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Thursday, May 19, 2016

I'll make you famous

My head is kind of all over the place this morning, and for some reason there was a running imaginary convo in the background in my head during my shower that suddenly screeched everything to a halt. Someone had asked me Who's the most famous person you've ever met?

I'm not a celebrity chaser, don't really put stock in getting twitterpated over someone just because they've been somebody, but that was a good question. A few names pop into mind, but they're no big deal because it's not that uncommon around the Branson area to say you've met this or that person, or seen them somewhere. I let my mind wander around all the memories and it finally settled on a big house my family was invited to when I was a very little girl.

His name was Tom Bolack. I had no idea who he was, but he had the creepiest house I ever set foot in, filled with a variety of beautifully taxidermied animals that you don't even see in museums. I looked a black panther in the face, and it looked every bit like it could see me and was about to bite my head off. I walked by a stool made out of an elephant's foot and couldn't believe that foot was bigger than I was. I refused to sit on it. You can read about his mission on his museum page. Despite disability from injury and a difficult life, he strongly believed in the preservation of ecosystems and devoted both his private and political life to conservation. His private collection, said to be one of the largest in the world, is now part of the Bolack Museum of Fish and Wildlife.

There are other articles about Tom sprinkled around the webs.
Tom Bolack: A Modern Johnny Appleseed
Bolack Museum of Fish and Wildlife – Farmington, NM
Bolack, Tommy

People who devote their lives to investing and sharing things they learn have always fascinated me. And that leads me to the truly most famous person I've ever met in my life.

Do you remember when Lucy (Australopithecus) was a big deal? That was decades ago. Lucy was my introduction to the very big world of anthropology and archaeology. That was my passion in college. One of my professors in college was Juris Zarins just before he became world famous, and my top fave out of all my teachers. He arranged for us to meet someone very special coming through town one semester...

I know this is going to sound funny to some of you, because I live in an area where saying you've met the Osmonds or Yakov Smirnoff or Andy Williams is no big deal. I've met Richard Leakey. And not just met him, actually shook the guy's hand and laughed with him about his tie, which was covered in homo habilis skeletons.

I grew up not really paying attention to who's who, where I'm from, the connection network we were part of, mostly because we lived very simply and focused on our own world around us, partly because that's just my nature anyway. I could meet just about anyone on the planet and not be very phased, but sometimes I'll remember every detail about the briefest of meetings for many years because someone impressed me. It's like I can feel their presence or something. They aren't fake and remain positive no matter what's happening. They believe in the missions they're on while we're here on this earth.

It's interesting to note that Tom Bolack lost the use of his legs from a stroke, and Richard Leakey actually lost his legs in a plane crash. When I met them they both still had full use of their legs. These are the kind of people I model on, and that is the right kind of fame to fight for.

Billy the Kid- Fact vs. Myth- One of my favorite movies is Young Guns, supposedly based on a true account, but disproven in the years since it was made. The main tagline from the movie is "I'll make you famous." I've seen so many portrayals of Billy the Kid it's ridiculous (remember, I grew up near there), but I still really like that movie. Billy the Kid is a great example of historians fighting the tide of popular beliefs for the real story.

It's easy to look at fame and be swayed like trees in the wind with stories, especially nowadays with twitter trending. It's easy to read something shocking about someone and jump onto an emotional bandwagon. What's not easy is standing up for truth against a tirade of lies or other people wanting spotlights or pressure to shut the hell up.

I've been exposed to living examples of standing up for truth throughout my life, and turns out I really like that sort of people because I am that sort of person. I like digging for answers, finding gold nuggets of truth and pearls of wisdom. I like fighting for justice and standing up for a cause. I may not have a very big cause to stand up for, but I believe in it and feel it's worth every moment of the time I've put into it, even on bad days when the world turns black and all the friends fade. Oddly enough, it was stuff similar to the Billy the Kid rumor mill that accidentally catapulted me to my own tiny version of 'world fame'. I walk around town and barely a soul turns a head, but a certain group of people all over the world know my name.

This was a writing prompt to fill a little patch of time, and now it's time to head out the door again. You know what's good about this? It wasn't minecraft. The writing bug is back.

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