Watching the train wreck that is Charlie Sheen (or Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, or any troubled celebrity du jour) reminds me to be grateful that I am not a celebrity. Sure, the job pays well, but the price celebrities pay is just as high. My life has certainly been ones of ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs, mistakes and even bigger mistakes — but these were all lived out in my little fishbowl of friends and family, as opposed to the public eye.
While Sheen is certainly old enough to know better at this point, I do feel terribly for the younger stars that have every exploit, mistake, drunken mishap and inappropriate outfit replayed on TV, in magazines and online over and over. The fact is, most everyone (myself included) was an idiot who acted like a fool during their youth. I can’t even imagine what today’s college kids have to deal with, as my college experience concluded before the internet, Facebook, digital cameras and cell phones were “mainstream” (or even invented).
In fact, Oscar-winning screenwriter for The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin, was quoted in USA Today acknowledging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg:
“I think he’s been an awfully good sport about this. I don’t think anyone would ever want a movie made about something they did when they were 19 years old.”
No kidding. For me, that would be 19, 20, 21 … 32, 33, 34 … even 18, 17, 16, 15 …
I could not imagine having my struggles and challenges — particularly those of my teens and 20s — played out for the public’s entertainment. It must be horrendous to have cameras following you around and microphones shoved in your face for every speeding ticket, breakup, drunken display, etc. — and forget about the major life crises like drug addiction or the death of a loved one. Because the reality is, we’ve ALL been there, hitting our own personal rock bottoms. And it blows. But at least we don’t have to see pictures of our experiences on the cover of every tabloid when we run into the store to buy food.
Even beyond acting like an idiot, just living a normal life would be next to impossible. While back in my younger days, I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup, a “nice” outfit and respectable hair, these days, if I leave the house wearing something other than the clothes that I slept in, I consider it a victory. The paparazzi would have an absolutely field day if they were following me: “Stars Without Makeup!!” and “What Were They Thinking??!”-type columns that are so popular in the gossip and celebrity rags would display my pathetic image each and every week. I don’t care how rich, famous or beautiful you are, that would not be fun. And “What Star Has the Worst Cellulite?”? Thanks, I didn’t need my self-esteem anyway.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, we should cut some celebrities a break and understand that they are dealing with life’s challenges just as we all do — only in a public manner, which may or may not be their choice. And come on, who wouldn’t pull a Britney and attack a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella when it got to be too much? I know I would – only with a baseball bat instead of an umbrella!
Well, that applies to all except for Charlie Sheen. He’s fair game!!