Mega-Minutes Jackpot Auctions Off Unused Fame

In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.  Andy Warhol

Kevin Binkner was stuck.  Working the swing shift at Perrone’s, a 24-hour pizza and sub shop in Whiting, Indiana, the 28-year-old delivery driver knew that his upper management dreams were being undercut by a the one-two punch of sloth and a chronically infected right foot.  So he got creative.

“I figured hell, fifteen minutes of fame—I’m not gonna use them.  I was just thinking maybe somebody’d like to buy ‘em from me,” he said, chuckling beneath a sad smile.  “I put ‘em up on eBay and forgot about it.”  When his mother/roommate heard about it, she laughed.  But that was three months ago, and, says Binkner,  "she's not laughing now."

People from every part of America are putting up their excess “fame minutes” for auction, turning an oddball entrepreneurship to a growing trend.   “The oft-quoted statement that everyone will get fifteen minutes of fame has now been monetized,” US Magazine writer Connie Sestina explained.  “It’s trending big, with a lot of people who’ve thoroughly given up on their aspirations trying to dump their minutes for cash.”  And what was once an anomaly has now become a movement among people whose “fame apex” was reached in the fifth grade.

Individual states will accept donated minutes and the aggregate amounts can be auctioned off for a total of up to five additional years of notoriety, good or bad.  The state claims half the money, and the person who auctions splits the remainder with state schools.  “That way kids win,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry, who claims that he “threw a couple of bids on the table” for some additional fame time himself.

Damien Crogsdale, 17, of Louisville, KY watched his dreamed-of NFL career disintegrate after scorching his arm in the deep fryer at Skyline Chili, where he worked as a cook.  “I was college-bound and that was a real setback,” Crogsdale said.  “I’d planned on 8-10 good years with the Saints, but this derailed my dreams,” he added.  “Now I'm lucky if I can get a few hours every week deep-cleaning the steam table.  I sold all my 15 minutes to a guy in Fresno who wants to be an underwear model.  I wish him luck.”  Crogsdale would not disclose the sum, but said it was “worth my while, and it takes off a lot of pressure.”

Who buys these minutes?  While most buyers have worked hard to remain anonymous, some sellers have announced who bought and for how much.   “Most sellers are people who have big dreams and no means [to achieve them],” said behavioral analyst Tyrone Durkee.  “Buyers tend to be people whose fame was a fluke and who have no talent to extend things beyond the allotted quarter hour,” he said.  “This is where you find your YouTube viral celebrities, reality TV performers, college athletes never picked in a draft, autograph show denizens, and anyone who calls herself a “real housewife” (as opposed to the other kind).”

Photo by Yaad Satkoha

High bidders like one-time rock gods Bret Michaels and Vince Neil have both been known to fork over thousands of dollars once spent on hair extensions for unused fame minutes.  Liza Minelli is rumored to be a Mega-Minutes “high roller,” as is singer Michael Bolton.   Other well-known Mega-Minutes buyers include Taylor Momsen, Rodney King, any of the kids from The Brady Bunch, Sean Young, Danny Bonaduce, Courtney Stodden, any of the cast of American Pie, any of the cast of Dallas, the City of Dallas itself, and Rod Blagojevich.  One of the criteria for being a candidate for a purchase of minutes is being at or near to the level where the ordinary person has to Google your name to know who you are.

So far, the winners in all of this are the people who are so low on the social scale that achieving fame is even less likely than sleeping with Chelsea Handler.

By the end of a furious two-day bidding war between Macon, GA resident Diane Arboletta, and Camille Grammer of Beverly Hills, delivery man Binkner collected $828.00, selling the promise of fame-time to Arboletta.  The young woman has been showing up for American Idol auditions in her city for the past nine seasons.

“I feel like Kevin’s minutes can put me in the top tier,” Arboletta said.  “My version of “Memory” is, like, Mariah level, and I’ve got a full-costume interpretation of “Rock Me Amadeus” ready for Falco Week,” she added.  “Money well-spent;  I hope I can roll over some of the minutes till next season.”


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