REFLECTED GLORY

According to biblical cosmology, God created a greater light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night. He also created smaller lights which he called the stars. Perhaps we could analogize this hierarchy of lights to the accomplishments of individuals. Despite popular opinion, we are not all created equal. Due to genetics and possibly other forces, some humans bedazzle us by their accomplishments in their fields of endeavor. They are the super novas of their world. The rest of us mere mortals pale in their presence. No matter how hard we try to emulate their brilliance we are destined to fail. We will never become another Einstein, Shakespeare or Isaac Newton. That is just the way the cookie crumbles.

I readily admit that I am a lower echelon scholar (definitely not hot stuff.) This is also true of most of my friends. As a trained observer of behavior I am interested how some react to meeting a truly bright star. If a world renowned dignitary attends a social function people swarm around the person like bees attracted to honey. This phenomenon seems to have a greater purpose than the gathering of information on the part of the fans. Lower ranking persons seem attracted to alpha males or females. This seems to be a legacy of our evolutionary past. Being near a celebrity enhances the status of the non-celebrity who basks in the reflected glory of being in the presence of fame.

What happens after meeting an important person? Undoubtedly the celebrity becomes the frequent object of conversation. For some it becomes a compulsion to talk about their contacts with the rich and famous. They seem to be compelled to let others know that they had been in the presence of greatness. They are the name droppers of society. I will leave it to my readers to speculate upon the motivation for such behavior.

During the course of my life I have met a number of well known people. I once occupied a urinal stall next to the one being used by a Nobel Laureate. Does rubbing elbows with a luminary bestow any special status upon me?  Am I more important because I urinated in close proximity to a famous man? Although some might think so, I do not!  Yet, at times, the lives of the rich and famous stimulate interesting conversation. They are the grist of the name droppers mill. What would they do without them?

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