Fame Is Fleeting, So Write a Christmas Song
It's a bit premature to consign "Saturday Night Live" comedian Adam Sandler to the dustbin of history, although most of my readers would have a tough time naming three of his movies (OK, I'll give you "Happy Gilmore" as a freebie). But as long as people have a sense of irony -- and until someone else writes a better song in celebration of the Jewish holiday -- Sandler's Hanukkah song will guarantee him a place among the immortals.
Jean Shepherd was a radio storyteller and humorist whose fans once numbered in the millions. So was Paul Harvey. Which one do you remember? Shepherd, because the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story" is based on his childhood recollections of growing up in Indiana in the 1940s, and because he narrated the film.
Speaking of "A Christmas Story," can you name a single actor in the movie without looking the name up online? If so, can you name one other film or TV show in which that actor appeared? (I can: Darren McGavin, who played Ralphie's father, was the title character in the 1960s horror television series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." That's about it.)
So what's the profound lesson? Simply this: When all of these actors, comedians and musicians recorded or filmed their throwaway Christmas hit, it's likely none of them suspected that it would be the only thing anyone would remember them for 50 years later. How many great performers of the past are remembered today only for that one Christmas song standing between them and total oblivion?
You can't predict what people will remember you for. In a lifetime of working with thousands of entrepreneurs, writing 16 books and hosting a successful PBS television series, the only thing people will probably remember about me years from now is my "How to Sell Anything to Anybody" video on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNe7hUAkx4M).
What I really have to do is write a Christmas song, or even better, a song about Chrismukkah. Nobody's done that yet.
A very happy holiday season to all my readers.
Cliff Ennico (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS television series "Money Hunt." This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our webpage at www.creators.com.