01/15/2008 03:12 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How I Got Lucky Massaging Google

I never wanted to be famous. I have always tried to hide in the shadows and not be noticed. So, of course, I appeared on international television. That was brilliant! Now people are calling me and telling me they saw me on the news. They're amazed and think it's really cool. My kids are just shaking their heads and laughing. So far, no stranger has recognized me on the street. I imagine sometimes that a person in a store or at the airport is staring at me, but it's probably not true. Maybe I just have a bug in my hair.

I'm comfortable with the controlled environment of a book signing or speaking engagement. People you've never met say wonderful things to you: "Your story is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing it;" "you're cute;" stuff you want to hear. But at a public event, you get to say something back. It's weird, though, to know that people in countries where I've never set foot are reading about my life and thinking about my situation -- even for a brief moment. I don't know who they are and I can't think about them back. It seems unfair.

I guess I should have thought about all of this before I wrote my memoir, Giigle. It's like when I agreed to go to Africa and then on the plane realized I would probably see scary animals. I never take time to play the whole scenario out. But I have always lived my life this way. If you stand on the cliff and calculate the water temperature, you'll never jump.

Actually, I'm having a lot of fun. If you have to live as many years as a deck of cards, surely you should have something to share that will benefit others on their journey. I am learning that my story is making people happy. It is encouraging them to never give up. And it's creating a lot of laughter. That's the best medicine for all that ails us. All of us. Even the people I can't see.

The best thing that has happened to me so far was when an old gentleman approached me after I spoke at an awards luncheon and told me I had "gumption." It was great because I had just watched the movie The Holiday, where Eli Wallach told Kate Winslet about women who had gumption. Then, by the end of the movie, she realized she really had it. I admired her discovery and now I am told by a perfect stranger that I have gumption. What a fabulous compliment. Thank you, whoever you are!

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