Chiseling Away My 15 Minutes of Fame

I was reflecting on the Lady Bird story this morning and how I’m 100% certain I will die in some really stupid, front page worthy and ridiculous way. This lead me to thinking about the times I have actually made it into the media. I like to call this further proof that I’m destined for prat falls and circus clowns when my big moment arrives.

A few years ago I attended a convention in Las Vegas. Yes, it was a “geek” convention where you pull out your best pairs of Converse and throw on your Witchblade t-shirt and you pat yourself on the back as you think “hey, at least I’m not wearing that Chewbacca get-up” because it prooves that maybe you’re NOT the geekiest of the geekies. There were several camera crews rolling about and thanks to my PBS pledge training, I’m simply not aware of them. (Thirty plus pledge drives and cameras begin to play the same roll in your life as your coat rack does to you.) A few weeks roll past and one of my co-workers at PBS says “Hey Beth, were you at that convention? I saw you on Tech TV.” WOO HOO! I made Tech TV. It’s like Nerd Nirvanna for me. My Dad watches Tech TV, we watch Tech TV. I’ve arrived! Off I go to look at the footage because deep in the back of my mind is “what if I did something stupid” and “when was I around a camera” but the optimist in me (which is like your appendix in you; it’s mostly non-functioning and no one really knows what it’s there for) says “maybe it’s not that bad.” The segment went on for some time and I’m combing the crowds looking for a shot of me “in action” maybe chatting people up or maybe running around looking nerdy yet smart. Then we find the cameras at the banguet and GREAT there I am at the head of the food buffet line with my plate loaded for bear – like I’d never seen food in my life. A portion of my 15 minutes burned on big slabs of meat, pasta salad and mounds of mashed potatoes (mmm). Kendra, whose hand was also in the shot… well, her plate was… has this gigantic plate and one tiny little thing in the middle. Great. I can tell you my thinking at the time was “I paid $89 for this convention and I’m getting my moneys worth!” but when I had that thought I didn’t factor in all of America watching me indulge.

The next time I took another chunk out of my 15 minutes was in one of those moments where I thought I was being clever. This will always be my downfall. John Kelso, a local columnist and humorist, invited readers to make suggestions about renaming a particular block that was under development downtown. Kelso hates Californians, I hate Californians and as a Texan they teach you that in “How to Be a Better Texas 101” which you get around the time you get your hygiene and the differences between boys and girls lectures in gym class. I can’t tell you why we hate Californians, it just is. It’s like asking why do Southerners hate Yankees? Sure, the Civil War but these days it’s just because that’s the way it is… that and they have obnoxious attitudes, talk funny and think they’re better. Come to think of it, that’s why we hate Californians.

My suggestion to Kelso was “New Cali” – kind of like how we got “New York” or “New Jersey”. It was my acknowlegement of the fact that we’ve been inundated with Californians and since this block was probably going to end up having 30 Starbucks (yes, I know they’re from Seattle) and a couple of tofu houses and Yoga centers it should reflect the people who would doubtlessly frequent the place. I wrote this up and sent it to Kelso thinking maybe he’ll get a chortle and indeed he wrote me back. It made my day. Then Kelso calls my house and says “Beth, I think I’m going to put that in an article”. I mean, sure I was happy that Kelso thought I wrote something worth mentioning in his column, but really I wasn’t being particularly clever when I wrote it. I was actually kind of being nasty about the whole thing. If I had known it was going to be in one of his columns I would have actually tried to be funny. So, it made the paper and it reads like someone threw a dead fish on the page. Great. More of my 15 minutes ticking away.

Now let me say that I do occasionally try to make the paper but usually not as a hater of all things Californian. I try to be known as a rabid bicyclist hater. I occasionally get inspired, whip up something full of bile about the swarms of bicyclists traveling in packs around town and I submit it to the paper. I usually get something back from the editor saying it is being considered and would I like my picture next to it. Of course I would. I want those bicyclists to know my face and make a path when I’m coming down the street. Then the days go by and my witty little editorials aren’t printed. It’s a shame.

I know this story is straying, but I live in the town of Lance Armstrong. We love Lance. I especially love Lance when he’s winning again and again at the Tour de Lance, but as much as I love him, if he’s heading down the street with 50 of his bicycling, road hogging friends I don’t see Lance. I see 50 little road bumps between me and the grocery store.

So now it’s a waiting game. I figure I’ve got another 13 minutes or so left of fame and I’m sure my next plunge into the media will be equally as humiliating or anti-climatic. It won’t be me doing something great like saving puppies from alligators that were flushed into the sewer system. Say it with me now, “it’s hard to be me”.

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