There are too many thriving off the thrills of anything attached, no matter how loosely, to celebrities. I know too many people who know someone who knew a kid who dated someone famous.
When some hear that I attended the nearby Pleasant Grove High School, their eyes are usually filled with a look of reminiscence, and they ask, “Do you know that kid who won Survivor, Todd Herzog?” The answer is no; I do not know him. I know people that know both him and his family. I hear they’re nice. I’m not sure that it would be beneficial to either the conversation or to my well being had I replied “yes.” I’m sure it would return nothing more than a “cool.”
Concerning members of The Used, yes, I went to school with Quinn. I vaguely knew him. I’m sure this is intriguing so that they can tell friends, “I have a friend who went to school with Quinn from The Used.” To which that friend will reply, “Cool.”
My brother Matt recently sent me pictures of two houses. The first, a house inhabited by the sister of Laurence Maroney, running back for the New England Patriots. The second, a house that Cedric the Entertainer used to live in. There’s no need to search deeply for the purpose of the pictures because, of course, there wasn’t one.
I was perplexed, wondering why anyone would be in awe after seeing a house inhabited by the sibling of an NFL player. Or the former house of a comedian. Of course, I didn’t feel the urge to reply to the pictures. He would not get a “cool” from me. Matt sent me the pictures in the summer while he was living in St. Louis, doing what many were suckered into doing: selling security systems. How emotionally vapid must this “profession” be in order to transform a glimpse of celebrity into the apparent highlight of a person’s day? I doubt I was the only unsuspecting recipient of the pictures, which are entirely free from any glitz worthy of an MTV Cribs episode.
The infatuation with celebrities has gone too far. Nevertheless, it occupies the minds of many — and often — and will likely remain that way. There are instances in which the infatuation has been used for some good. A few months ago the AP reported that Bill Cosby decided to put three of his sweaters worn on “The Cosby Show” up for sale on eBay. The minimum bid was set at $5,000, with all proceeds earmarked for a nonprofit organization that benefits educational programs. It’s named in honor of Cosby’s only son, who was murdered in 1997.
So the next time someone tries to use me as a variable in a close-to-celebrity formula, maybe I’ll oblige them with the “yes” they crave. It may not make the difference that Cosby is making, but at least it will elicit a “cool.”