Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Pain of Fame

Last night I was talking to my husband about the pain of fame... or to be exact my brief moment of being a "somebody" and how it messed with my head, quite literally.

I mentioned how I once had a writing job (astrologer) on a newspaper. When they first told me I needed a photo for the column I was surprised and thrilled. Me in the paper? Me?? Wow! I must have spent two days figuring out what to wear. That was really daft since the picture was just my head and you never saw what I was wearing anyway, but (typical woman) I needed to wear something that made me feel good. When it was done, I took my photo in to the newspaper offices. Feeling very Important I handed it over with a flourish and told the guard it was needed for the next run.

Next day there I was, near the back, lower left page... ME smiling back at me. Wow. What a rush! What a head swelling ego-smug moment. I wanted to roll in the paper like a cat in catnip. I wanted fireworks and champagne. Reality set in somewhere between having breakfast and going to the local supermarket. Yes, my photo was in the paper… now everyone would see me. It was a small newspaper in a small town, which means any gossip moves at light speed. It would take a very short time for the entire town to know who I was. Everyone would know ME, everywhere I went, all the time.

All the time?

Suddenly I felt as if the universe had placed a flashing sign above my head with a big arrow pointing at me. I felt incredibly VISIBLE and the feeling was not good! At the shops a few people seemed to stop and stare at me as I walked into the shopping centre. I could almost feel their eyes burning my skin. The unspoken thoughts of, "she looks familiar? Isn't she the one in the newspaper?" seemed to scream in my ears.

I grabbed a trolley and made a dash for the entrance, thinking furiously…

Try to keep cool. Breath in. Breath out.
They aren't staring at you. No-one is staring.
Oh my GOD, they are STARING at me!
I am VISIBLE! I am this new huge neon-glowing ME and it feels horrible!
I want to be small invisible ordinary me just browsing the shops.
Not this person with the LOOK AT ME arrow above her head.

At the supermarket entrance there was a turnstile with a hole in the railings next to it where you pushed your trolley through into the shop.

Quick, quick! Get in there, get the food and get out.
Be cool. Be calm. Don't look stupid. People are watching…
There's a fat old lady wedged in the turnstile moving slower than a sea turtle. DAMN.
Ok, don't panic. You can get through this.
You are cool. You are in control.
Push the trolley through the gap, duck down and follow the trolley.
Simple! You are short, the trolley gap bar isn't too low.
You can do this…

That's the last coherent thought I remember before someone picked me up off the floor.
Yes, I am short. Yes, the bar across the top of the area where you pushed through the trolleys wasn't that low. No, I didn't duck down far enough. In my blind animal panic to get in fast and inconspicuously I ducked at the wrong moment of dashing forward and smashed my forehead into the metal bar, falling backwards flat on the floor while my trolley happily drifted off into the supermarket without me.

..and EVERYONE stared.

The pain of fame going to your head is indescribable.


  1. its funny on paper but i don't think it could be told as a funny joke to much detail. :)

  2. Yes, its funny. And of course it would be a great anecdote.

  3. Hope that didn't hurt too bad... it's weird I used to do some stuff for TV but if my friends ever wanted to watch with me I would scream and die of embarrassment and leave the room if they didn't change the channel -
    human nature never ceases to amaze me we run after the same thing we run away from

  4. Public emberassment is just no fun! The good news is that you weren't caught picking your nose

    : )

  5. OMG! Yeah, I think I'd share your panic. I'm the sort of person who'd cross the street to avoid being on TV, and I'm not even a known criminal!

  6. Hi Random Magus
    Yes, the bar did hurt, but feeling a total idiot hurt more. LOL

    Hi Dustinzgirl
    Oh I'm pretty good at public embarassment. :-D Like Murphy's law there is Crow's law - If there is any chance I'll get caught out doing something stupid.. I will be. :-P

    Hi Ron
    Yep, me too. We had our wedding taped for family who couldn't be there. I've watched it once. Total trauma.

  7. //..and EVERYONE stared. //


    (I don't comment much these days. I read all your posts).

  8. hi prema

    just sending you a smile. :)

  9. too funny/classic.

    But next time I hope your 'wake-up call from the universe' is more gentle.

  10. Hayden
    Isn't is funny how the worst moments make the best stories later? ;-)



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