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©Fifteen Minutes of Fame

(copyright 2008)

 

††††††††††† Andy Warhol said we all get fifteen minutes of fame. Only Iíve been getting my fifteen minutes of fame in fifteen second increments.

††††††††††† My first fifteen seconds fame was before my second Christmas, when I had my picture taken with the real Santa Claus and I do believe everyone knows who that is. Sure, he looked like an old wino who wanted to kill someone, but my mother told me he was Santa Claus. And why would she lie to her little kid?

††††††††††† Iíve got another picture of me when I was four, standing on the stage of the Big D Jamboree with Sonny James.Who? Just Google his name. He was a popular country singer in the fifties. At least, my mother told me that Sonny James with his arm around me. Sure, he looked like an old wino who wanted to kill someone, but why would she lie to her little kid?

††††††††††† When I was fifteen I had a Dallas Morning News paper route and I won carrier of the month almost every month for selling new subscriptions and having the fewest complaints. I won Highest Carrier Achievement Award in 1964. It was the only trophy I ever won in my life. Back then they didnít give out trophies for participation. You actually had to win to get them. I got my picture and a write up in the Dallas Morning News.Sure, I looked like an old wino who wanted to kill someone, but I worked hard for my trophy and I display it on a shelf even today. After all, it was fifteen more seconds of fame.

††††††††††† Then there was my brush with real fame. Well, nearly real fame. Without going into any real detail, It was 1968 and I was hitchhiking east on interstate 40, across the Arizona desert, on my way back to Texas, when a woman stopped to give me a ride. And what a ride it turned out to be.

††††††††††† The back seat of her car was full of guitars and I recognized her immediately. She was the lead singer of the Rose Garden. Their one hit, Next Plane to London, could be heard many times a day on AM radio in 1968. I had seen them on American Bandstand, Hullaballoo and even in person on a local Dallas show that taped in Northpark shopping mall, called Somethiní Else. She was getting her full fifteen minutes of fame all at once. And I was riding in the car with her. Just the two of us.

††††††††††† I was only 19 and it was the most exciting thing to ever happen in my life, except for the fact that the police pulled us over in Gallup, New Mexico because the car had been reported stolen by a rental company, then they found drugs in the trunk and I spent the next two days in the Gallup, N.M. jail, and I didnít even know how to dance.

††††††††††† Other than that, it turned out pretty good, because I was mentioned in some teen magazines. They gave her managerís account of what had happened and they believed the drugs may have belonged to an unnamed hitchhiker she had picked up. That was me. I mean, the drugs didnít belong to me, but I was the unnamed hitchhiker.

 

††††††††††† Then there was the time I was arrested for possession of 2 joints in 1969. And it was mine. It was also a felony and the local suburban newspaper considered it news. My name was on the front page of the paper. Of course it only had four pages. My family was real happy about that 15 seconds of fame or, I should say, infamy.

††††††††††† Oh yea, I almost forgot about when I got married, even though everything in the paper was pretty much about the bride with only her picture and not mine, but at least they did mention my name. So, weíll put that in the 5 second category. Actually, I guess getting married and dying donít count, since theyíre pretty much the same. What I mean is you have to pay to have those two things in the newspaper in the first place. If you have to pay for it, you didnít really earn it, therefore it doesnít count.

 

††††††††††† I believe Andy Warhol was talking about averages when he said everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, because there are a lot of people who never get one second of fame. If youíre one of those people, blame the selfish ones who get years and even lifetimes of fame. Theyíre using up your part of the equation.

††††††††††† So to all you famous people out there, stop using up our time in the limelight. We donít want our fame to come after we die, which brings up another thought. What if we donít get famous until after weíre dead, does it still count?

††††††††††† And by the way, between the dork with the trophy and the dork standing before you now, I was cool. Sure, I looked like an old wino who wanted kill someoneÖBut I was cool.

††††††††††† Now that Iím sixty-oneÖwill you still need me will you stillÖIím sorry. My mind slips off the tracks every once in a while. But seriously, Iím not sure if I still want fame. A small part of me would like a little bit of local fame, maybe. Itís real easy to get fame today it seems. You just have to be fat or ugly or dress bad or quit making your car payments and thereís a TV show for you. If youíre willing to do things that even village idiots wonít do, you can get on TV or at least YouTube.

††††††††††† The thing you never think about when youíre younger is the total lack of privacy in public that comes with fame. I used to think it would be really great to have people wanting your autograph no matter where you went. The really famous even have famous people wanting their autograph. Iím not sure I want my fifteen minutes of fame anymore. Although, if God gave it to me, who am I to argue. After all, the autograph hounds canít bother me after Iím dead. Can they?

 

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