Rainy Days and Mondays

I am as awkward around famous people as I am around people people. Even the clunkiness of that sentence captures my general social clunkiness.

It is entirely likely that anyone within reading distance of this blog has him or herself met more famous people (and more-famous people) than I have. A well-balanced person treats the waiter like a prince and talks with royalty like they’re the next-door neighbors; I am well-balanced, but not in a good way: I treat everyone like they are a teacher who has announced a pop quiz that I have not studied for.

In the past, I had a terrible relationship with success; my lack of it and some of my friends having success in their fields. I wrote a while back:

Most of the time, for most if not all of my friends, success has come as a response to hard work. I have friends who are enjoying careers in the performing arts, and once upon a time, whenever I saw the face of a friend or acquaintance I knew on the television or movie screen, I was guaranteed a difficult week of moping. Correction: Anyone in my vicinity was guaranteed a difficult week of me moping. I did not spend a happy week or so of feeling and expressing pride in my friends’ achievements. As I wrote, sometimes I have been a jerk.
 
I was jealous of my friends’ success/hard work and saw their success as an indictment of my lack of success, which was really a lack of hard work.

This will sound like a humblebrag, but I am genuinely happy now when I see a friend’s name on a TV show or movie. (At least four friends are in three different films that are on Netflix right now. I suppose my writing that, in parentheses no less, is the real humblebrag.)

Plus, many of my friends are mothers and fathers and have raised children who are now college age, and every single one of these young people is remarkable and will contribute noteworthy things to the world, whether or not World War III starts this week. I am no one’s father, yet, and this used to bother me, too. (Only recently have I added that “yet” to this sentence. It is an important word in my life right now, even if World War III is looming, which it isn’t.)

So last night, out of the blue, the songwriter/actor/friend of Kermit the Frog/President of ASCAP/recovery advocate Paul Williams sent me a congratulatory message on Instagram. It was only four or five words long, but who’s counting? Wait right there … It was six. I just re-counted.

Social media has made it more possible for people to have encounters with the famous among us; many celebrities and politicians personally run their online fan clubs. Many do not. This has not made these encounters any less attention-grabbing for me when they do happen. (Three of my all-time favorite writers followed my Twitter account, two of them within a week of each other; I was a six-foot-tall cliché of self-importance that week. Two of them have since “unfollowed” me. I was a six-foot-tall cliché of crushed.)

If you have not seen Stephen Kessler’s excellent documentary “Paul Williams Still Alive” from 2012, you ought to. It’s still on Netflix. (I suppose I can more correctly humblebrag now that five extremely close personal friends are in four enormously successful films currently on Netflix.)

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for November 24 asks, “You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?”

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6 comments

  1. loisajay · November 24, 2015

    Success is overrated. And are they happy? That’s what we don’t know. But we know each other–and we blog. High five, Mark!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Relax... · November 24, 2015

    Names! We want names!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · November 27, 2015

      Well, I’m Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Relax... · November 27, 2015

        LOL, oh, fine. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Aldrich · November 28, 2015

          Ok. There is a documentary about the Back to the Future film franchise and one of the experts is someone with whom I went to elementary school and another expert is a colleague of his with whom I am friends online. I am friends with one of the activists in the documentary “Call Me Lucky,: which I highly recommend watching and re-watching. It’s inspirational. And I am friends with an actor in “The Poisoner’s Handbook,” which was originally a PBS documentary with re-enactments; my friend is the star in the re-enactments.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Relax... · November 28, 2015

          Wow, cool! Thank you, I’ll have to check it all out!

          Like

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