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 Today's Take:  NCR's daily Web column
Each weekday over the course of a week, a member of the NCR staff offers a commentary on one or more topics in the news.  It's our way of introducing you to some of the people carrying out the NCR mission of faith and justice based journalism.

July 10, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 66




global perspective Fame

by Arthur Jones, NCR editor at large

I'm 33 years old (it was a very long time ago), and I'm scurrying along 50th Street in Manhattan toward Park Avenue and the Waldorf-Astoria. I've a lunchtime interview ahead in the Bull & Bear bar. There was probably some grease still on my face from the television studio make-up.

It was early October, 1969, it was cold. I was scampering.

But it certainly was turning into some day for me.

My Forbes magazine cover story on Alaska had created some stir. The editor had written me up in his Sidelines column. A television network had called and asked for the interview. So far, so good.

But what I hadn't anticipated, even thought about, was the response at street level. Yet I was getting one.

As I scurried along, people coming toward me began catching my eye, or offering a flicker of a smile. Or gave a slight nod of the head.

That wasn't the New Yorkers I was used to. Face set, eyes unseeing except for danger signals, plowing single-mindedly on -- that was Manhattan's daytime denizen. On I went.

For another block, across the green, on to the next block, more of the same.

I was starting to get cocky about it. Anticipate it. Be ready with a slight smile.

Damn me, I thought, what a village Manhattan is. You get written up in one magazine, photographed alongside an Inupiat native leader, you make one chatty television appearance, and next thing you know, everyone recognizes you.

Park Avenue. Light red. I stopped. Right along side me, so did Gregory Peck.

Arthur's Daily Ditty
Oliver Goldsmith, the wordsmith of yore,
Had maxims re. fortune and fame, words galore.
Of a young man, quoth he, "his greatest of riches,
Is his absence of wealth" - that's for sure.
I never chased wealth (I'd never had caught it),
And fame never was any lure,
But old age encroaches,
and we all say the same:
"Fame or fortune?" I'll pass
- on fame, sir, alas,
As for fortune: please knock on my door.

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