And Billy traveled in time to the zoo on Tralfamadore. He was forty-four years old, on display under a geodesic dome. He was reclining on the lounge chair which had been his cradle during his trip through space. He was naked. The Tralfamadorians were interested in his body--all of it. There were thousands of them outside, holding up their little hands so that their eyes could see him. Billy had been on Tralfamadore for six Earthling months now. He was used to the crowd.
Escape was out of the question. The atmosphere outside the dome was cyanide, and Earth was 446,120,000,000,000,000 miles away.
Billy is used to being the center of attention in the Tralfamadorian zoo. There he sits in his lounge chair, naked--like a chimpanzee or giraffe. I can imagine the plaque on the geodesic dome: "Earthling male, 44-years-old, in natural habitat." All the Tralfamadorians snapping selfies.
It's a strange thing, being the center of attention. Some people really enjoy it. In this age of social media, everybody's looking to be the next viral sensation. I suppose I sort of buy into it, as well. I write a daily blog. I post things on Facebook. Poems. Essays. I'm just like Billy. Standing in front of you all naked, displaying all my insecurities and longcomings. (I am not going to use the word "shortcomings" in that sentence.)
I'm not sure that I do this for people to necessarily pay attention to me. I like it when I know that people read and like what I write, but attention is not my primary goal. The work is. I love putting together words, trying to create something elegant or moving or beautiful. Stuff that I would want to read. That's why I do it.
Now, if something that I write or say or post goes viral, I wouldn't have a problem with it. If Jimmy Fallon suddenly wants to fly me out to New York as a guest, I wouldn't turn him down. I am not opposed to celebrity and its attendant perks. Money. Backstage passes. Vacations to places tropical. Yes, I know there are downsides to fame. However, I am willing to put up with the inconveniences for a little while. Until I have a couple cars, a new house, a vacation home, and the cover of People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue.
Hey, a poet can dream, can't he?
Tonight, however, I send a couple more posts out into the ether. Feel free to pass them along. Post them. Repost them. Share them. I'm looking for a million views by tomorrow morning.
Saint Marty is thankful for his loyal fans this evening. All two of them.