"Bein' me isn't as hard as it used to be." - Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)
I watched the Oscars this year, which is weird for me. Mitch and I were having dinner at his folks's house, the living room dismantled, towers of cardboard boxes and Rubbermade tubs crowding the perimeter.
I've never been into the celebrity thing. It's hard for me to care. The obsession with it, stories of various marriages and break ups and weight gain ranking as high in America's general consciousness as wars and economic crisis, has sort of mystified me in the past. But now I think I get it.
The thing about being a celebrity is that you're a regular person only you're a celebrity. Of course there are those celebs that are unobtainably good-looking, god-like in their combination of hair, jaw line, and particularly gifted plastic surgeon. (Listen to me - so cynical. You'd like me in real life, I swear.) But a lot of them are sort of average in everything but their fame.
Donald Glover's (actor on "Community", writer for "30 Rock", etc.) new hip hop album (Camp) talks about the difference between before he became famous and after -- "gettin' time of day from a model is new to me." The allure of celebrity is the thought that I wouldn't have to change, but everybody's attitude towards me would.
Kevin Bacon was on the podcast "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me." He talked about how he had a disguise made that hid his identity so well, that he could go out and not be recognized. He said he stopped wearing it. "People stopped letting me cut in lines and stuff." The potential of getting harassed and not being able to live a "normal" life was out-weighed by the benefit of getting attention from everyone and making everyone's day.
There's this homeless guy who sits in his wheelchair in the same spot at around the same time everyday. It's between my work and my gym, and when I come back from working out, I make sure that I walk on the opposite side of the street. He holds a big gulp cup and rattles change up and down in it. Sometimes he yells at people -- "I'm hungry!" "Why don't you help me!"
It's weird to think that if I came out with a successful album, made a reality TV show appearance, or if everybody, even for no reason, knew who I was, my life could be drastically different. And also that if, without any personal change to himself, everybody saw that homeless man differently his life might be a lot better. Folks might keep to his side of the street, at least.
It's weird to think that the difficulty in "being me" might have so little to do with who I am anyway.