I have had a few friends in my life that were somewhat famous shall we say. I met Gary McCord back in the early 80’s. He was a struggling tour player and we shared a mutual friend in Dallas Texas. So a couple of times a year I saw McCord in Dallas, at the Bryon Nelson, then the following week in Fort Worth, at the Colonial. To say were friends would be a loose definition for sure. If you asked Gary he more than likely would not call it that. Anyway, when he would play in Memphis I would go out with a buddy of mine and we would run the streets at night and watch him play golf during the day. I was there the day he made a 16 on the 16th hole at Colonial Country Club here in Memphis. That night it was the lead story on Sportcenter back then instant stardom and the break he needed!! Well Gary found his rightful place on the PGA Tour, in the tower working for CBS. Many years later we were in a bar in Fort Worth during the Colonial and people kept coming up to him and speaking to him asking for autographs and stories. After about 2 hours of this I asked him “Do you ever get sick of all this attention?” He simply replied no way when they stop come up is when I will be sick. What an attitude. Here we are in public and he could have cared less for the invasive people who all seemed to come up to him as if they were his best friend!!
Well it happened again to me this morning. I am blessed to have a very dear friend who is known thought out the city here. I was talking to my buddy and up walked a couple of people; they just started in on my buddy like we were not even talking. My friend, ever the gentlemen, turned and faced each of the people vying for his attention and gave them each enough time to feel important, recognized, honored, and like they were the only people he had to talk to that minute. It struck me then what notoriety is all about. It is a robber and thief of everything you, while you are in public. When we normally get together it is at his house or mine. Rarely do we go out. We have eaten in the kitchens of some of the better restaurants in the city, or get private dining room wherever we go. He always is gracious and engaging whenever someone would come up to our table. I was thinking how blessed am I that no one knows me. I can go through out my day and no one wants a minute of my time! You know how we all think man if I were famous I’d be happy. Take it from a guy who watches people everyday who are, it is very difficult. Can you imagine, all they want to do is what I take for granted every day!! Just live one day where no one knows you.
My friend I was with this morning will take his vacations to remote places where he is not known and says it is the greatest thing in the world. We plan to get away this summer to a very private place so he and his wife can just relax and be them. And by the way the famous people I know are all very nice people. You hear the stories about what assholes some famous people are, not that I am allowing a pass here. However, I can understand the behavior in some small way. McCord always remembered if the people stopped liking him CBS would drop him like a hot potato. He never got bigger than the business. My current friend is one of the most humble men I have ever met. He is giving, kind, loving to his family and others. What a sacrifice he has made in his life for others. I guess the good lord knew that I was destined to be a “Joe the Plumber” kind of guy. I love my wife and son. I love my friends and just kind of live under the radar. What fun to go to the mall and actually get to shop and not spend the day answering questions and listening to people trying to impress you.
The most amazing thing of all is that two people like McCord and my buddy seem to always love it when they get together with me. They tell me that it is so nice to be around someone who is not trying to impress or entertain them. I just truly enjoy being with them for them not their status or stardom. Starting a couple of years ago if McCord come in town we have dinner at my house and he tells the most unbelievable stories of things that happen on the tour. The invite list for this dinner has gotten so political it almost scares me. From my bosses, to my best customers, to my best friends everyone wants to be here for the McCord dinner. Looks like I might even have a brief moment of notoriety!! But like McCord said if they stop asking you then… Strange how if he doesn’t come no one seems to want to come to dinner and hear my stories!!!!
Guess I will just be happy living my importance through other people then I can always go home to my wife and be told what to do and feel really good that someone really does care about me!!
Notoriety, not for me I don’t think. I feel like a glass of wine from a famous place like California now that is living my friend..