How Would You Like to Be Famous?

Well, I’ve never really thought about it before.  (No, I’m only lying.)  But seriously, it would be a mixed blessing.  I mean, you wouldn’t have any privacy anymore, right?  Then again, nobody has privacy these days anyway.  Humphrey Bogart said the best thing about having money was it enabled you to tell some S. O. B. to go jump in a lake, although I’m not sure that’s the phrase he used.

But we’re not talking about money–we’re talking about fame.

Sorry!  Excuse me for being human!

That’s okay.  You have my permission to be an asshole.

I’m telling Mommy!

Go ahead, you freaking psychopath.

Stop being such a paparazzo!

All right, there’s no need to overreact.

So how would you feel about being famous?  In what area would you like to be known?  What are the benefits of anonymity?  It’s great if you happen to be an alcoholic.  (That reminds me–where did I leave that beer?  Oh yeah–on my desk at work.)

It would be cool to be famous yet invisible, like a voice actor, so no one knew what you looked like.  Admittedly, it would gratify your ego to have fans come up to you in public asking for an autograph, but I imagine the novelty would wear off after awhile.  I heard that Jack Nicholson, during the filming of Something’s Gotta Give (unless it was The Departed), went up to homeless people and asked them for their autographs.  Now that’s just being obnoxious.

Have you ever met a famous person?  I’ve met a couple–not super-famous people, but marginally famous ones–and I’ve always felt self-consciously deferential, like Jon Stewart interviewing some doubtful elder statesman like Henry Kissinger or Barack Obama.  It irks me that another mortal could have that kind of effect on me, although I suppose it’s no different from being intimidated by an incredibly beautiful woman who wouldn’t even think of going to bed with you unless you dressed up as an enormous Teddy bear and kept very still for several hours.

In fact, being famous might be a pain in the ass because I imagine you’d want to be treated just like anyone else (except when it came to securing a table at your favorite swanky restaurant, or getting your butler or bodyguard or chauffeur or masseuse to pick up your groceries or dry cleaning).  You’d probably grow tired of all the fawning, obsequious nonsense in a hurry.

It’s like the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which King Arthur first encounters God, animated in the clouds by the divine cartoonist (and director) Terry Gilliam.

“Don’t grovel!  Everyone’s always saying, ‘Forgive me this,’ and ‘I’m not worthy.'”

Of course, if you’re rude to God or Frank Sinatra, he’s liable to get even and you’ll wind up wearing lead underwear.

I don’t think most people would say no to fame if it came to them, not that it would necessarily make you better than anyone else (certainly not in any absolute sense), or even make your life easier in every way.  And then of course there’s always the danger that you’ll lapse into obscurity again and become a has-been, a fate worse than death.

Might as well just enjoy being a regular shmoe like everyone else, right?


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