Not even in my own household am I a household word, which bothers me hardly at all; I would hate to be one of those pathetic characters on [insert name of any of a hundred television shows these days] whose sense of self-worth is entirely dependent upon achieving the canonical Warholian quarter of an hour.
How I got to this presumed point of stability is not entirely clear to me, though I suspect Jenny Davidson has happened on a Great Truth here:
When I was little, I too wanted to be famous, partly because I knew I wanted to be a writer and it seemed to me that good writers should be famous (!?!) but also because of an unwarranted assumption that life would only be interesting if I were famous.
“You’ve had such an interesting life,” people tell me, and my eyes do a synchronized roll: Say what? It must be one of the Great American Default Assumptions: that everyone else’s life must be more interesting than yours. I’ve never thought of my life as being particularly interesting, perhaps because my own perspective, that of the Bewildered Insider, isn’t easily available to everyone else. (It might also explain why I’ve been at this soapbox for most of a decade and a half: perhaps it’s an effort to prove that I’m really as dull as I think I am.)
But being comfortable with my obscurity is not something I was born with. It could be simple fatigue, after wave after wave of loud, self-important attention whores, or it could be a manifestation of actual maturity. The case for the latter, again from Jenny Davidson:
In adulthood I realize that it is much more important to me that life should be interesting than anything else (i.e. interestingness and intellectual and artistic stimulation rank considerably higher than fame or fortune); fame or fortune are only incidentally valuable insofar as they increase the opportunity to do interesting things, but in fact fame may undercut that possibility, because many or most people find it hard to converse normally with famous people.
Fame may have a further drawback in my case, since I suspect that what I perceive as humility is somehow hinged to my lack of fame, and I would be extremely displeased to discover that a famous version of me, presented with some trivial cock-up on a vacation trip, might resort to the unforgivable tactic of pulling rank: “Don’t you know who I am?”
So I content myself with my position on the D-list. If the rewards seem few, they still outnumber the disappointments.