Napoleon died nearly 200 years ago. Barach Obama, Usain Bolt and Harry Potter have long lives to look forward to. All four are world-famous. I am not, for reasons perfectly obvious to everyone except perhaps myself.
People blow themselves up (literally), assassinate Presidents, torture themselves training for the Olympics, run for political office, write books, make movies, make money, spend their lives dedicated to getting their name in lights or at least the headlines, if not in the history books.
The rest of us just come and go. Few notice us. If we are lucky we have family and friends, people who care for us, in every sense of the word, for whom we count and on whom we can count, people by whom we will be remembered. For a while. When they too are gone, we will probably be entirely forgotten. We will never have managed to have even our fifteen minutes of fame.
So what ? Don’t say that to some people. Being famous is what makes them tick. You have to wonder why. I can understand people wanting to be “RICH and famous”, enjoying publicly acclaimed success in the arts, literature, science, politics, sport, the entertainment business (or any business at all) – and the money that comes with it. So long as you are alive. Posthumous fame, after the life of a pauper like Vincent van Gogh, leaves me cold. I even wonder why Napoleon went to so much trouble to create his own image and myth for posterity. He won a lot of battles and though he lost at Waterloo he succeeded in making himself immortal. Why bother ?
The only answer, the obvious answer, is that we have tickets on ourselves. It’s called pride. Many people thrive on recognition, even if it is just getting a plaque from Rotary (I don’t mean to boast, but I actually did !). We like to have people like us; even if they don’t, being famous like Al Capone is enough for some. It has its downsides, of course, papparazzi and all that, not being able to walk down the street or go to the supermarket without being noticed. This, I find personally, intolerable (“You’re not THE Frank O’Meara ?”).
We call celebrities “stars”, but they and we forget that the metaphor is more apt than it seems. The Universe is filled with zillions of nameless stars (apart from the A 64132s), condemned to implode in a supernova, or, like our own star, the Sun, to end pyrotechnically but with a little less pizazz.
Many people need fame. I don’t. (Just as well, because it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever have it, unless I win the lottery twice or something.) I do appreciate recognition, for who I am, for what I’ve done and what I do, and even for what I think and what I write. Sure, I’d like to have a million people reading this and asking for more. But I’ve learned to settle for less, a lot less. Fame is not a priority for me. I have others : having enough to eat, a roof over my head (preferably that of a house On Zeee Beeech), enough health-care, enough income to live in non-luxurious comfort, enough time and means to share what I have with others, to show my appreciation to family and friends for the love and concern they have shown me, enough time to blog and to get as many BOTBs as possible to realize that religion is rubbish. I have always used the cliché in its prosaic, literal, non-aggressive sense : “Enough IS enough !”. Some people never get enough fame. I don’t need any at all. But if you know someone who would like to turn my Blog into a bestseller, be my guest.
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