Foolery, Tom Foolery

paparazziThe other night, I saw the 2010 movie, “The King’s Speech.” For those unfamiliar, the film, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, essentially tells the story of Prince Albert’s work and relationship with the speech therapist who helped him get a stammering problem under control so he could speak publicly as the King of England. (As an aside, it’s a brilliant movie, well worth seeing, if you haven’t already.) It comes back to me powerfully in the context of the topic “FAME” chosen by Michelle Liew for The Writer’s Post Blog Hop #63.

Why? Because here was a man who, as much as he hoped to stay out of the limelight, was thrust into it, “warts and all,” so to speak.  Admittedly, many people who are famous, milk it for all it’s worth and love it, despite claims to the contrary, but plenty of celebrities really just want to be left alone.

And then there are the rest of us. The “Other 98%,” I suppose you could call us, who live our lives unnoticed. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. A guy I know has said to me on more than one occasion, “I just want to be famous.” When I consider the lengths to which some people will go to become famous, all I can do is shake my head.

It makes me think of this joke:

Mr. Jones, 75, and a widower, is having a lonely time in Miami Beach. But he regularly sees a man about his age who’s never alone, people always surrounding him and extending invitations.

So he works up the courage and one day asks, “Mister, how do I make friends like you have?” The guy smiles and says: “Get a camel and ride up and down Collins Avenue every day. Before you know it, everyone in Miami will be asking who you are. You’ll have to hire someone to handle all the invites you’ll be getting.”

So Jones gets a paper and looks through the ads where he read of a circus, stranded in Miami, in need of capital. Jones phones the circus owner and within an hour he has a camel.

The next morning, Jones, wearing khaki shorts and a pith helmet, sets forth on his camel to Collins Avenue. Everywhere folks stop and look in wonderment. Daily, for a week, he rides in this way.

One morning, as he’s getting ready to ride, the phone rings. It’s the parking lot attendant calling to say his camel’s been stolen.

Jones calls the police and Sgt. Riley answers.

“What…you say someone stole your camel?” Riley asks. Western Man on Camel

“That’s right,” says Jones.

“I’ll have to fill out a form.” Riley says. “How tall is the animal?”

“From the sidewalk to where I sit, a good six feet,” Jones replies.

“What color is it?”

“Camel color.”

“Is it male or female?” Riley continues.


“Is it male or female?”

“How am I supposed to know that? Wait! Wait a minute…. It’s male. Yes, male.”

“You’re sure?”

“Absolutely,” Jones says.

“But a minute ago you weren’t sure,” Sgt. Riley says, hesitating…

“Trust me, officer. I’m positive,” Jones says. “You see, I just remembered that every time I rode on Collins Avenue, people would say, ‘Hey, look at the shmuck on that camel!’”

Inspired by Michelle’s villanelle, I thought it would be interesting to take a more “poetic” approach to speculating on what someone might do to achieve fame. I offer you this look…

A strapping young Irishman named Seamus

Male athlete wearing laurel wreath posing in studio showing six-pack and strong arms

Was dubbed Limerick’s chief ignoramus

After donning naught but a crown

He paraded downtown

It’s okay with him though, ’cause now he’s famous.

And this one…

A fellow who we will call “Amos”

from a passionate desire to become famous,

did something he’d never

ever, ever, ever, ever

do unless compelled by a writ of mandamus.

What say you, readers? Better to be famous or fly under the radar? 

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  1. Daphne, forgive my lateness1 Finally made it here, and I have to say that Seamus who was seamless clearly did not disappoint. 😉 You are so right. The things people will do just be be known for a couple of years, even months and it’s usually for the superficial that goes away in a heartbeat. Thanks for linking up as well!! Will link to your blog too!

  2. Shared this on twitter and google plus.

  3. I know this might sound boring–but I have no desire to be famous. I like flying under the radar–never to be detected 🙂

  4. Love the story about Mr Jones – and your limericks too!

  5. Like Jenn I would rather go about life quietly under the radar.



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