Just reminiscing about being a big-shot. I had my fifteen minutes of fame—I’m being modest, it was more than that, more like forty-five minutes—ah, let me round it up to an hour with the “nice-to-meet-you’s” thrown in. Let me tell you about it.
In 2005 I received a Doctor of Ministry Degree at the age of seventy. Yes, that was me, Oneta R. Hayes, D.Min. My niece was quite proud of my achievement so she bragged me up to her friends, who invited me to speak to them when I came down their way. That was not that easy since it was seven hundred miles away, but, hey, who can resist a slot as speaker with a nice lunch thrown in. I couldn’t. So we made plans.
I arrived at the right place at the right time; it was easy to remember where and when because that was where the food was served. When I arrived I found that I was not a part of the program; I was the program. Now that was big stuff for me, big shot, VIP! That’s how it came about that I stretched my fifteen minutes of fame to forty-five minutes.
Jean, my niece, had built up their expectations with such flamboyant PR—such and such years as an educator with five years in administration (true, but those five years were as a registrar and I never thought of it as administration, well, I guess it was); such and such years as a Toastmaster’s International speaker (yes, but speeches had to be kept to less than seven minutes); published writer (true, several times. but only in religious magazines and church papers, she made it sound like I belonged on the New York Times Best Seller list); accomplished singer (accomplished? – are you kidding). Then she loudly lauded longer. “Received her doctorate at seventy years of age.” They probably thought, “Dear Me, why did it take that long?” I was too late in thinking that I should have taken my diploma and dissertation to prove Jean’s assertion that I sure enough had a doctor’s degree ‘cause they sure couldn’t tell by looking at me.
Some folks out there might be comfortable with being big-shots because you really are big-shots. But I’m not. So I had to be creative in how I was going to handle my forty-five minutes of being looked over, as they judged whether or not they were getting cheated out of a good three house of television plus they had to prepare a dish, get all gussied up, and use $1.80 worth of gas to get there.
With all that in mind, I hear Jean, “Now here she is, Dr. Oneta Hayes!” And I’m on with a rousing tune, “Hey look me over, hey lend an ear. . And after all the hoopla, Oneta Hayes is here.” Sure enough, it worked! I had their attention; I might also have shown that she exaggerated somewhat when she said I was an “accomplished” singer.
We had a good time. After all, I am a pretty good egg, coming from my momma and daddy. But an egg has no life of it’s own. It has to be warmed; and life for me has to be warmed by the Holy Spirit. That happened and we had a terrific time. And I didn’t go that much over time.
And I found that Guest Speaker is pretty much fun, especially since I experienced something I had never experienced before. “What was that?” you ask. Guess? I got to be first in line at the buffet table!