Conversation #2.

“Do you want to be famous?”

“Gabriel Garcia Marquez says fame is like a very fat woman who doesn’t sleep with you but who, when you wake up, is watching you from the foot of your bed.”

“Huh. Memories of My Melancholy Whores?”

“Indeed.”

“Do you want to be, though? Famous, I mean.”

“It depends on the time of month, the color of the sky and my mood.”

“Spare me the philosophical pleasantries.”

“Okay, okay. The truth is sometimes I really want to be, and sometimes the very idea repels me. And there’s lots of different kinds of famous. There’s Paris Hilton famous, there’s Albert Edison famous, there’s Napoleon and Edison famous.”

“You grouped Napoleon and Thomas Alva Edison together?”

“Evidently.”

“The father of the lightbulb and a dictator?”

“I hate Edison.”

“Hating Edison is like hating Mr. Rogers. It’s impossible. You’re programmed at birth to love Edison.”

“That right there is proof of the idiocy of the American educational system.”

“You mean the fact that every text book writer in the United States reveres Edison and basically dedicates twenty pages to the guy?”

“Exactly. When he blatantly stole all his ideas from Tesla, Goebel and John Swan. Success is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent complete douchebag, apparently. Father of the light bulb, my hindquarters.”

“You’re pretty upset about that, aren’t you?”

“Well, yes. History is a terrible creature. You might be famous, but what if you’re not famous for the right reason? And what if you’re actually trying to do the right thing, but you’re completely misinterpreted to the point that, hundreds of years later, kindergarten teachers teach the next generations to spit on your name? And you can’t even defend yourself, because it’s all been said and done. Historians will be pouring over your accomplishments, or lack thereof, and all you can do is watch. It’s all so relative, so uncontrollable.”

“Would you be willing to run the risk of being hated?”

“History is written by winners. What if I try, try my very hardest, and fail? Would I be willing to risk being misunderstood, nevermind my intentions?”

“I guess that depends on how hard you’re willing to try.”

“And how hard I’m willing to try depends on my motivation.”

“What would motivate you to be famous? Is it money? Well-being of the people? Knowledge? A six-page spread in whatever magazine?”

“I don’t really know. It’s interesting how you mentioned people though. Sometimes I wonder if a big part of being famous is just the ability to show up everyone else.”

“Supposing you actually care about the opinion of anyone else.”

“Let’s be honest there – everyone cares.”

“I don’t care what other’s think of me.”

“You can’t deny having human emotions. We’re a social species, and as such, the approval of others is important. Maybe not everyone, but they’ll always be someone whose opinion you care about.”

“So when a teenager, or anyone for that matter, says ‘I don’t care what you think’, they’re essentially faking it?”

“Yeah. Maybe even to themselves. They say they don’t care, they think they don’t care, but it’ll come back to them, the sinking feeling of someone hating you. It always does.”

“Does that happen a lot to you?”

“You mean, do a lot of people hate me?”

“No, do you tell people you don’t care what anyone thinks of you.”

“Not really. I’ve never told anyone I ‘didn’t care about their opinion’. Sometimes I say, in a general manner, ‘I don’t care what others think’. Which is true – I’m not going to obsess over the approval of that girl, or that boy. It’s nonsensical. But animosity affects me adversely, of course.”

“Meaning that if everyone were to ignore you, you’d feel bad?”

“Yeah. Wouldn’t anyone?”

“Except a hermit.”

“They’re isolated though. They don’t feel animosity from others. There are no ‘others’, and so they don’t feel anything.”

“I could be a hermit.”

“I thought you wanted to be famous?”

“I never said that.”

“Why’d you bring up the whole subject of fame, then?”

“For the sake of conversation.”

“Silly.”

“Why?”

“Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with silence.”

 

[Thomas Edison douchebaggery]