing?"
Well, she just doesnít understand, I thought.
I told the dog, "Dog, Iím famous!" Dog didnít care either. She just stood by her bowl wanting to be fed, whether I was famous or not.
When I went to work Monday, I figured no one would know. I thought about putting a sign on my cubical saying, "Famous person works here - Applause, please!" But I just went about my business as usual. After all, my writing has nothing to do with my day job. Amazingly, many people do read the paper. Not everyone gets his or her news off the net nowadays after all.
"Was that you?" asked a co-worker.
"ErÖ must be another Sheila Moss," I grinned
I wanted hate mail. I wanted someone to disagree, but no one did. How boring! It was Wednesday night before I heard that someone had finally penned a reply to the paper. Gee, how good of them! Sorry I missed it. At least I was able to inspire someone to a response. I didn't expect everyone to agree with me. If everyone could agree, we wouldn't still be counting votes in Florida, would we?
Boy, being famous is getting to be a problem. I just donít have time to be famous at the office. Oh well, they will forget pretty soon. My 15 minutes is slipping into oblivion already, another column moved to the archives, another clipping for my
tear sheet collection. There is just one bad thing about being a columnist. You are famous for a week, and the next week you gotta go out and do it all over again.