For those of us who are not fabulously wealthy or world renowned, we all sometimes have little secret fantasies and longings of what it would actually be like to not have any worries about paying the bills on time or getting preferential treatment when we go out in society or having simple folks shout out our names in adulation every time we’re in public. We would reside in huge mansions, take extended holidays on mega-yachts, fly by helicopter to the grocery store and generally be pampered constantly with luxuries and opulence. Our fame would have us recognized by all, adoringly worshiped as modern legends as we step out into the world everyday to do our exceptional tasks and engagements. But are we REALLY stupid and foolish enough to want to be rich and famous? Lets explore that little avenue. Say you’re granted your wish and win the lottery of one billion dollars, and your recording of your song just hit the pinnacle of being number one for the last two years, and you just won the Oscar for being the best actor of all time. You are now officially rich and famous.
Let’s look at our being mega-wealthy first. You now buy a huge mansion in an exclusive neighborhood where you can put all your “stuff” and socialize with the other celebrities and mega-wealthy. You know, all the cool things you gathered, or were given as presents, and collected when you were just plain old poor folk. Now, none of that will fit the décor of you’re new lifestyle. All the crayon drawings proudly done by your kids; the horribly ugly vase grandma saved her pension money to buy for you on your wedding day; the sofa you have sat on for the past ten years with your family as they grew up; your bed that you scrimped and saved for, and have spent years sleeping in and expressing love; the non-descriptive car that has never left you stranded anywhere and you meticulously washed every weekend. All that must go now, or be hidden away out of view. So you now get to buy all new stuff that will conform to your new house and lifestyle. Big house equals a lot of furniture and art shopping, and other critical decisions. But all must be tasteful and trendy. You can have anything you want at this juncture, not just what you could formerly afford. Now the list of possibilities is endless therefore the decisions suddenly become more and more demanding. And you have rooms and rooms and rooms to fill. And then, when the vendors know you’re a mega-wealthy type, the normal prices will suddenly jump sky-high because they know you can afford it. So now you can’t even enjoy shopping anymore and will have to have a staff member do it for you, to avoid getting shafted just because your rich and famous.
Now we have to hire the staff to run our new massive household. We are wealthy now so we don’t cook, clean or drive ourselves any more. That would be tacky and horrid because the neighbors and media would be scandalized. We have an image to maintain so we’re not laughed at for being rubes. Maids, cooks, chauffer’s, personal secretaries and…security guards. Yep! Now that we’re rich and famous, we have concerns for our loved ones health, safety and security. If you have lots of money, some criminal body with foul motives will surely want it. So our family must now be under 24 hour watch to avoid kidnapping, or theft, or assault, or attack. You’re rich and famous now, so some people will despise you just because you’re successful; or worse yet, somebody will become so enamored with you they harass you all the time with forlorn love and affection…the dreaded stalker. Your privacy suddenly is paramount. Your movements, your family movements, your private habits; all are subjects of interest to somebody so your house and personal staff have to be vetted and investigated properly. They have to be highly paid to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, obedient, friendly, kind, courteous and willing not to steal from you or divulge your toilet habits to the media for money. Every day, every minute, every move, every decision, every comment you make is now critical to someone’s welfare. And the whole operation is an endless, ravenous money pit.
Your fame is wonderful, but you can no longer go anywhere without being mobbed. You are always on display now and every movement or word you speak must be perfectly in accord with your image. No more public movie theater trips, no drama free meals at restaurants, no more trips to simply get a quiet coffee at Starbucks. Somebody is always thrusting an autograph book in your hands or a cell phone in your face for a Selfie. People want you to hold their child or dog, or put your arm around Granny, for a photo. They don’t realize they are the hundredth person today who has asked you for the same thing. If you are with your kids, they do not have all of your attention and they are constantly bombarded simply being with you. Their quiet trips are always ruined having to share you with the world all the time, when all they want is some time with you alone to bond and share what they’ve done for your approval.
You have strived hard to get there but now some people are jealous of all your adulation. That is the nature of humans. Also you have to be constantly aware that there is a fine line between fame and infamy. One can morph into the other very easily so you’re always walking on eggshells. The media is constantly pressing your friends and family and staff for scoops of information about you. The more demeaning the better. The media is not interested in you personally, they are interested in using you to sell their articles or magazines. Yes, you are rich and famous, but to them you are still just a piece of meat to display and exploit so they can be rich and famous too. Photographers and journalists and writers and bloggers and critics and other leeches are tuned into every aspect of your existence now. When you step out in your yard to play a game with your kids, paparazzi is skulking out side the gates in the bushes with a camera and telescopic lenses trying to catch you in a compromising pose or embarrassing situation. Everything you wear, everything your family wears, everything you drink, smoke, eat or breathe is captured on film, and plastered on the websites and papers and magazines, with any headline they want to attach to it. If you fight back and attack them for it, they will retaliate and began a smear campaign against you, and yours. You are now their dancing bear, and you will do it to their tunes.
If you are famous but poor, the rules change a little but not much. If you are rich but not famous, the rules change a little but not much. Because both go hand in hand like a recurring benign cancer. Eventually and casually merging. You must live with it and care for it, or it will become malignant and then eat you and your loved one’s alive. If you are poor and become rich, then lose it, you will revert to the person you were before with little damage hopefully. But if you’re rich, then lose it all to become poor; it’s an adjustment most of those people can’t abide, and they dwindle into chaos. Conversely, fame is a like drug and can become highly addictive no matter who you are. You get it, and will always want more until it becomes as overbearing as any addiction. Then when you lose it, you become pitiful and pathetic striving to get it back again. Oscar Wilde was once quoted ”There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” He should have craved privacy because he was eventually imprisoned for homosexuality when it was illegal in E
So, the next time you see a photo of, or listen to a recording of your most revered, rich and famous celebrity, you may want to feel some empathy for them. They are truly walking a desolate and troubled path. And I truly wish them well on it…for as long as it lasts.
But always be very careful what you wish for. You just might get it. And there is no such thing as an easy life.