At the earlier part of the week I was struck by both the NBA championships and the Senate hearings on Jeff Sessions. Yesterday in Alexandria brought a whole new dimension to this saga we call life. Celebrities in oh so many ways. Some for better. Some for worse. We hold ourselves and our heroes to scrutiny, demanding, catcalling, praising and adulating. We are all bit players.
I am not a close follower of the NBA but for some reason these finals intrigued me. The Cavs and the Warriors were beyond talented and featured two superstars in LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Both played their hearts out but with different personas. Durant more of a quiet giant going about his business and Le Bron, the scowling chest pumping gladiator urging his team on. As I watched I wondered what drove them? Was it the winning or the limelight ?
Pan over to Capitol Hill. The Dems were licking their chops and the Republicans were building their defenses. The object was to discover the truth whatever that is. Was this just Kabuki theater or was there going to be a reasoned inquiry and objective conclusion? Then the press briefings with the combatants standing in lockstep before the dais with the lead singer flanked by the chorus behind saying, “Amen brother or sister.” More vaudeville than drama but theatrics nonetheless.
Where does this desire for notoriety come from? Is it just them or all of us? I will espouse that from birth we are taught to act out and please. Our parents compare us to other kids and tout our talents. “That’s my boy or girl” as they beam with pride and high five any one around. As a consequence it feels good to be the object of praise so we strut our stuff more and more.
Whether it is in the classroom, sports field or dance floor there are winners and losers. We constantly compare ourselves to one another. We get up in the morning and look in the mirror and decide whether or not we are looking good or there is a giant zit in the middle of our forehead and it will set the tone for our day. How does my golf swing look or does my house or car reflect my success in life? We are thespians in everything we do.
The distinction must be drawn between ego and pride. The latter is a feeling of pleasure and accomplishment. You worked your ass off and done good. You can look back and revel in that fact and you feel at ease even if you were not the eventual winner. Durant and James had to feel they left nothing in the bag. Defeat hurts but pride is the salve for that wound.
Ego is a little different. It says there is no one like me. I am the greatest and you better believe it and heap huzzahs and hosannas on me. The cheers and great press become addictive and you do not rest unless you have more and more of it. It is said pride gives a swollen heart and ego gives a swollen head.
Celebrities live this life 24/7. Ironically movie and rock stars crave their privacy while trying to please the fan base. Politicians demand respect and you have to pay to get their attention. High ranking execs constantly ask, “Do you know who I am?” whether in public or private. The true oxymoron is that these snits and petulance bespeak a whole lot of insecurity. I don’t feel too strong about me, ergo I am going to rag on you to make me feel better. Classic.
The tragedy is when we go beyond simple childishness and the game turns deadly. A guy doesn’t like Trump and that transfers to all Republicans. His mind is fed by vitriol and has the right to correct the wrongs of the world. It is not ideology but the sign of a very sick person. I would hold that as we see more and more of this lunacy people feel more brazen and think this is part of the mainstream of life. News reports and breathless ‘breaking coverage” makes the sicko giddy with the prospect of fame.
Throughout the theater of life some play as comedies and others as tragedies. The danger is not so much in outcomes but that we don’t feel we are part of the cast. We look on with disinterest or numbness as the killing of 4 or 5 at a UPS depot feels so far away. Today it was on page 10 and not even an article but a small insert in News of The Day. We laugh and chuckle at the comedienne carrying the severed head of the Donald. Not a fan of either but it is not funny.
The bottom line is the world is a stage. At times we are stars, other times the director and others the spectators. The roles are interchangeable but each one carries its own gravitas. It is not on tape or digital photos. It’s all live and exciting to be a part of. We should not overplay our role but rather be part of the company. Share the applause and correct the bad reviews. The show is never ending and must go on. The curtain is rising. Break a leg!
Ted The Great
None to speak of.