For some of us, we found out in kindergarten, say when we were the goofy pink pig in a school play, holding a large cardboard animal in front of our puffy party dress, wearing a big white bow in our equally puffy hair (later immortalized in photographs we’d see again and again). But there are others, I suppose, who didn’t know until high school or adulthood maybe, when they didn’t get the promotion they wanted or didn’t become famous, or, if they did, it didn’t turn out to be what they’d hoped.
Whenever it happens, we eventually learn: Not everyone can be the star.
And maybe I’ve just known this for so long that I’m justifying, but, here’s my take: It’s not so bad to play a supporting role. In order for anyone to be a star, someone has to be a fan. For every leading lady, there’s a winsome best friend. For every best-selling author, there are publishers and editors and illustrators, not to mention readers—the people who ultimately determine a book’s success. And in that way, we behind-the-scenes types play a pretty important part, don’t you think? I mean, how interesting would a basketball team be if no one watched it? How much would you want to see a movie with only one actor? Heck, how sad would this blog be if no one read it? [You all who do are pretty wonderful, and I’d send each (!) one (!) of you a dozen homemade cookies if I could.]
These rules are so universal, in fact, that they extend even beyond human interaction but to things we do on a routine basis. Things like the way we view food.