Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

I am the new poster girl for a charity event in which people (not me) are sponsored to rappel down the side of a thirty story building for money. This event takes place annually, diagonally across the intersection by my workplace.

At the corner of Hollis & Duke, in front of a Subway sandwich shop, I am standing, one clear blue-skied day last year, mesmerized by the proceedings. Wind gusts hard off the ocean and the victim/volunteers, many of whom are entirely inexperienced, dangle and swing like bells, tethered to life by a mere piece of rope. Many of them can't seem to connect toes to building except to push themselves out into midair again and again. Way up there. About a foot from the sky. Miniature people, from my vantage point. Below them, waiting, are reporters and TV crews.

I recall this with the clarity of absolute attention - my neck aches, my head is thrown back, my hair blows wildly. I don't move for a long time. I gulp down the hugeness of the sky, the sight of the flapping flags on the building top and the flapping humans-on-a-string. For me, the world has stopped its push and shove, it's anthill flow of street level activity. I could have stayed in that spot forever feeling the sky fill me up and the blood pound through my veins.

This past week, people keep announcing that they've seen me on TV. I don't watch TV so take their word for it. Apparently, the next rappelling event is being promoted - and there I am on flickering screens in their living rooms - locked to my spot outside the sandwich place, oblivious to everything else, thinking it's just me, the sky, and dangling people. Can they do that? I mean can they make you be the poster girl without asking?

Sometimes, my brushes with celebrity are less innocuous. For instance, I once agreed to be interviewed by Frank magazine - a muck-racking tabloid of little repute. A friend who had a friend who wrote for them asked me if I'd agree to meet them. They were sympathetic to prison issues, she said - and they said. They assured me they wanted to do something positive.

I asked around, "Should I do it?"
"What the hell, said one friend whose judgment I trusted, "why not? Who reads Frank anyway?" I couldn't argue with that. Certainly no one I knew.
Ahhh.
Who reads Frank anyway?

Let me tell you. Every person who visits a corner store, grocery checkout, magazine stand. Every person, in other words, who doesn't live in a cave outside of town, saw the cover - with a hideous picture of me, under the screaming banner, "The Librarian and the Lifer."
And the story was even worse. Not mean. Just...cliche. I told Lamar, the "lifer" of the title, "I was Joan of Arc and you were the Baby Jesus."

Even farther back, practically in neolithic times, when I was receptionist for a local TV & Radio station and when the guest for an afternoon talk show didn't arrive, I was yanked from my receptionist chair and plunked down on the set to be interviewed (live) about the mystery of Tarot cards. Considering the five seconds notice, I did a damn good job. The station even thought about asking me to host a show. Until the calls came in about the godless witch on the afternoon show.

I wonder if that's my fifteen minutes? If so, I'm not looking for more. Not unless I see a cheque soon.

Thanks Evaard, for the inspiration for an entry. For paragraph two - and the rest as well.

14 comments:

zhoen said...

Oooo, oo, can I take your place? I only got to rappel once, and always wanted to go again.

Koru's Daughter said...

"Can they do that? I mean can they make you be the poster girl without asking?"

Yes.

Don't take it personally. It is not about you. It is never about you. It is about what they need at the moment. The station needed someone to interview. The religious viewers need needed someone to act as a screen so they could project their shadow.

Mr. X said...

Poster girl? Good choice! Do we get a picture, then? :)

mm said...

Parachute jumping will be next.

Ariel said...

Put it that way, redheads always stand out!

Darkmind said...

The Godless Witch Afternoon Show starring LJ...Hmm...I'd watch it!

Edvard Moonke said...

thank you. you have a lovely face for a poster.

what do the tarot cards say about my future then?

LJ said...

And D - I'd probably be interested in the guy in the supermarket who kept staring at my lips and left eyebrow.
Edvard...I need a little more to go on for a question...

herhimnbryn said...

Wish I could have seen you ont 'telly!

JoeinVegas said...

Hope you were dressed 'Appropriately' that day.

LJ said...

Joe - I was dressed. That much can be certain. But as to whether I looked like a huge goofball and had spinach in my teeth, we can't be certain. Perhaps I was picking my nose. The problem is that I didn't know it was happening and haven't seen the clip.

phlegmfatale said...

Well, honey, you know how sex sells, and if they can cobble the ideer of their campaign onto the image of a dusky vixen like you, well, they're sure to up their numbers. Clever ones, those.

LJ said...

Phlegmy - I could have had a large booger in my nose, you know. The thought haunts me.

phlegmfatale said...

Well, booger or no booger - no one cares what a pretty woman is wearing! *wink* I'll bet you looked lovely.