Being famous is not easy. Not that I’m famous, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been famous adjacent many times and it’s not something I would ever actually want to be. Not saying I don’t want to be successful or popular, I do… I just don’t want to be famous.
For some people, though, fame is part and parcel with what they do. Some seek it out and some just accept it when it comes. But no matter how you approach it or how much you want or need or despise it, fame comes with its share of pitfalls. Case in point is the card reproduced up top. This is the card Steve Martin, world-famous banjo player, gives out when people accost him due to his celebrity status. Personally, I think that’s a brilliant way to handle things.
Then there’s Emma Watson, who famously has said she won’t pose for “selfies” with fans anymore (to be fair, she’ll happily sign autographs though). A lot of celebs just feel like they’re being used by fans who don’t treat them as human, but as signing machines that have no rights or say in the matter (and whose autographs will immediately go on eBay and up the asking of price of whatever it is).
I remember once, many years ago, when my sister and I took her kids to see a Ducks game and then waited around afterwards to get my nephew Bailey some autographs. Now, he wasn’t sure who the players were (he was only 3 or 4 at the time) but we made sure for every signature, he said thank you. (“Thanks player” was his preferred showing of gratitude) One particular player, Steve Shields, a back-up goalie, signed Bailey’s pennant and Bailey said his trademark “Thanks, Player” to which Shields stopped, looked at him and said “You’re welcome.” And then, as he turned, muttered under his breath “I wish the adults would learn how to say that.” This is a guy who wouldn’t be recognized on the street at the height of his notoriety, and yet the frustration was palpable. Just imagine the feeling of someone who was internationally known and revered by millions and millions.
Especially when that someone needs time to actually accomplish what it is they’re famous for to begin with. All of which leads me to this brilliant form letter from the late Robert Heinlein: