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      BEING FAMOUS HAS ITS CHALLENGES by Thomas Putnam

      thgom1It's been a bit overwhelming of late to suddenly become the most famous person in the U.S. Honestly, it is not something I dreamed of or even aspired to either as I was growing up or during my adult years. OK, well, yes, there are a few times that I might wish I were famous just so people would listen to me and be more apt to pay attention to the things that I could crawl up on a soap box and shout about: things like not using one-use plastic, and eating organic, and getting kids out of foster care, and voting for people who respect science realizing that we are destroying the earth and must do something to stop doing so. Y'know, just things like that. Things like music and the arts need to be in our schools with a high priority, and live theatre can generate the kinds of dialogue that challenge and change for the better, and there really is no such person as the “other” and we can/we must welcome all with respect and meaningful hospitality, and our differences are something to embrace not fear. Y'know, just things like that.

      But up until a few weeks ago, I have not been in the position for people to listen to any of my soap box ravings. However, I believe this is changing now that I am famous.

      It didn't really occur to me until I began hearing myself spoken of on the radio and newscasts. I realized I was in high demand and that people were trying to get as much of me as possible. At the risk of sounding blasphemous I felt a bit like Jesus must feel when people ask each other “Do you have Jesus?” and offer imperatives like “You need to get more of Jesus.”

      I don't always use my initials but often do at the end of emails or texts, and strangely that's how I've become known. I want to assure all of you—the fearful, the lonely, the marginalized, the privileged, the bland and the colorful, the greedy and the giving, the holy and the yet-to-be-recognized holy—that there is plenty of me. There is enough of me to go around. You do not need to fear! Call upon me when you need me and be at peace knowing that I can take care of your needs.

      My almost-as-famous friend Will once wrote: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. Thy Fates open their hands. Let thy blood and spirit embrace them. And, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be, cast thy humble slough and appear fresh.” I didn't ask for this greatness, it was thrust upon me. So, fear not, cast your humble slough (that's what they called it 400 years ago) and use me to appear fresh. Jesus washed feet; I do something equally as lowly and just as important.

      I'm mounting my soap box, so get ready.

      T.P.

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