Being Famous

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The Daily Grist: “Becoming famous was extremely disappointing to me. When I became famous it was a complete drag and it’s still a complete drag” … Van Morrison.

I’m amused by all those people who pore over magazines and tabloids about the latest doings of the rich and famous. There seems to be a lot of interest in whether or not Prince Andrew has a zit or not or whether one movie star will divorce another. No doubt many of these avid readers fantasize about how great it would be to be famous.
Many people never stop to think what a terrible curse being truly famous would actually be. People would constantly be vying for your attention and you’d never have a free moment to yourself. Every time you met someone new you’d wonder if you could be friends with them or if they were just trying to seem friendly because you are a famous person.
I remember going shopping at a local grocery in Denver one time and one of the store managers pointed out Bart Starr to me. This was about thirty years ago and Bart Starr was at the time one of the most revered sports legends of the day. (He’s the first Super Bowl winning quarterback for all you non football fans out there).
I felt kind of funny about walking up to Bart Starr just because, he happened to be out buying some groceries. That’s something normal people like me do. Why would he want some stranger walking up to him and bugging him just because he happened to be famous. Maybe he was doing his own shopping just because he wanted to do something normal.
I overcame my reluctance and went up and said hi. I really couldn’t resist because I actually did have a lot of admiration for what a great career the Packers legend had had. And fortunately, in real life Bart Starr was as nice a fellow as you’d ever want to meet. I didn’t take much more of his time than to just praise his accomplishments and shake his hand but his demeanor wasn’t rushed at all, as if he had all the time in the world to talk to me.
One of the great things about Bluegrass I think, is there really aren’t any truly famous people. Someone famous within the Bluegrass genre gets a lot of attention from Bluegrass fans but the average person wouldn’t have any idea who they were. As a consequence, when you go to a Bluegrass festival, the stars are all to some degree relatively accessible.
So don’t feel too bad that your favorite music isn’t as popular as it has a right to be. There are advantages. And being famous: who needs it?

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