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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fame and Worry by John von Daler

                I went to a theater premiere last night in Copenhagen.
                Let's get something clear right away: I am not famous. My publisher, my advisors, my tax guy, even my doctor have hinted that it would be better if I were well-known.
                Not that I am unknown. I used to write autographs in Jutland when many concerts lead me out west. Here in Copenhagen some little old ladies used to sneak into our garden and check the names on the door, because I played my violin a lot on television.
                But the dizzy heights of spectacular irritation about being disturbed time after time on my street do not bother me any more. I walk in peace.
                So arriving at a premiere has its awkward moments. The entrance to the theater looks like a snapshot from Dante's inferno. The local paparrazi in piles and mounds, entangled and impeding, breathless and speechless, flashing and snapping, are crammed into the entranceway when I arrive. As I approach them, one arm lifted to protect myself, the other confidently at my side, my hand in the pocket of my trousers, they part like the sea before Moses and we glide through unhindered, unsnapped, unasked, unirritated, and totally undisturbed.
                But they leap like sleddogs on a T-bone steak onto this guy behind me. I do not watch much reality television, so I do not know who he is, but they do. They want to know if he is looking forward to the show. I am thinking, Ask me, just ask me, guys, Of course I'm not looking forward to the show! I just go to premieres as part of my publicity work. Now go away and don't bother me!
                But they are asking him and he is answering smoothly, evenly, politely, enumerating the almost countless expectations with which he is filled at this moment.
                While my wife and I quietly go in and take our seats. We enjoy the play. But my goodness. How am I ever going to get my book sold?                
                 Maybe I should try lying down on a highway, climbing up the outside of a television mast or maybe I should enlist to be sent to an exotic island with young bikini-clad women to starve, make intrigues and fight for the honor of my team. Maybe then they would ask me if I am looking forward to the show...

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