I am a minor celebrity in the great scheme of things. I have a good fan base for my gambling books, some fans have seen me on TV, and as I expand into other areas of writing I hope that fan base grows. But I mean I am “minor” as in completely, utterly minor—almost atom-like, as in I still take the damn garbage out on Mondays and Thursdays.
But I can now understand how real celebrities such as movie stars, sports stars, television stars, big-time writers like John Grisham must have it. There are nuts out there. There are seriously whacked-out people who write you, call you, show up at your house, knock on the hotel room doors where you are staying to invite themselves in.
I have stalkers, for crying out loud. I know many celebrities have stalkers. But they should just be for major celebrities, not the flea-sized kind that I am.
Newspaper articles report stalkers that have been brought to court by some of the real celebrities and almost none of them look really, really weird or even really, really scary.
But I can’t believe that in the past 20 years I have had my share—although I am not quite sure what my share should actually be.
A rabbi from a town near mine dropped by my house several times and asked to come for dinner. I made pleasant excuses the first couple of times. (“Oh, sorry, I had dinner already.” “It’s only two in the afternoon.” “I eat early.”) Finally, not to be offensive, I said, “Look, I eat pork and shellfish every damn night and down them with milk.” Now he just constantly emails me.
I had two women who seemed to always know where I was staying when in Vegas. However they did it, they were always able to take the elevator to my floor (often a floor that was secured), knock on my door (actually ring the bell of these particular rooms) and ask, “Oh, Frank, want some fun?” I would tell them that I was calling security in twenty seconds and they would go away. My wife would ask, “What was that?” I’d say, “Oh, just some fans.” She’d reply, “Oh, yeah, right,” turn over and go to sleep.
I have had several horrendous looking women, more like Morlocks than Eloi, who send me photos of themselves scantily clad, posing seductively, or rather, what they think is seductive. I completely ignore them because showing interest in them—even negative interest—would just encourage them.
I had a woman who would call me to tell me she was staying in Atlantic City in a beautiful suite and she would pay for everything if I joined her. I put my wife on the phone with her. That settled that.
I had one woman who offered me a “world-class *&^%**!!!” (I had never heard of that term before) if I did a favor for her husband. That was awkward. I blanched at the thought and immediately told my wife.
Oh, and men? Oh, yes, men too. “How do you know you don’t want to have sex with a man if you have never tried it?” If I were interested, I’d know it by now.
I did have one dangerous individual who had a severe mental illness called erotomania. This is when a person imagines and believes he or she has an intimate relationship with you. (Remember that woman who kept breaking into David Letterman’s house saying she was married to him when she had never even met him?) It is just the opposite of “Fatal Attraction” often with the same conclusion—the person (in this case, female) wants to harm you because she thinks you belong to her even if you don’t even know her or just know her in passing. That was scary. Thankfully that woman disappeared into the ether.
These crazies aside, I know this; I do enjoy people who have enjoyed my work, in whatever field it might be—teaching, writing, or acting. It is certainly an ego boost.
But these nuts, these fans who are certainly fanatical, are sad people. There is far, far more to a good life than bedding or bothering a person with even a modicum of fame.
Is fame important? No. I am happy taking out the garbage two days a week.