16 July 2019

A Moment Of Fame And Fortune

In my youth (Yes, I once had that!), a couple of my poems were published in a small magazine.  It was a big deal to me, and I thought it would lead to fame, if not fortune.  Still, I was surprised when a stranger on the street recognized me as “the poet.”  I blushed.  “I’m not the only one,” I demurred.  

“But you’re going to be The One.  You’re going to be famous—and rich.”

He even said something about becoming a millionaire.  “Well, not many people become millionaires from poetry. Or even thousandaires.”  At that point in my life, I wasn’t even a hundredaire.

These days, I am just as surprised as I was then when a total stranger recognizes me.  If anything, I reassure myself that the statute of limitations has run out for anything I did—and I am a different person, literally, from the one I was—in my wayward, footloose days. 

Such concern, however, we’re unwarranted yesterday, as I was spinning along the Rockaway Boardwalk, when a young man pedaled up to me. “I read your blog!”

Turns out, Luca was on the return leg of a ride to Point Lookout.  So was I.  He had a bit further to go, though:  to Jersey City, where he manages Jersey Cycles.  He’s an “alumnus,” if you will, of a few area bike shops I’ve frequented.

Some of those shops have been taken over by Danny’s, a regional chain.  We talked a bit about the business: It’s tougher than most people realize.  And it’s changed in all sorts of ways. It occurred to me later that it might account for his, and my, tastes in bikes—and blogs.  In particular, he mentioned “The Retrogrouch.”

You might say that my encounter with Luca was a momentary brush with fame.  Ironically, he revealed a way I might’ve attained fortune.  One of the shops in which he worked was part of the Metro chain, which became part of Danny’s.  The entrepreneur who started those shops, Luca said, “was all about real estate.  He didn’t care about bikes.”  Hmm...Had I understood that when I had opportunities to open up a bike or book store, I might have retired by now.

Still, I’m glad I didn’t.  Although I wouldn’t mind having more money, I’m not sure about having a fortune.  As for fame—moments of it are fine, at least if the recognition comes from someone as cool as Luca.

No comments:

Post a Comment