Friday, November 18, 2011

Fame, Time, and thanks Harlan Coben

Many years ago, my wife worked in an art store. A famous basketball player walked in. For those of you who remember, this guy was a big deal on the Phoenix Suns basketball team back in the day. Now he is in politics. Whether he deserves his position is something for another day.
He just reminds me of another situation.

He had some huge, loyal fans. He was a great player. However, the day that he came into the art store, he was not at his best. A friend of my wife's was a big fan and asked  for his autograph. The pro refused to sign something for him and got mad. Told the guy to leave him alone. It makes me wonder if he acted like that while he was running for office. 
Doubtful. No matter how he was feeling he definitely kissed as many babies as he could considering his reputation.
Needless to say that my wife's friend got over being his fan.
In the end, The pro left and my wife pursued him and shoved the piece of paper in his face. She told him that he was going to sign it because he was no one without his fans.
He signed.
What is my point? Whether you are a famous sports figure, an actor, a writer, or someone else famous, people have spent the resource that means the most on you.
No. I'm not talking about money. I am talking about time. Time is the greatest resource in the world. If someone spends there time to read something that I wrote, I will consider that a compliment. If someone takes the time to appreciate me that much, the least I can do is give them some of my time...and vice versa...if I give my time seeing a movie or reading a book, I would like someone else's time too. 
As an example, Harlan Coben took the time out to respond to an email that I sent to him about his books. I appreciated that because he appreciated me and my time. 
So, the take away is that one may be famous, but fame does not make anyone better...or their time more important. 


  1. Ironic I saw this post today- I have been noticing how many individuals (on Twitter,facebook only respond to people they think are higher up the success ladder than themselves. This leaves a really bad taste in my mouth about the individual. I was always taught that to look at the success of a company, speak to the janitor. Are their needs attended to? Are they appreciated? If yes, you've got yourself a great company. If no, look elsewhere. I feel the same about famous individuals. Granted, you won't be able to acknowlege all 10k of your followers individually, but patterns of how you treat the people in your life emerge quite clearly.

    1. Wishywashy27- I tire of famous individuals (I am
      not going to name any) who I follow on Twitter for
      forever, and they never respond to a tweet from
      me. I spend time and money on them, and they do
      not respect it. Twitter is the same way. I am no one famous, but I try to respond to everyone who
      personally engages me. I hope to respect the
      people who respect me. Thanks for your comment!

  2. This is so true, and I definitely enjoy my time talking to you!
    ~Jess Fortunato

    1. And you are fantastic! I enjoy talking to you too!

  3. Great post! I write letters to celebrities every day, and it's quite apparent which ones "get" it. We're all busy, and some fans do cross the line, but for most people just taking a moment of your time to acknowledge them will create a lasting memory. (Ignoring them or acting superior because you are a star creates a memory too, but not in a good way.)

  4. That's great insight! If you're a famous person, people have spent time and resources on you! Without them you're nothing! Good point!

  5. Fame isn't why a lot of people got into what they're doing. They may be motivated by getting their work out there, playing to an appreciative audience. But the idea that they owe that audience something is a form of weird entitlement that's unhealthy.

    Do I want to hang out with the farmer who grew the crops that I eat? So why do I somehow merit the attention of someone whose book or CD I happen to own? And what if that person is fundamentally an introvert, and not a performing monkey who exists to take an audience member's attention away from whatever else they could be doing?

    One of my favourite artists is Robert Fripp, most known for playing guitar with King Crimson. A 'fan' wrote to complain that at the gig he attended, Robert was sat down without lights on him, rather than prancing about to tumultuous applause as many rock musicians do. Fripp sent him a cheque for a quarter of the ticket cost, since he was one of four players in the band.

    Another introvert performer is Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. In one of their most celebrated songs, Limelight, he writes "I can't pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend." That, if you think about it, is what the fan is expecting of their object of adoration.

  6. Hi Adrian,

    Thanks for commenting and for interjecting your opinion. It's much appreciated.