“15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon” (en.wikipedia.org, 2013). It’s when a normal person like you or me ends up famous even if it’s only for a few minutes. Maybe the person is on television, in the newspaper, online or on the radio – whatever it is, they are suddenly someone you see or read about.
Years ago when I was very little, my Dad worked downtown. He worked for a very small print shop as a printer. This is the building he used to work in on Aqueduct Street. It looks different now than it did in the ‘60’s, but I knew it on sight. We used to pick him up from work some days. As I walk around downtown myself these days, I often find myself wondering, “I wonder if Dad ever walked here.” You see I know he went out and about while he was downtown because my Mom kept newspaper clippings from the local newspaper. There was a “Man on the Street” type of column on the local pages, and he was interviewed about a change in Daylight Savings Time and asked if he was in favor of moving it so that it started in April. They interviewed five people, and he was the only one who said “no”. Another time he was asked about the weather forecast. Here is that clipping.
After Dad retired, to earn some extra cash and to keep Dad busy, my Mom signed up to be an adult carrier for the local evening newspaper. She and my Dad delivered the Times Union newspaper in their car to various small stores. The edition they delivered was the late edition “blue streak”, and they often had elderly gentlemen waiting for them to arrive with the “latest” news. Those days are long gone. Few buy papers anymore. Everyone gets their news online or via television. The Times Union ceased publication on June 27, 1997. Mom would have been 74. She continued to deliver the paper to keep busy after Dad died in 1987. Mom delivered most days with Bennie by her side. Bennie was the dog I had just before I got married. When I married and moved into an apartment, Bennie became Mom’s dog. He was a gruff little thing, but how Mom loved him. When Gannett decided to merge the evening paper with the morning paper, Mom was offered a job delivering papers with the early morning paper. By then, Mom’s vision was fading and she could no longer drive in the dark. She had to retire. Mom’s 15 minutes of fame was at hand. One of our local news stations, Channel 13, interviewed Mom and asked her how she felt about the paper’s end. They showed Bennie in the car with her. I can still hear the local newscaster, saying, “Meet Betty” (my Mom). I have that news segment on VHS tape and really need to get it onto a DVD so that I can keep it.
Around the same timeframe (~1997), my son Alex was a toddler. He was a victim of frequent ear infections. On one of our visits with the pediatrician, I walked into the waiting area to find a cameraman and one of the local female newscasters standing there. It was around this time that the Doctors had started a service where parents with a sick child or with questions could call in to their number and speak to a nurse or nurse practitioner instead of waiting for the doctor to call back. I was asked by the news reporter if I minded answering a few questions. It was time for my 15 minutes of fame. They filmed Alex walking into the Doctor’s office, and they filmed a “mock” exam with us talking to the Doctor and the Doctor letting Alex play with the otoscope (used for looking into his ear). They then interviewed me and asked how I felt about talking to the nurse instead of the Doctor. I said something silly about being in favor and the nurses being just as qualified. I have this interview on VHS tape, too.
I guess given the fact that my Dad and my Mom were both “famous”, it was only a matter of time before I became famous, too.