Fame can be dangerous; just look at the athletes ruined by it
When I was a kid growing up in Mahopac, N.Y., my father would occasionally gather the family around the kitchen table and ask, "What do you hope for from life?"
This was the early-to-mid 1980s, which means my answer was usually either an Atari 2600, an autographed
"No," Dad would say. "What do you want
The ensuing conversations were usually good ones. We were living in an era when people were encouraged to dream big; when
Ah, the innocence.
Now it's 2009, and while I still crave the Atari 2600, I am seemingly alone in my desire for outdated consoles. These days citizens young and old, short and tall, black and white, Jewish, Gentile, Muslim, Agnostic and Atheistic seek one thing, and one thing only.
Much like the H1N1 virus, the ravenous need for attention seems to spread at the speed of light. From Facebook to MySpace to Twitter to Bebo to Jaiku, millions of Americans are desperate for you to know that, at this very moment, they are removing a greenish beige lint from their bellybutton; that their 11th favorite all-time basketball player is
Fame's hypnotic pull explains the 25 women competing for a fat, balding, talentless
Yet despite the myriad goody bags that accompany certain types of notoriety (
Why, just peruse the sporting world. A week ago, I sat in the balcony of Springfield's Symphony Hall and watched as
About three decades ago, the Jordan who came out of Emsley A. Laney High in Wilmington, N.C., was known to be a good-natured kid with oodles of confidence and equal helpings of decency. Now, approaching 50, he is threatening to come out of retirement to steal more glory. So what happened between the early years and today? Simple -- spotlight-itis. When one is recognized everywhere he goes, the inner-core begins to rot. You no longer see strangers as -- in the immortal words of
The young boxer is surprisingly happy, pursuing the sport he loves, fighting for respect, engrossing himself in the sights and sounds and smells of a dingy side street gym. The famous boxer, well, has anyone watched HBO's
Therein lies the greatest myth -- and trap -- of celebrity. We are conditioned to believe that the famous among us are more exciting ... more beautiful ... more interesting than the average guy.
Heck, just ask 'em.