Publicity

"Do I even want to be famous?" I asked. I stared at my hands. There were a lot more lines around the knuckles than I'd remembered.

"Sure, why not?" Aaron asked back, with that perfunctory question-response he used for most of my rhetoric. I liked him for that. It kept the conversation going, no matter how one-sided. Perhaps one of the hallmarks of a truly good friend was one who'd let me carry on whenever the mood to monologue struck.

"It's not like it'd even be me. I mean, not the real me. That whole mindset, of realizing that everything that I did under the watchful eye of the public would be scrutinized, analyzed, talked over, debated, discussed, derided, transformed, misinterpreted, and then relayed in a million bastard fragments across whatever social networks would bother carrying them. I'd imagine that sort of thing changes who you are."

"You'd imagine."

"Of course. I've never been famous. But do you really think the celebrities you know are actually that way in person? I mean, in their truest and most private of moments?"

Aaron thought about it for a moment. "Probably not. If people knew the real me, who I was behind closed doors and with my most trusted of compatriots, they'd have me committed."

"Exactly."

"So then you have to ask yourself if you're interested in crafting a persona, or letting whatever you're able to convey once under the spotlight stand as your public legacy."

"It all sounds rather tiring."

"Maybe you could do it with oh, I don't know, not giving a shit? Be one of those celebrities."

"So then the question of legacy really comes into the forefront," I said. "What would I want to be remembered for, or as, now that people would be remembering me? Add that pressure to the already ridiculous image-management process through which I'd need to filter my every publicly-spoken word."

"I think there are a couple of key things here to acknowledge. One: you're not famous now, so chill out. Two: nothing you do if and when you become famous will matter after you're dead. At least, not to you. Concern for those who remain alive is noble, possibly even ethical, but of very little consequence to you in the oblivion beyond the pale."

I nodded. He was right. It would make the coming months a lot easier to deal with.


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