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Things I have learned - Forty two seconds of fame

By Bill D. Ward


Today’s Wisdom: Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are.

– Erica Jong

I recently had the unique and bizarre experience of being videoed for a television news story. It was both interesting, and a bit unnerving.


First of all, there was no script. If there had been I probably wouldn’t have remembered it anyway. I had to make it up as I went, while the interviewer asked me questions. Even though I knew we could edit, I was thinking, “Don’t say something stupid.” I think it went okay.


But the most unsettling thing was that much of the time that I was talking, the cameraman was standing right next to me with his $70,000 high-definition camera, with its big fat lens about 14 inches from my face. This was news, not theater. There was no makeup girl. There was no one combing my hair back into place. It was just me in my full ‘old man’ glory. I was thinking, “Well, I hope I at least shaved well this morning.”


We spent about two hours together and he had at least 30 minutes of recording time of just me talking, or at least standing around looking important. When the story finally aired, there I was on TV, for exactly 42 seconds, mostly broken up into segments of just several seconds each.


I think that is kind of like life. We spend a lot of time among people, some good, some not so much. There are great moments, and then some we would just as soon edit out and forget. Then in the end, someone else determines how we will be remembered, not with the total of our time on earth, but with small sound bites.


At funerals in my church, it is customary for family and friends to say a few nice things about the deceased. They are always positive. We all know they are editing. I suspect someone will say a few words at my funeral, too. It will all be nice. They too will edit. I’m happy about that. I’m just sayin.’

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