Being famous is kind of like eating Chinese food. It looks great, and gives you short term satisfaction, but it always leaves you hungry for more.
We lived in Idaho a couple of times. Each time, I had a morning radio show. The show was very popular because the station owner allowed me to be me, something extremely rare in that business.
I had bogus, funny commercials blended with the regular spots so people wouldn’t change the channel during the commercial break. It worked very well. At first, the owner didn’t like the idea. He said that sponsors felt like it made a mockery of their commercials. I asked him why people bought ads on my show. He sarcastically answered that they bought them to gain more customers. Duh, huh?
I mentioned that because of the bogus, funny commercials, people paid close attention to all of the ads, just to see which one was bogus. Our sponsors were getting more people to listen intently to their commercials than ever before. He got it, and never said a word about it.
If your show is popular, you make a lot of public appearances, so your voice and face are recognized. That made me very uncomfortable. To make things worse, our landlord began bragging that we were leasing his house. People would watch our house. One guy even rang our door bell just to see if it was true. That made me mad.
I really couldn’t go anywhere in the town without being recognized. Each morning, on the way to work, I would stop at a convenience store to get some coffee and a snack. I loved the anonymity. Then, it would happen. One of the employees would recognize my voice or face and want to talk my ear off, get a picture with me. I would never frequent that store again. I wasn’t seeking celebrity.
Finally, I ran out of convenience stores and started bringing my coffee and treats from home. We were in a department store once, and I was talking to the clerk, when a woman waiting in line suddenly said, “Wait a minute, I recognize that voice”! It blew me away. I didn’t think I had a voice that distinctive. That incident made me paranoid, because I realized that I would not be able to go anywhere in town without being recognized.
When we went to a restaurant, people would stare. One night, a family actually changed tables to be closer, then watched our every move. I hated that, so we would only get food to go. The other incredible thing that happened several times, is women asked me out, right in front of my wife! I know! That’s insane!
So, on a much smaller scale, I can understand the behavior of very famous people who are bombarded every where they go. Some like it, most do not. Its nice when someone recognizes you and just says they enjoy your work. That’s flattering. The other stuff is just weird and creepy. I’ll take anonymity any day.
See you tomorrow.
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