I Am Going To Be Famous
Whenever I meet people, and they treat me like a normal everyday person, well, I just smile. Because they don’t know I’m going to be famous. That’s right. You’ll be telling your grandkids about the time I scanned your groceries at the Trader Joe’s, and those grandkids will tell their grandkids, and on down the line until our dying sun swells up like an untreated tumor and burns the planet to ash (which, of course, nullifies all our accomplishments). Getting your groceries scanned by me, the future international superstar, will be the most noteworthy achievement of your anonymous nobody life. Savor it. Cherish it. Take a mental photograph. As soon as I scan those Totino’s Party Pizzas back there, it’s over.
Of course, I know actors always think they’re going to be famous, but I’m different from those other actors. I’m really going to be famous. I know because I’ve imagined my interview with Lipton so many times, have stood in the mirror and recited my life story in a dramatic resonant tone in response to questions like, “When Britney broke up with you, how hard was it to recover?” and “Did you always know you’d be famous?” and “Were you treated differently in high school because of how smart and brilliant and talented you are?” In books and movies about people rising to fame, authority figures always tell the main character, “You’ll never make it. Don’t you realize how competitive dancing/acting/singing is?” but then they always become famous anyway, and, hey, my life is exactly like a movie in which I’m the main character, and therefore the same plot points will unfold for me because that’s how the world works.
I’ve already been in a wide range of films including The Chase, my friend Michael’s project for Intro to Film Production. Also, The Pursuit, my friend Michael’s other project for Intro to Film Production. Also, Running Away From Something, my friend Michael’s final project for Intro to Film Production. Michael agrees I’m definitely going to be famous because, unlike his other friends, I’m willing to take off work to appear in movies. In show business, we call this quality “dedication.”
In acting class, the teacher pretends I’m no better than the other students, which is tactful of him, and I respect his desire to safeguard my classmates’ fragile self-esteems (actors can have inexplicably huge egos). But let’s face facts: I’m a thousand times more talented than any of them. What Reed Richards is to science, Sucklord is to art, and Boba Fett is to galactic bounty hunting, I am to acting — the foremost in the field, the consummate genius, the prodigy. I wish God had more commensurately distributed acting ability among my classmates, but sadly, we live in an inequitable world. As it is, my classmates won’t even talk to me — their egos won’t allow them to recognize my theatrical preeminence. It’s sad really because I have so much knowledge to share with them. After class, I’ll say, “I wrote down detailed criticisms of everyone’s performances in class today! Who wants to hear theirs?” and they’ll make weird throat noises and head to the bar without me.
They can’t understand my acting process. I don’t just play a character; I become the character. I fully inhabit the character. I capture every facet of the character’s behavior. I stalk the character after work, knock the character unconscious with a hammer, take the character’s unconscious body back to my garage, carefully carve off the character’s skin with a sharp hunting knife, sew the fragments of skin together, and wear a suit of the character’s skin — metaphorically speaking — because that’s how committed I am to this art form. Even in the short time I’ve been scanning your groceries, I’m confident I could play you if I wanted. I could inhabit your character.
Well, yeah, I could scan faster, but understand the time spent here in my presence is precious, and you’re asking me to — okay fine, I’ll go faster.
What kind of hat do you think embodies you? I’ve got a bag of hats I always bring to class, and if I feel my character would wear a sombrero or a pirate hat, boom, I’ve got one on hand. Every class, I’m like, “Did everyone forget to bring their hats again? Looks like I’m the only one taking this seriously,” and, out of insecurity, they’ll say something needlessly dismissive like, “Kill yourself,” or “I hope you develop severe clinical depression.” For the uninitiated, half of great acting is wearing different hats. In his autobiography, An Acting Life, Freddie Highmore writes, “The most difficult aspect of acting is acquiring the thousands of hats necessary to create a powerful performance. Even after tens of thousands of dollars spent on hats, I still find myself requiring additional hats. Careful viewers will notice I wear a different hat in every shot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” If I played you, I would wear a beanie because you seem like a beanie type character.
Uh oh! Look what I have in my hand: the last Totino’s Party Pizza. After this, you’ll slide your debit card, take your receipt, and then exit the frame into obscurity like that one random lady at the end of The Avengers who pops in to say, “I want to thank the Avengers for saving my life,” and then disappears. You’re just like her, this tiny meaningless character, and I’m Iron Man. At this moment in the movie of my life, narrator Morgan Freeman will say, “The customer carefully avoided eye contact with him and frantically slid her debit card.”
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2. Your middle school French teacher.
Depression is a shape-shifting, ever-present monster.
Take a day somewhere between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve when feelings really begin to feel forced, and acknowledge your raw emotions for what they are, both good and bad. Make a toast to your survival.
1. If your child suggests that everyone in his family hates him, don’t reassure him of your love. Instead tell him to wish for a new family.