Monday, April 29, 2013

Rockstars and other celebrities

I'm pondering the impact of fame this morning.

I think we've all had brushes with famous people; I rode up an elevator with Jimmy Stewart and didn't even recognize him; lived around the corner from Carroll O'Connor and never once saw him; and ate a hot dog at the table next to Ron Howard's table. I danced the tango in the same club as Robert Duvall (sadly, we each had different partners), and rode a horse that belonged to Robert Redford.

I asked Kirk Douglas for his autograph and got it, even though his son (not Michael, unfortunately) tried to run me off. Kirk smiled at me, patted me in a place that will not be named here, and told his son to go away; I was much younger and prettier then. And, in perhaps my greatest brush with fame, I played guitar at the Palomino Club for a Los Angeles radio personality, Sweet Dick Whittington, in the 1970s.

And that's probably as much incidental fame as I can handle in my life, though I do have great hopes for some of my young musician friends; hurry up guys, I want to say I saw you play and knew you before you were famous. I'm counting on you to make me a cool granny to my so-far-non-existent-grandchildren someday.

But that's not really the big question I'm pondering this morning. Today, I'm thinking about the real lives of famous people; about nice people who just happened to have achieved a certain level of fame in their own industry. I'm blessed to call several extremely talented and more or less famous people my friends. The way I think about fame is different when they're my friends; I forget about the fame and just enjoy them for themselves. And it surprises me when people are awed that I'm friends with these really awesome people; not because people are wrong to be impressed with what they've accomplished, but because these are really nice people who are a lot more than just famous. They're not in it for the fame, they're in it for the love of what they do, and that's why I love them. They're real people, with real feelings, and real lives.

I think sometimes we forget that.

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