When I returned to Milwaukee on Saturday, I found a message in my mailbox: Call Melissa at InTheNews about your article. Call her right away. I've been in the media for my vocation story, this blog, and a few other things related to my choice to be here. Specifically, she was talking about this story that was printed the week after Christmas. And like many other inquiries, I assumed she was following up my story for another one.
What I didn't realize is that InTheNews, Inc. is actually a company that mounts and displays newspaper articles for business, restaurants, and people who want to immortalize their newspaper fame for all to see. This call was not about my vocation or about Capuchin life; this was a sales call.
After being on hold for a minute and listening to their nice background music, I quickly understood what was going on. Melissa told me how wonderful my article was, and how she worked with other people in the Grand Rapids area. She told me how I could get my article framed and into a plague for only $199. They would even do the work first, and if I didn't like it, I could return it and not pay anything. What a deal!
As nicely as I could, I told her she mustn't have read the article, otherwise she would have seen the key words poverty and humility. I said that neither I nor the Order had $199 to spend on a plaque, and that I have no need to show off my story (I didn't tell her I had my own blog for that!).
I have a talk at Marquette University next week, and Dick Gordon's The Story has asked for another interview before I leave for Novitiate in May. Part of my media attention comes from being a salesman, and knowing who I need to talk to in order to get a message across. But as I've told many people before, the highlight of my interviews and talks is not really about me. I've come to realize that people are genuinely inspired by what I am doing, and by the spirit that has moved me to change my life. By approaching media attention from this angle, I feel more like a witness than I do a celebrity.
Then again, by the time I finish this entire process, I'll have enough material for a complete screenplay about my life and conversion. If you're reading my blog, Martin Scorcese, I got something you need to read!