Opinion

WALLY'S WORLD: Artistic types not better than us, just different

This column has brought me a great deal of fame in our mossy little corner of the world. That’s particularly true among middle-aged and elderly people. Youthful residents, if they can muster the concentration to read anything more than Twitter, probably don’t read this newspaper and, if they occasionally glance through it, couldn’t care less about Wally’s World.

To keep things in perspective, if you go more than a 15-mile radius from the intersection of Cole and Griffin, very few people, young or old, have ever heard of me. So, the scope of fame I enjoy is very limited and that’s certainly fine with me.

For whatever reason, the public tends to hold writers in higher regard than many other trades because writing allegedly requires more skill. Well, this is simply nonsense. In fact, being a writer doesn’t require anymore skill than being a mechanic. The skills are just different, that’s all. I don’t have the ability to repair a car motor though, if under a great deal of pressure to do so, I could probably learn the necessary talents and, vis-a-vis, a car mechanic could probably learn to write newspaper columns if he had to – but, much to his credit, he surely wouldn’t want to.

Not only are super skills mistakenly attributed to writers and other famous artists, the public often endows them with superior insights, intellect, and/or spirituality to such an extent that many “common” people are afraid to approach them. I remember meeting the lead singers of Doctor Hook when that band was at its peak of popularity. I held them in such high esteem I was reduced to babble. Literally, I could hardly speak.

My reaction resulted from my own warped perceptions because, of course, famous people have no special powers or insights. Indeed, based upon my limited experience, most of them are quite ordinary except for the fact they’re famous. So, if during your travels hither and yon, you happen to find yourself sitting at a table with George Clooney, don’t freak out. Instead, offer to buy him a drink and ask him if his hemorrhoids are acting up.

Writing a newspaper column or, for that matter, writing a best-selling novel, is of little consequence compared to most anything else in life. Nor is reading either one that important. Whether you’ve read “The Sun Also Rises” doesn’t amount to a tinker’s damn relative to someone picking up the weekly trash. If you don’t believe that, try living in a city during a garbage strike.

But, above and beyond all that, being famous had its advantages and satisfaction, especially in small-town suburbs like these. It’s nice to have everyone greet me by my first name, even though I have no idea who they are. It’s nice to receive daily compliments on the columns. Everyone seems so cheerful and friendly, it boosts my own mood.

Then too, I believe it was Willie Nelson who said being famous unlocks the door to a better class of beautiful women. Could be. I mean, I haven’t actually noticed that. But I’m sure open to the possibility.

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