Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pity the Rich, Famous, and Idle!

     A wise man once said, “The two greatest burdens in life are time and money, and the unhappiest of all mortals are those with an excess of either."  I’d add a third to that:  fame.
     I don’t envy the rich, famous, or idle in the least.  I’d literally die from stress and boredom if I had to live the stereotypical rich, famous, and idle’s shallow, meaningless life.  I’m sure a lot of people would say I could get used to that.  But no, the truth is most sweet, innocent people can’t, at least not happily—just look at lottery winners, Elvis Presley, Princess Di, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Michael Jackson, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Whitney Houston, Phillip Seymour Hoffman—the list goes on and on.  I’m sure they all started out happy enough, but somewhere along the way it got to them.  I’m certain they would all have lived happier lives as unknowns, working common, middle-class jobs, concentrating on family and friends first, perhaps indulging in a hobby or two, and giving selflessly to charities and helping those in need.  Versus life at the top, with no one to trust, feeling torn by all the hangers-on, imprisoned by the damning press and deranged stalkers, alienated by envious or judgmental friends and relatives, ever fearful of betrayal and losing it all, and struggling to contain an over-inflated ego.  As Elizabeth Taylor said, “Fame is just awful.  You lose all your privacy.  There are millions of other jobs—choose any one of them.  No one is forcing you to become a star.”
     Brook Lee is Hawaii’s very own Miss Universe 1997 (sure doesn’t seem that long ago).  She looked cute, innocent, and spoke clear and vibrant—absolutely gorgeous in the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, both well-deserved wins.  A year later, she appeared in some pop news show as a lead-in announcer and looked awkward, ill at ease, and uncomfortable in her own skin, striking unnatural poses as if to say, “I don’t want to do this, it’s not me, they made me do it.”  Her skin’s freshness was gone, there were bags under her eyes, and her All-American charm had seemingly transformed to Hollywood-wannabe-desperate.  I turned to Deanne, my newly wedded wife, and said, “You look better than Miss Universe.”  And I meant it.  After a pause, I shook my head and said, “I hope she’s alright.”  Now I don’t know what caused the obvious one-year turnaround, whether personal, professional, or otherwise, but I suspect the fame of being the supposed Most Beautiful Woman in the World and perhaps Hollywood-type success pressures had a lot to do with it.  I wished her well and still do.  And am I ever glad Deanne never won Miss South-East Asia or Ms. Universe.  Had she done so, I might instead be Mister Brook Lee today.  (Just kidding.) 

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