Celebrity

Celebrity: (n) a famous person.

I remember the first time it happened.

I was sharing at a book conference about my latest release, and the announcer, in an attempt to beef up my credentials, told the splatter of
humans attending that I was “a celebrity.”

His exact wording was, “We are so pleased to have our next guest, who has achieved celebrity status.”

The oddness of his phrasing was further punctuated by a pitiful smattering of applause.

The introduction bothered me.

Since we live in a social structure which insists on honoring a social structure, ranging from famous people all the way down to “nobodies,” it seems difficult to breathe in a sense of self-esteem unless we are constantly touting our self-worth.

After all, we don’t want fifteen minutes of fame because we desire to be famous. Rather, we want to make sure we don’t end up being the guy or gal who never got it.

So at the end of my little lecture that morning, I opened the floor to questions, and a young boy about nine years of age raised his hand. I have learned over the years that allowing such a lad to offer a question can open the door to, “Does anybody really like your book?” or “How’d you get so fat?”

But I took the risk, acknowledged the kid, let him take the microphone and offer his inquiry. He was a pretty nice little guy. The only thing he wanted to know was, “Are you really famous? Because if you are, I want your autograph.”

There was a giggle in the room. I don’t know if they were giggling because he was so cute, or wondering why in the hell somebody would want my autograph.

So I asked my young friend, “Have you ever heard of me before?”

He frowned and shook his head.

I laughed and said, “Well, then I guess I’m not famous. I guess, like everybody else, I’m just a celebrity in my own mind.”

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Bicycle

Bicycle: (n) a vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars

Dictionary B

The old 37 hill.

That’s what I called it.

It wasn’t actually much of a rise, but for my chubby legs, trying to pedal up that incline on my bicycle was nearly impossible. Matter of fact, usually halfway up, I pulled over, got off and walked my bicycle the rest of the way up.

I always felt like a failure (well, as much as you can feel like a failure when you’re twelve).

It seemed like the whole town was watching me to see if I was going to give up on the old 37 one more time.

In never getting up, I never let them down.

One day, I decided I was going to pedal the whole hill no matter what happened. Hell to pay (though I didn’t know what that phrase meant).

I was doing so well.

I was nearly at the top when I stood up and pushed down for one final burst…and my bicycle pedal broke off, causing me to splatter all over the road in complete indignity.

I was so embarrassed.

Especially when I went down to the small-town hardware store to replace my pedal and the owner refused to put one on. He said I was too fat and I would just break it again.

I had to promise him that I would never stand up and push hard on the pedal before he would let me buy the replacement.

Because of that I never conquered the old 37 hill.

But when I got my driver’s license, I took my 1963 Impala and drove up and down repeatedly…snickering.

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Adulation

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adulation: (n) obsequious flattery; excessive admiration or praise: e.g. he found it difficult to cope with the adulation of the fans.

Excessive admiration.

Doggone. That got me thinking. (Actually, if you’re going to be a writer, you should do some thinking. This premise may not be obvious, especially when you view articles in print. But a certain amount of reasoning, perceiving and a few thought bubbles should precede the process of jotting down lasting words in an essay.)

What is excessive? And what is admiration?

You know, I really think this is something human beings have worked out on their own. We have this great phrase: “admiring from afar.”

Even though I get grumpy and have the occasional lamentation because people don’t inform me of what they like about me, I do realize that they tell others. Maybe there’s something in the human psyche, or our “jungle sense,” which lets us know that we shouldn’t puff people up too much lest we burst them and splatter their contents to the four winds.

So instead, we tell others how much we like them, using that old-fashioned “trickle down” theory. In other words, we hope that what goes around really DOES come around.

There are too many people in this world, though, who hear too much praise and others who are destitute of having their hands lifted and their burdens lightened.

That sucks.

I mean, let’s be honest. Are the people we see on television REALLY the “best” at anything?

Even though I write, perform, compose and so forth, there are many other individuals worthy of more praise than me. So I’m careful to deflect the teaspoon of adulation I receive instead of swallowing it like medicine or licking it like honey off a stick.

Why? Because it’s excessive.

I also do not like religious services in which God is always “adored” and great adulation is given to His Holy Name–when really, as a Father, He would appreciate it if the kids would just pick up the room.

Yes, when you’re a parent, you don’t need your children to come around with saccharine affection, hugging you around the neck all the time. It would just be nice if they would take the trash out at the end of the day.

I don’t like adulation. I do like appreciation. Whenever something is done in kindness it should be acknowledged and encouraged.

But to insist that the person hung the moon because he or she was considerate ,,, is certainly lunacy.