He was going to be famous.
He knew it, had always known it. He was an entertainer. There was a story his parents told on those occasions when families gathered and pretended to be families. Holidays, funerals, weddings, year after year, the same story, only different. One of those stories that grows, always bigger, like the children at the small table, or the resentments at the adults buffet. The latest incarnation of the story had him as a precocious infant, winking at girls, smiling at men and saluting soldiers. Soon they would have him be a tapdancing fetus, the story was getting that ridiculous. Still, he believed every single word of it. He knew it wasnât true, or was at least an exaggeration so far removed from itâs roots that you could no longer discern itâs factual basis. But he believed it anyway.
He was going to be famous.
Not merely popular or well known. Famous. He wasnât going to be some small-town local celebrity either, like the lady whose cat gave birth to a kitten with two heads, or the guy who was a butt double for the actor in that one movie. No, this would be real fame, that level of acclaim and accomplishment that makes your daily life the subject of dinner discussions for normal people. That super strata of stardom that allows you to be referred to and recognized as a single name, or word, or symbol. Elvis, Hitler, Jesus, Famous.
Until recently he hadnât known exactly what he would get famous for, and he didnât really care. It would happen, of that he was sure, and in the meantime he didnât do much besides show up for his shift at the warehouse five days a week. He didnât have friends, he had no interest in people who would only try to mooch once he was famous, because money comes along with fame… it just does. He didnât have any hobbies or any social life for that matter, not wanting to lose focus of his destiny(or whatever you wanna call it) and possibly be doing something else when he could have been becoming famous for… something.
It came to him while he was sitting at his computer studying, that is, looking at porn. He wasnât masturbating, he never masturbated to porn, imagination was vivid enough. He considered porn to be pedagogic, like watching a teacher demonstrate some complex mathematical formula on a chalkboard. Following that same logic, maturbation was homework, and sex was the periodic test, the chance to prove you knew how to find the answer. Every Time he had sex he could hear his seventh-grade algebra instructor saying, âshow your workâ.
He was watching a poorly shot video clip of two people, a man and a woman, on what appeared to be a cheap hotel bed, in a style of pornography classified as voyeurism. He first thought to himself that calling a specific genre of porn voyeurism was redundant. Looking at videos or pictures of other people having sex is voyeuristic itself isnât it? This train of thought led to him fantasizing about how, once famous, people will will want to watch him, whether he was having sex or not.
It was right then, right as the girl on the cheap hotel room bed thought it would be a good idea to switch positions, that he realized what he was going to do, how he was going to get famous. With a computer connected to the internet and a digital video camera, both of which he possessed, he had a perfect conduit to the world. He would record himself and post the videos online, surely people would see him and recognize him as the potential, no, eventual star he was. No doubt they would notice that he had âitâ, whatever âitâ was. There would be an instant connection between him and the audience and they would know as he knew that he was going to be famous.
He spent days, maybe a week, trying to decide what he should be doing in these videos, how to present himself to the world. He didnât place a lot of credence in the so-called skills most people used to advertise themselves as talented; singing, dancing, painting. What, he thought, was special about something that anyone generally can do? If you can speak you can sing, if you can move you can dance, if you can write you can draw. None of the abilities made you special. what then, he wondered, could he do that no one else could replicate?
In the first video he sat, unmoving, and for a few seconds longer than one minutes he stared at the camera. He didnât say his name or anything about himself, he didnât speak at all. he just looked at the camera and imagined himself looking into the eyes of every human on Earth, including, oddly enough, himself. During the second video he spoke for the first time, having nothing prepared to say, and not even having planned to say anything in the first place, he blurted, âwelcome to the show. I am the star.â he wasnât sure where those words came from, he simply said them. They appeared inexplicably like waking up to Christmas presents in your home on June 7th. Still wondering where those words came from he sat for the remainder of the three minute and seventeen second long video, as still and stoic as in the first.
He decided that his outburst in the second video would be definitive of whatever it was he was doing. He named it The Show. As he recorded himself more and more he found a growing comfort in front of the camera. In the third and fourth videos he talked for a few minutes, discussing himself and his brief history. By the ninth and tenth installments he would turn on the camera and rant until the battery was exhausted, then he would divide that footage into separate clips averaging about four minutes each. He had the videos down. What he didnât have was fans.
He had been posting the videos that comprised The Show on a popular website for sharing and viewing videos, and with the exception of a few people who had probably stumbled upon him by accident, he wasnât being seen by the world. The entire concept of fame hinged on other people watching you, thinking about you, talking about you. They didnât have to necessarily like him, he thought, but they sure as hell needed to know who he was, and right now they- and his future fans- didnât even know he existed.
Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. He had read or heard that somewhere, and it had that ring of truth that oft repeated statement do. He didnât participate in social networking websites, which he saw creating a file on yourself for whichever acronymic agency Big Brother was using now-a-days. This meant that, in his case, word of mouth advertisement would require audible words, of an actual mouth, namely, his. For the following few weeks every person he came in contact with; the girl in the apartment next door, the guy in front of him in line at the grocery store, anyone within earshot, they were all subject to a walking, talking billboard for The Show.
And it worked! After a week he noticed an increase in viewership, nothing huge, but an increase nonetheless. At a rate of about five to twenty-five per video, per day, people were watching. It wasnât the droves of fans he wanted, but it was five to twenty-five times that someone other than himself watched the videos, and that is five to twenty-five steps closer to stardom
He was going to be famous.
The website on which he posted The Show required viewers to create accounts in order to watch videos, it also offered the opportunity to leave comments. This comment section was something he checked daily as the tally of views steadily increased. He waited for a comment to be left, for someone to begin the conversation about him. The first comment was from a user who went by the name TheShowGirl: âhey, itâs your neighbor, Looooove the videos! GENIUS!â he briefly wondered why she didnât knock on the front door and tell him face-to-face what she thought. he quickly forgot all about that as he noticed not only more comments, but more people leaving them.
It happened when he had been recording himself for almost a year, a year in which he amassed hundreds of thousands of fans, and millions of views of The Show. Everyday there were hundreds of nw comments, hundreds of people watching him, talking about him. It wouldnât be long before this buzz became something bigger, before his budding popularity spilled over into the mainstream. It was during this contemplation that he stopped using the words âgoing to beâ. It had finally happened.
He was famous.
She woke up after only a few hours of sleep, as usual, and went straight to her computer, equally as usual. She quickly open a program that connected her to the internet and logged onto to the same website she had logged out of only four hours ago. She watched a video, and laughed to herself as the guy on the screen went through a witty, yet belligerent tirade on plus-sized models. Then she began her dayâs work.
Her fingers flew across the board less like a skilled typist and more like an experienced musician tuning her instrument… What she was doing was art. Over the months she had developed a routine, the only thing that recently took up time was making the accounts. The site that contained The Show required a few bits of personal information in order to create a user account, name, location, and email address. This meant that each new account require the creation of a new email address.
Making the user accounts occupied her for the first four or five hours each day. She used to come up with clever names but now just used random words and numbers, the names weren’t really important. What she did for the other ten to fifteen hours was the real work. With short pauses for the intake and output of food she spent her days, and nights, leaving hundreds and thousands comments on videos under myriad pseudonyms, Over the past six, maybe even eight months, she had created thousands of fans of the show. more accurately, she had been thousands of fans of the show.
She sat back from her computer, giving her fingers a rest, and thought about her handiwork. There he sat, on the other side of the wall from her, her neighbor, probably making a video, as she sat here, making him. She had not only built a faux fanbase but has single handedly fabricated a celebrity. This was going to be big, really big. She was going to be famous.