Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday's Words for March 23, 2011

It will come as no surprise to any of you that there are many things in life I simply don’t understand.

In the last few weeks, the news media has been full of stories about over-paid celebrities acting like spoiled children, about rock stars dying from drug overdoses and irresponsible and unprofessional behaviour by some adults we consider to be entertainers.

I don’t understand why some people work so diligently to get themselves to a place of success and then turn around and do their damnedest to throw it all into the dumpster.

The part of this that’s scary is that this sort of self-sabotaging behaviour is not just a by-product of celebrity.

I grew up without a father, and my mother was a nurse. Nurses in those days didn’t make a lot of money. I knew at an early age, that if I wanted to go to university, I would have to work to put myself through school, or get a scholarship.

When I was about fourteen, a new house was built two doors down from us in our rural community by a man who ran a very successful business. This family was, to put it mildly, very well off.

The children were a fair bit younger than I but it was a small neighbourhood. I spent some time over at their house, and actually sometimes got to babysit when the parents went out.

These kids had stuff I could only dream of having, but they didn’t particularly seem to treasure their possessions. That didn’t bother me all that much, I just remember thinking it was very strange.

What did bother me was that their parents were willing to foot the bill for university, big time—tuition, rental of an apartment, a car to drive, money to spend...but not one of those kids took them up on the offer. Not one of the four of them could be bothered to go to university.

I’ve seen this sort of thing time and again, some people being offered opportunities and benefits that others would cherish, and either these people don’t want the opportunity, or they don’t respect it, or they do their best to mess it all up.

In just the last month, we’ve seen unbelievable behaviour from an actor whose name I will not mention, another musician was found dead of a suspected drug overdose, and yet another revealed that missed concert dates in the past was a result of his drug abuse. A female singer/actress is currently before the courts, certainly facing jail time, for numerous offenses including breach of probation and theft.

Just this week another musician trashed the back stage area of a nationally televised morning show because the interviewer asked him questions about that pesky assault he committed against a former girlfriend while she still was his girlfriend, instead of stroking his ego by talking about his new album.

You see, I just don’t get it. I’m an author, and my books sell pretty well, but I’m not rich, I’m not a celebrity or anything. Do I want to be? I wouldn’t turn it down. No, I wouldn’t turn it down for one second.

And I sure wouldn’t do my best to screw it up, either.

So what’s the problem with these people? Too much money, not enough sense? Not enough intelligence so that they actually believe their own press? They pay their entourages to treat them like they’re above us all, and then they believe that they are?

I’m not sure what the cause of this problem really is, anymore than I know how to cure it. But one thing I do know is this: the spotlight shining on their misbehaviour, the attention paid to them in the media and on social networks, and our avid gobbling up of this kind of gossip in the tabloids can only exacerbate the situation.


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