I used to be like that. I used to have fantastic dreams about my books becoming best sellers: Oprah told everybody how good I was; I made money hand over fist; I went on talk shows, and all the eyes staring at blinking cursors spent half their time hoping to emulate my success and half their time resenting it.
I’ve changed. The more I thought about it, the more I realized fame and fortune would be too much hassle. I’m content being a regular guy with a modest income. People leave me alone. Sure, my kids will have to collect 47 scholarships to be able to go to college, but it’s good to establish goals early.
Here are five reasons why I can’t be bothered to become a rich and famous author.
I can’t have people chasing me around with cameras, waiting for me to do something embarrassing. They wouldn’t have long to wait. An individual as socially awkward as I am would become a feeding frenzy for the press. People forget all my gaffs because I’m just some random guy. They just shake their heads and walk away, and that’s how I like it.
All my new, hoity-toity friends would be constantly hounding me to go back to Spain again this year. “That little villa overlooking the Mediterranean you took last season was just so charming, you simply must rent it annually.” I’m used to driving to my vacations in a minivan. I don’t think there’s an interstate to Spain from here. Plus, “I’ll turn this private jet around right now!” rings hollow as a threat to bickering children.
People lined up out the door, all of them wanting their books personalized, and the names people have today. I can’t spell any of them. They’d have to spell them out for me, and my penmanship is bad enough when I’m not distracted by trying to listen. At my little signings, there’s a short line and it moves fast, because everyone gets a book inscribed “To Jim”.
Everybody would always be wanting to know, “When’s your next book coming out?” With all the mega-signings, Mediterranean vacations, and remembering not to pick my nose in public, when the hell do I have time to write a next book? As it is now, I have a much less stressful relationship with my public. By unspoken agreement, they don’t ask me when my next book is coming out and I don’t ask them if they bothered to read my last one.
I’d get so wrapped up in carting my big royalty checks to the bank, I’d lose my fire and start writing lazy prose instead of sharp, insightful pieces like this one. I’d wear pajamas for a way-too-large segment of the day. Maybe I’d just do underwear. Not being distracted by constant trips to the bank, or Spain, and not having to worry about how to spell multi-syllable names, leaves me plenty of time to be thoughtful and stay hungry. For example, right now I’m thinking about how hungry I am. I bet the famous guys haven’t had gritty, real-world thoughts like that in years.
Fame? Who needs it?