While driving one of our son’s friends around the other day, the young boy asked me a question.

“Are you famous?” he said, mindful of seeing my picture over this column in the Advocate every month.

“No,” I told him, to his obvious disappointment. “Does it make a difference?”

“Well, if you were famous, I would want to come to your house more often,” he said.

While I pondered the obvious advantages of having one less young boy running around our home, I had to admit that I give some fleeting thought to “fame” every once in a while.

In fact, our son’s first question about virtually anyone is: “Is he/she famous?”

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to actually answer that deceptively simple question, but it’s harder than it looks. After all, is the qualifier for “fame” simply being featured on television a few times, or does it require some sort of “good citizenship” or “community benefit” component.

For example: Is Mayor Ron Kirk famous? Well, he is one of our neighbors, and around Dallas, many people know who he is, but my father in Minnesota probably has never heard of him. So, is Kirk famous or not?

Madonna’s famous, or perhaps even infamous, but has she really done anything to benefit anyone else?

And really, what difference does fame make anyway? We either are or we aren’t, and we can’t do much to alter our status.

I suppose fame has its perks (although I wouldn’t know from personal experience what they are), and there are things more important in life than being famous.

Like actually accomplishing something.

Our feature story this month about White Rock Lake takes a unique twist: We’re focusing on individuals lending a hand at the lake with no expectation of “fame” in return.

Building a walkway in memory of a late wife. Restoring a grandfather’s iron handiwork. Donating a tree. Spearheading a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lake.

None of these accomplishments are likely to make these people famous, but what they’re doing is worthy of more than the recognition we’re giving them this month.

Of course, they aren’t undertaking these projects for the “fame.” Instead, they’re doing what they’re doing for the rest of us.

Come to think of it, that’s a pretty famous idea, isn’t it?


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