I'VE COME TO the conclusion that I am going to be famous. I think it's a fair conclusion, given the fact that I've spent years trying to build a multimedia empire. It's also a somewhat optimistic conclusion, since my empire has thus far reached the size and scope of a cardboard box.
I've done everything I could to make my fame dream come true. I cut a hip-hop record when I was 19, and sold approximately one copy, for which I was swindled out of my 5 cents in royalties. I did an unpaid stint as a radio commentator (although, to be fair, I later set those commentaries to music, put them on CDs, and sold them from my trunk for gas money). I just finished my seventh book, an endeavor for which I will be paid in Now & Laters, Baby Ruths and rusty nickels. Now, I'm trying to find another endeavor for which I will make no money, because these days, that's the safest way to do fame.
I've seen way too many people get rich and famous in this new 24-hour news cycle, only to be castigated by the media. Angelina Jolie stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston and what did she get in return? Tabloid headlines renaming the couple Brangelina, and accusing them of being giant leeches from the planet Xerox who photocopy their young using the collate-and-staple setting.
The chick on "Britain's Got Talent" was utterly incapacitated by her brush with fame, and had to be hospitalized. And who can blame her? You would've been hospitalized too if the British tabloids had said your foot was the actual singer, and your mouth was really a portal to an alternate reality where "Gunsmoke" is in perpetual reruns.
I'm exaggerating, of course, but just a little.
People like Oprah Winfrey who are both rich and famous are constantly under attack. They've accused her of being gay, straight, fat, skinny, and cited her show as the primary reason for global warming. Her response to tabloid headlines that scream "Oprah's cellulite eats at Wendy's"? She started her own doggone magazine, and made sure she put herself on the cover, without the cellulite, thank you.
I'm not sure I could respond that way. First of all, I don't have enough money to start my own magazine. Second, there's only so many ways you can photograph a bald dude in his early 40s and have it look natural. Seriously, how many times would you buy a magazine with a picture of me on the couch screaming at the TV? Or mowing the lawn? Or handing money to my children? Or scratching?
I think the better solution would be for me to get famous under the radar. By doing so I could avoid the accusation that I am a giant cell-phone bill sent to Earth by alien teenage girls who went over on their minutes. Yep, that's what I'll do. I'll be secretly famous and do all my public appearances in silhouette. Not only would it be a great marketing ploy, but it would be a cool way for me to blame others for my most heinous acts.
I could be like Prince, and change my name to something no one can pronounce. Better yet, I could go by a nickname. Something like, Bald-guy-in-his-40s, or Baldy for short. That way, whenever they caught me on TMZ manhandling a photographer, I could point to Emmitt Smith or Tyrese Gibson or some other dude who looks like me, and claim that they're the real Baldy.
Well, I think I've resolved my fame dilemma. When I blow up and you see me on "E! True Hollywood Story," don't worry when they say they caught me mainlining Big Macs, driving under the influence of Skittles or smoking green-tea leaves.
You can rest assured that guy wasn't me. It was Baldy. *
Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at