My fatal poison was that every so often, and not often at all, someone, somewhere would recognize me. I’d get occasional emails from strangers that would say things like, “I saw you at the park yesterday.” Every once in a while I’d be at a party and someone I didn’t know would pipe in, “hey, I know you! You’re Single Dad Laughing!” and then they’d get everyone to start talking about me and my famous blog. Yes, all this happened just often enough that I was able to hold onto the illusion that I was actually famous. I led myself to believe that most people who did recognize me were too shy or respectful to say anything or to approach me. I believed that my fans were everywhere and simply too intimidated by my fame to accost me.
And, like I said. I wasn’t famous, and I was the only one who didn’t seem to know it.
Eventually, I accepted the fact that I had turned into a pompous, self-indulged douchebag, and I went back to regular life as the non-famous fairly enjoyable person I have always tried to be. My friendships immediately strengthened. Family dinners were more enjoyable. And I liked myself more. The funny thing is, once I got over myself, my blog started growing faster than it ever had before.
I’ve thought a lot about it since that span of my life. These are some of the many lessons I’ve learned or observed about fame.
- The more I learn about fame, the more I don’t want it. I really don’t. Nowadays I turn down interviews, reality TV shows, and many other opportunities for no other reason than that the thought of actual fame scares the living hell out of me. I’ve seen what being almost famous can do to this giant white man. I’d hate to think what would actually happen if I somehow did one day become famous.
- There are two kinds of fame. Fame for a person. And fame for a person’s work. I’d much rather have my work be famous and never be recognized in public at all.
- Fame can’t be measured. Not really. The most famous movie star can walk right by your grandmother and she might not recognize her. But your grandmother would recognize you. That means, to your grandmother, you’re more famous than the movie star.
- When people think you’re famous, they will guilt you left and right to use your fame and platform for their advantage or gain. This is especially true of people that were once, long ago, good friends.
- Having kids and being in the public eye comes with its own set of unique challenges. I have to be overly protective of my kid which isn’t always fair to him.
- Becoming popular doesn’t get rid of the crazy shit that runs in the background of your life. Instead, it amplifies it. Just take my word for that.
- Famous people are like cops. They’re either really awesome or really big weenies.
- Popularity doesn’t last without considerable ongoing effort to remain constantly fresh in the minds of others. This is true for famous movie stars, brands, musicians, athletes, and even the popular kids at school. I have a large blog following and I promise you, if I suddenly disappeared, very few people would notice and even fewer people would care beyond a day or two.
- People are just people, no matter how famous they are. As a blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to sit across from Betty White, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, and many others. Every time I do, I can’t help but humorously think, what is the big deal exactly? This person is just like any other person. They’ve all got to take their morning tinkles just like the rest of us. They all have their insecurities, and their quirks, and their bad days, and their weaknesses. Well, everyone except Betty White. I’m pretty sure she is actually my idea of perfect.
- It doesn’t matter who you are, there will be people who resent, loathe, or straight-up hate you for your popularity. This is strangely even true for Betty White. Who I secretly hope adopts me as her grandson one day.
- Nobody just gets famous. Sure, many of us will experience our 15 minutes of it without any effort, but the truly famous are there because of three things. Some sort of uniqueness. A lot of hard work and persistence. And more than anything else, a lot of
- It is fun to be recognized by strangers so long as you’re not in a giant hurry. It is really fun when a stranger makes a big deal about you and starts screaming and getting all crazy about your existence. This has happened to me exactly four times, and all four times were while I was shopping at Walmart. I’m not sure what to take from that.
- If you’re actually famous, having fans flip out on you four times is probably more of a daily number and definitely not a lifetime achievement number.
- If you’re actually famous, you probably don’t shop at Walmart.
Perhaps more than anything else, I’ve learned that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being popular or famous. The danger comes when anyone truly thinks they are more important than any other human when fame or popularity happens upon them…