Either I’ll Never Be Famous Or I’ll Be A Megalomaniac.

In the best of times, my job demands make getting any of my own writing done – for the Knicks; for book reviews; for my own fiction – a challenge. A week and a half of constant headaches has left me with, literally, 200+ essays/short papers to get through ASAP. This is not the best of times.

One of the guys who writes at the same Knicks site I do is now writing for Sports Illustrated. This leads me to wonder – is the amount of time I devote to teaching preventing a potential writing career from taking off? Or, having found work I enjoy and show some aptitude for, should that remain my betrothed, with the writing a lifelong mistress?

In the great BBC Steven Moffat series Coupling, there’s a scene when two friends, Steve and Patrick, are trying to convince a third friend, Jeff,  who’s just started dating a woman, that relationships are never as fun long-term as they are in the beginning. Jeff rebuts them, pointing out that Julia, his new girlfriend, loves to wear exciting, tiny underwear and lingerie. A frustrated Steve tells Jeff, “There are 3 things all men should know, and it’s time you did too. You’re never going to be famous, you’re fatter than you think you are, and, most important of all, [women] don’t keep wearing stockings.”

Two things:

  • At the end of a meeting with a student group I meet with every Friday, one of my kids asked me to take a picture with her. I’m distinctly not of the iPhone/selfie generation; I don’t like my picture taken. When I was young and beautiful, I didn’t like it. I am not young and, as I am reminded of whenever I’m immortalized in a still shot or moving picture, I’m not what I consider beautiful. The other day I was flirting via text with this girl I just met online. She was sending me entire paragraphs. Very energetic; responded immediately every time I sent her a new text. I asked her how she feels about beards because I’ve been letting mine run riot for a while. She said she loves beards. I sent her a picture of me with the current beard. Now, she’d seen pictures of me online already, relatively recent pictures. I didn’t think I was crossing the rubicon by sending her a pic. But as soon as she got the text with my picture…everything ground to a halt. Her messages became super short – three, four words, tops, always ending with ellipses. She’d go hours without texting. And, as I suspected, she stopped communicating with me altogether. A great day for the ego. So when my student was lining up our photo, and I noticed that it looked like there were two people standing where I was, but it was actually just me…



  • I looked up people born 100 years before me to see who became famous and when. I wanted to prove to myself that it isn’t too late to achieve the dream of becoming a famous* writer (*famous = wealthy enough to afford having a child). I wanted an example of someone born in 1878 who wasn’t famous by 1915 but would go on to achieve fame later in life. I found one.stalin

That’s Josef Stalin. If history offers any precedent, my best chance to become rich and powerful enough to pay off my student loans and have some power and autonomy in life is if I rise to become a dictator who starves the Ukraine, slaughters his top generals, and serves as the yin to Adolf Hitler’s yang. On the plus side, Stalin never had to stare down the business end of 200+ essays.

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