A friend dropped off a copy of the Ellsworth American, a weekly from Down East Maine. The American still prints small town social news such as the following: "This is the last weekend for dinner at Fisherman's Inn. Bring your friends for their Thai mussels and nearly famous lobster bisque."
I found it sad that the nearly famous bisque was unable to cross over to the famous. What was holding it back? Seasoning? Bisque base? Too little lobster?
Was the lobster bisque on its way to fame, but one bad batch on an off day several weeks ago sent it back to second-class status of only nearly famous?
It is a fine line marked by timing, chance, and a heavy hand on the pepper mill that separates the famous from the nearly famous.
We spend a lot of time pursuing famous, but it usually has a short shelf life. It is a short shelf life fed by our short attention spans and even shorter memories.
Who has the name of Gerald Ford's vice president on the tip of the tongue? Who can name Miss America from three years ago? I remember the Miss America contestant that fell on stage, but I couldn't tell you her name.
And then we come to the twist of being famous simply for being famous. Paris Hilton and her friends are famous, but I can't remember their names. I might have known them at one time for three seconds. I could Google them, but what's the point?
We have confused famous with infamous. The first is noted for honorable achievement, while the second has a reputation of the worst kind.
The parents of the balloon boy stretched their 15 minutes of fame to two days with that large Jiffy Pop helium balloon, but in the end they should be remembered as infamous.
The lure of You Tube has awakened the inner exhibitionist in us all exhibitionists that in most cases would be better off sleeping.
Applebee's promised to make patrons into stars by incorporating homemade videos of them celebrating at the restaurant into television commercials. The result was commercials that were largely unintelligible with people screaming and acting goofy. Louder, please, they can't hear you in Mongolia.
We naturally assume that being famous is a worthwhile goal. People burn themselves out chasing fame.
Being nearly famous reflects a quiet contentment. Nearly f
amous lobster bisque sounds delightful. Who wants television trucks parked outside the inn and paparazzi stalking the help?
If your work has earned the respect of those in your city or your community, you have accomplished much. If you have the admiration of the people who know you best, you sleep well at night.
We work hard pursuing fame when being nearly famous may be the most delicious of all.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.