https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery

Click on the image for more information.

Monday, January 26, 2015

An Expiration Date on Fame

I hate to break it to you but chances are whatever fame you earn in your lifetime will probably last about four thousand years (give or take a few centuries).

Jean Shepherd, author (and narrator) of A Christmas Story said:

Can you imagine four thousand years passing and you're not even a memory? Think about it, friends. It's not just a possibility. It is a certainty.

Makes you think.

As time goes on we might be able to glean a new historical figure we've yet to discover, but really, 4k is about right.

Most of us can probably claim 15 minutes of fame, some epic moment in our lives when the eyes of more than a few thousand people were upon us at once. It's even more likely now with the rise of You Tube.


I've had several 15 minute epochs. Maybe even enough to fill an hour. With any luck, I might have a few more before I'm dead and done.

Will it last four thousand years? Probably not. I doubt I'll even be a footnote in an electronic catalog. And who will care?

Seriously. How much do we care about Enmebaragesi of Kish, the earliest known ruler (verified by archeological records)? How about the sculptor, Praxiteles, circa 300 BC?

Praxiteles was probably a rock star in his day. Much like Genghis Khan, Amerigo Vespucci, and Mozart, mavericks and trail blazers.

It's only when historical figures get closer to our own timeline that we begin to create an emotional attachment to them. Reading about the death of Alexander the Great (my personal crush) does not move me one way or another. But reading about Steve Irwin's tragic death upset me greatly.

Steve Irwin was within my timeline. Alexander the Great might have been more famous, but Steve meant more to me as a person. Each person who knew him, remembering and speaking of him prolongs his fame.

So fear not if you find yourself NOT famous in the traditional sense. Most of us will get at least 15 minutes. Some of us might even get a little bit more. Just remember, nothing lasts.

You're famous only for as long as people remember you. You might be nothing more than a name written into a family bible, or a name on a book cover. But every person you've touched, physically, emotionally, or intellectually gives you one more chance at immortality--or 4000 years, whichever comes last.

Do you dream of fame? Fleeting or long term? I prefer the fleeting kind. The lifetime fame comes with too high a toll on privacy. I like the anonymity of a job well done, discovered only after a brief two-page Google search.

Just spell my name right and remember that I rescued stray dogs, a few friends, and one husband.



24 comments:

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I can't say I think about it much but as long as my children have some fond memories, and grandchildren if I ever have any, then I will have stayed around long enough.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I think I'd be happy if I could make it to 3000 years! As if I'd know. :)

LD Masterson said...

I don't really think about fame. Never been famous, never except to be. I think we live on the the hearts and memories of those who knew us and cared about us. When they're gone - hopefully reunited with us - whatever "fame" is left behind won't matter.

Mike Keyton said...

Damn it! Now you've got me thinking! Maybe I should tweet more often 😃

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: My mother is on her great grandchildren, so I'd ask for a little more time than that.

She's got quite a legacy.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: We could be ghosts together and find out. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Fame is the young. I imagine they have the stamina for it.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: You Tube, Mike. You Tube. That's where the big fame is.

Mike Keyton said...

I'd get stuck in the U Bend

Angela Brown said...

Is it wrong that I don't want to be famous but rather just want hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people to buy my books?

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Me too. Which is why I never tried it.

I guess I should, at least for homesteading type stuff, but I'm too lazy to learn more about video than I have to.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: But once you have those millions buying your books you have no choice but to be famous. You can't separate the two.

Unless you hire someone to play you, the author, and lead your own life in obscurity.

If I had that kind of money I wouldn't give a flip about fame. LOL.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I am still so bummed and sad about Steve Irwin. I think i probably always will be a little sad

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: Me too. He was one of the good ones.

Diane Carlisle said...

I never wanted to be famous, but I wouldn't mind being infamous! :D

Maria Zannini said...

Diane:
Re: ... I wouldn't mind being infamous!

I have a feeling you've already accomplished that. ;-)

Shelley Munro said...

I've never really thought about it. I wouldn't want to have movie star/pop star fame or be a royal. Those people have no privacy!

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I agree. I don't care how much money they make. It's not worth it.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I like a quiet, subdued fame. I don't ever want photographers following me for any reason.

I also love dogs. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I'm not famous and I don't even want a regular picture taken. :D

Karen Jones Gowen said...

This post is a nice dose of reality! I can't imagine anyone wanting fame or fortune, two of the most useless wastes of effort in the grand scheme of thing. I think of my family, which means everything, and anything else I manage to do beyond that is simply icing on the cake.

Maria Zannini said...

Karen:
Re: icing on the cake
What a nice way to put it.

A lot of people will do anything for fame--look at all those actors--but in the end, is it worth it?

Only time will tell.

Raelyn Barclay said...

Hmm...I've never really thought about it. I just want to be there to see my wee beasties' have wee beasties (pay back and a'that, mmmwwwwahahahahahaha). I'm right there with you on not wanting to lose privacy.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: Grandma revenge, best served with milk and cookies. :)