Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fame

Fame (as defined by the Merriam Webster On-Line Dictionary)
Etymology:
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin fama report, fame; akin to Latin fari to speak
Date: 13th century
1 a: public estimation : reputation b: popular acclaim : renown

I once thought that fame resulted from some heroic or notable deed or quality. Daniel Boone. George Washington. Davey Crockett. Mark Twain. That sort of thing. I was very young. I soon discovered that fame can come about in all sorts of ways. Certainly particularly attractive, intelligent, or strong people often become famous. Marilyn Monroe. Antonio Banderas (that one is for you Barbara). Albert Einstein. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lately, I have noticed that people often become famous for far less appealing reasons: obnoxious behavior, pushing the limits on current social norms, and for all sorts of weakness or failure.

I now know that there was a Governor of New York named Eliot Spitzer. I only vaguely knew his name before he was exposed as a rather spectacular hypocrite. Hypocrisy, moral failure, or even a rather sad death can get a lot of press.

There is a part of me that has always wanted to be a bit famous. That was perhaps truer when I was younger, but I think the desire is still present. Of course, I prefer to think that I would become famous for some very noble reason. I confess that I have the habit of looking at the tracking data for my blog. I wrote about it in this post . For some time I had been a bit intrigued by the fact that my post Make One Good Choice Repeat as Necessary had been getting hits from around the globe. I began to foster a tiny hope that I would be famous as the guy who wrote that article on "How to Make a Good Choice" because that particular search term in Google often leads people to my blog post. Lately, however, I have had a good laugh at my own expense.
This is one of those times when I strongly believe that God has a sense of humor. I say that because there is now a new clear winner among my posts: Ouch. It is simply a picture of my knee after arthroscopic surgery that caused it to be badly bruised. There is a bit of text to that effect with the photo. Apparently, many people would like to see what a knee looks like a few days after surgery. A Google image search with the term "knee days after arthroscopic surgery" pops my post up as number one. It has steadily become more well known. I get at least one hit every single day from someone looking for pictures of knees after surgery. It would appear that my best shot at fame may be the notoriety of my ugly knee photo. If the hits continue and sort of "snowball" over time, I may be on a talk show as a result of getting badly bruised. Probably won't happen. But it has reminded me of how foolish it is to seek fame in this world. When I see truly, I know that what I must seek is to be spoken of by God: "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21) . It is the only sort of fame that matters.
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