No. 11: to be famous

Matthew Kevin Clair in 365 (a blog devoted to presenting 365-word-or-less stories written daily for 365 days):

Playing-baby-grand In fourth grade when he got the lead in Mozart, the school musical, he promised himself he would do everything in his power to become famous by the age of 18.

This promise lead to little changes, at first. He asked his mom to sign him up for voice lessons in addition to his already twice-weekly piano lessons. He never missed a lesson, and his mother was often overheard at club dinners gushing over her son's many accomplishments: lead pianist in this, lead vocals in that.

But by sixth grade, something changed, his voice wasn’t quite the same, and he didn’t get the lead in Aladdin, that year’s school production.

This forced other changes. After watching the world cup with his father one summer, he asked to start taking soccer lessons. But after a few weeks, he realized the other boys had been playing for years and he was too far behind to be a star. He tried painting and debate and basketball and came to the same realization: it was too late to be exemplary.

By the time high school came around, he started wearing black clothes and eye-liner. He dyed his hair. He didn’t have any friends, but his classmates were always staring at him and he read rumors about himself on bathroom stalls and in the back of math textbooks. This was fame, he thought at first, until he read The Scarlet Letter junior year and understood the meaning of infamy.

And so, on his eighteenth birthday, all other options exhausted, he set up a Youtube account and streamed himself live for the whole internet to see as he opened his college dorm room window, kicked out the screen and let his bare feet dangle over the courtyard fifty feet below as he readied himself to fulfill his promise.

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