Monday, May 3, 2010

The One Hundred

Once again, I did not make Time magazine’s list of 100 very important people. That I once locked my best friend in the trunk of the family Peugeot does not qualify me. Neither do the three unpublished novels crowding my bookshelf, or that I am almost certainly the best French-born E9th pedal-steel guitar player in Northern Virginia.  It makes me wonder what I have to do to become famous.

Not that it matters. I think we long ago transcended Warhol’s fifteen minutes and now are lucky to go for fifteen seconds. Do you remember the name of the underwear bomber? The inventor of the Wallwalker? The author of The Shack?

My forays into popular culture are limited to my once-weekly visit to a coffee shop with an alarmingly large collection of People magazine. I leaf through and wonder, “Who are these folks?” I recognize Oprah because she has her own magazine and such hubris is hard to match. Ditto for a Martha. Brangelina I know because I really liked Tomb Raider and have wondered how they do the make-up to cover her tattoos.  I am finally admitting that George Clooney is a pretty good actor. I would probably be able to identify Michelle Obama on the street. And maybe Sarah Palin or Tina Fey.  But who the hell are Julie Bowen, Katie Lee Joel, Kim Kardashian, Jason Wu or Clay Boardman? Did they make Time’s top 100? Is there any reason for me to worry about my lack of familiarity with such notables? Will my life get better by knowing them or not?

It’s interesting, this need for temporary idols. I no longer watch the news on TV because truly, very little of it impacts me personally. I’m not interested in most of these people because outside our physicality (two arms, two legs, two lungs, etc.) we more than likely have little in common. Apocryphal family stories are unlikely to amuse them and my tales of woe are exactly that—my tales.

Still, making the top 100 of anything might be good for bragging rights. Also, it might get me a book deal. That’s be cool.

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