Run Away Success
Updated: Feb 22
By Matt Gordon
Who hasn’t heard of the latest bestseller these days?
And yes, my most recent book is a bestseller.
At the time of this writing, it ranks in the top 50 (thousand) of all books sold on Amazon! That’s right! Top 50 (thousand)! Pretty impressive. To put that into perspective, my other book—oh, yes, of course you knew about that laugh-a-second tome—ranks at number 2,223,333, which makes being top-50 (thousand) all the more impressive.
That means, if sales are any indicators, I’m something like 44 times better as an author than I once was.
But if you think all this success has gone to my head, well, you are wrong. It has also gone to my body and soul. Even my manner of dress has changed. It used to be sweats and a hoodie for me—that was the behavior of a middling humorist, ranked in the two-millions. Now that I have a top 50 (thousand) faith book, I need to dress for the success I’ve become. Some of my shirts have buttons; my pants, a dainty zipper. And even when I forget to close this little zipper, no one corrects me. Probably on account of me being a bestselling author and all.
Plus, even if the riffraff wanted to meddle, I’d be unavailable to them, as now I spend a fair bit of time with the phone to my ear. There are calls to make, publicists to connect with, deals to broker, advances to negotiate. None of this is actually happening, but I keep my phone right there at my ear, at-the-ready, manifesting the fanfare that is surely coming my way.
Manifesting an extremely wealthy destiny is how I spend a good deal of time these days.
Sure, people still talk to me—when I let them. It is important to occasionally hear from the rabble. They’ll say things like, “I typed in your book and it didn’t come up in the search results” or “Why is your book so bad?” or “When do you think it might get a lot cheaper?” To these peons I offer an autograph to shut them up. They say they don’t want an autograph, but I sign anyway—their outstretched hand, their coffee cup . . . whatever is before me. I signed one guy’s Bible at a church. He said it was sacrilegious. I wasn’t so sure, so I typed into Amazon “Bible sales ranking” to see if he was right. Matthew McConaughey’s
Greenlights came up, which, if you ask me, is the true sacrilege. I went ahead and ordered a copy of it in case Matthew ever wants to do an author collab or something at some point. I then put the phone down to tell the Bible guy my findings, but he had already left with his family. Poor, lonely soul.
I often worried what unmitigated success might do to me. That is a big reason I chose not to become a professional athlete or famous actor. Despite my persistent efforts at mediocrity, now I’m finding out anyway: Truly, it is lonely at the top. My friend(s) is coming around far less than he used to. I wish he’d come back. Last time he was over I made him take a bunch of headshots (and some body ones too) of me in case someone invites me on a book tour or needs images for a Broadway show of my life they are trying to throw together. He took them all on his phone, and I’d really like to get those over to Walgreens pronto. If you see him could you tell him I’m looking for him/his phone?
My family, too, has kept their distance. Part of this might be because I moved down to a writer’s chalet that was formerly our basement. I sleep down there and work down there; it is where I take my meals. I filled it with muses—the things that spur my creativity on . . . my process, as we artists call it. Yes, down in my cozy chalet I have my video games and a TV. I spend a lot of time with these, letting the creativity marinate. I allow my family down to my quarters . . . on Sundays. If they are quiet. They are allowed to watch my process—I feel their faces watching my own face watch football, and it fills me with joy knowing that I am passing down an artistic tradition to the next generation. They lack discipline, though, and tend to leave after a half-hour or so. Sometimes I stay in that state for literal days, breaking from the soft glow of the television solely to use the bathroom and check the Amazon listing for any upward progress on the old sales rankings.
My wife has tried to coax me to my former life. But she just doesn’t get it—you can’t until you experience the transformation that I have gone through. Many delusional people think that riches and fame won’t change them. I probably once thought the same. But now I know the other side. I sit and think about all the money and accolades that are surely on their way to my future mansion right now, and I can’t help but know how very special I am. Chosen by the cosmos for top-50 (thousand) greatness. I try to fight the present pride at a promised future, yet I cannot contain it.
All I can do is turn on the TV and, basking in its soft glow, keep chasing greatness.