Almost Famous

A conversation with our gardener about celebrity and podcasts

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From the window of my office, I see our gardener, Rafael, wave for me to join him outside. So, I slide into my flip flops, put on my Dodgers cap, and grab my mask.

“Michael, I heard someone talking about you on a podcast,” Rafael says.

This tracks. Sort of. For one thing, there’s a pair of earbuds dangling around Rafael’s neck. Obviously, he’s a podcast fan. And podcasts are huge these days, so there’s always a chance of my name getting tossed around. Matter of fact, my friend Gina Ippolito co-hosts Knowing is Half the Podcast. The show has been running for five seasons, and while the hosts will never run out of funny shit to say, they are running low on GI Joe cartoons to discuss, so they’ve broadened their podcast to cover ‘80s and ‘90s cartoons. The other week, in an episode about Plastic Man and somebody called The Weed, Gina told listeners to read my novel, Not Safe for Work. Yay! Of course, this raises two questions:

  1. Is Rafael also a hardcore fan of Knowing is Half the Podcast?

  2. Did he take Gina’s advice to buy a copy of Not Safe for Work?

But instead of asking either of those questions I say, “really.”

“Oh yes,” Rafael says. “They were talking about you on Pod Save America. They said, Michael Estrin is a really good guy.”

Well, I am a good guy, I think. And I do volunteer on progressive campaigns. Plus, I’ve been shamelessly promoting my book, so I’m out there (sort of) in the public eye. But I have my doubts about this particular media mention.

Pod Save America? That’s a very popular podcast.”

“Millions of listeners,” Rafael says. “You’re famous.”

“I don’t know about that. Maybe there’s another Michael Estrin.”

Actually there are several people who share my name. One Michael Estrin is a successful software engineer. I know this because, from time to time, I receive job offers meant for him. If I ever learn to code, the world will be my oyster. Another Michael Estrin is a comedian in Tampa, Florida. I find this Michael Estrin problematic because he’s not funny, and that really brings down the Michael Estrin brand.

“I think they were talking about you,” Rafael says. “You’re a famous writer, right?”

“I’m a writer, but I don’t know about famous.”

“Well, you’re… almost famous.”

From Rafael’s lips to the world’s ears. Of course, it’ll take a few more podcast mentions to really breakthrough. But for now, almost famous will do. Then maybe one day, actually famous. And eventually… a golden god.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next Sunday with a new story. Meantime, if this story made you laugh, please consider sharing a laugh with a friend or two. 😎


Also check out my hilarious new novel, NOT SAFE FOR WORK. As one Amazon reviewer recently wrote, “What makes this book extra special is the depth beneath its dark humor.” You hear that people, the book isn’t just funny, it’s DEEP! And also special.