: who do you want to be? :

After the crummy year I’ve had so far I’d rather be anyone but me. Anyone except Jonah Lehrer, that is.

Lehrer is the dude who wrote Imagine: How Creativity Works, a book that spent a fair amount of time on the New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller list. He’s written two other books, as well, and a science blog for the New Yorker. Pretty good gigs for a writer who’s only thirty-one, eh?

Did you notice the use of past tense there? Yeah, well, that’s because Imagine is no longer a bestseller, it’s not even on the shelves. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin, pulled it out of stores last week and yanked the e-book off the market. Turns out Imagine wasn’t nonfiction, after all: Lehrer made up some of the Dylan quotes used in his book. Plus, he’d recycyled some of the material on his blog.

heh heh, whoops

Now, no matter how incredibly stoopid and lame that was (and it was, most assuredly, both those things), you’ve got to feel for the guy. He’ll spend the rest of his days kicking himself in the ass, hard; lamenting his once bright and brilliant and glorious future; grieving the loss of those big, fat checks.

Worst of all? He’ll find no one to blame but himself. He’ll look, of course, but his downfall was entirely self-inflicted and that’ll be a burr under his saddle forever. The poor schmuck fell victim to too much demand, not enough supply. So he started making stuff up, simple as that. Understandable, yes, but really dumb.

I wouldn’t give his troubles to a monkey on a rock, as Letterman says, and I wouldn’t be him for all the money in the world. Who would I be, though, if I could be anyone — living or dead, past or present? Well, hmm, give me a minute.

I could go the noble route, I suppose, and choose somebody like Jonas Salk or Clara Barton, maybe. Or adventurous and go with Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong? What about Einstein? Grace Kelly? Mary Cassatt? Lisa Simpson? Dorothy Parker? Meryl Streep? Great choices, all. But, no, none of the above.If I could be anyone in the world, I’d be (drum roll,please) Grace Slick. She’s talented, outspoken, unpredictable, hysterically funny, artistic, unusual, and she’s totally cool with getting old. Besides, I dig Jefferson Airplane.

How about you? Who would you want to be? Why?

Copyright © Publikworks 2012

12 responses to “: who do you want to be? :”

  1. What is the purpose of editors? Is it not to check the writing of the book prior to publication? Did you hear about the guy who writes for Time Magazine? He started his article about guns using the exact same words another writer used for a different publication.
    These things make me sad. So very sad.

    I don’t want to be anyone but me. I’ve worked too darn hard to get myself together. I refuse to leave now. (smile)


    1. I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s been an outbreak of this kind of stuff in the last decade or so. It’s way out of control! What makes someone think they’ll can get away with it — that’s the real puzzler.


  2. Definitely Nikola Tesla. That man was such a hero, creating wireless transmittable electricity and what not decades before anybody even thought of that idea. Also, his mustache was of the gods.


    1. That would’ve been an exciting era to be alive, wouldn’t it? And he did have a great mustache, Jan, you ought to grow one!

      Terrific choice, by the way, thanks for playing along.


  3. Now the thing that i’m suppose to say is “I’d like to be me” but since you’ve asked this question the way you have I think I’d like to be someone fearless…not meaning i’d not be afraid of anything but doing things even if I was scared to do them. Reaching continuously even if things keep moving on to a higher shelf.

    So what i’m saying is I guess i’d be me but fearless….


    1. Hi, emmlaa! I think fearless comes as a result of experience. So just give yourself some time and, before you know it, you’ll be quite daring. Courageous, even.


  4. Well, definitely not the guy you just mentioned that much is for sure.

    Honestly, I’d rather be me than anybody else. I’m just getting used to me and would rather not spend the time getting to know somebody else so intimately again.


    1. Good point, Eric. I’m going to have to think on that one : )


  5. Spider-man. He wears a cool suit, has superhuman strength and a pretty hot girlfriend.


    1. Excellent choice, david, excellent!


  6. Can I be me? My theory is, you can be born Albert Einstein, but if you aren’t going to do everything that he did with his life, then you won’t go down in history. So making your own legacy is most important, living a life you can be proud of. So how you said in the beginning, you’d rather not be you, try to change your perspective. You’re you, and you can make things better if you try. Nice blog btw :)


    1. You certainly can be you, but I still don’t want to be me. Not until this year is over and done with at least. Thanks, anyway.


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