I was famous for a week. Bet you didn’t even know, did you? Ah, it’s true then what they say about fame being fleeting? It all started 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, kind of 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. I’d been reading the editorial page of the local paper earlier, the Nashville Tennessean. “I’ll give ’em a chuckle,” I figured. This article is timely. Before I thought much about it, I’d 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: “Did you write this or get it off the Internet?” Get it off the Internet? My child, my creation, my own smiling offspring? Irony of ironies. Somebody writes everything – even that stuff on the Internet. Or maybe it just grows out there in cyberspace someplace, mutates and reproduces itself?
Do people really do that? I mean, steal stuff off the net and put their own name on it? Don’t answer. I’m sure they 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 – 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 email. “Great stuff in the newspaper!” said another. Uh oh! I figured I’d better get off the computer and go buy a paper – fast. Besides, the car needed 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 didn’t 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, I’m 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. “I’m famous!” I told him. “Huh?” he said, “Can it wait till halftime?”
I’ll call my mother and tell her. Mother’s are great, always so proud of their children. She is a bit suspicious about my writing on the Internet, though. “Mom, I’m famous! I’m in the Sunday newspaper. “Really? That’s nice, dear… and how are the kids doing?” Well, she just doesn’t understand, I thought.
I told the dog, “Dog, I’m famous!” Dog didn’t care either. She just stood by her bowl wanting to be fed, whether I was famous or not.
I expected hate mail. I wanted someone to disagree, but no one did. How boring! It was Wednesday night before I heard that someone had finally written a reply in the paper. Gee, how good of them. Sorry I missed it. At least I was able to inspire one response. If everyone could agreed on everything, we wouldn’t need elections, would we?
Boy, this fame is getting to be a problem. I just don’t have time to be famous. Oh well, it will be forgotten pretty soon. My 15 minutes is slipping into oblivion already, another column moved to the archives, another clipping for my tearsheet collection. There is 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.