Sometimes, when I have nothing to do but park myself in a bar and stare at pretty waitresses, my mind wanders. Sometimes I'll reflect on something really mundane, like how it's starting to finally warm up and maybe I'll be able to put the battery back in the motorcycle soon. Sometimes, I'll go nasty and wonder what the waitress would say if I told her she had a nice %#&@$! and then asked if I could stick my face in it. (For the record, I would never actually say anything like that. I'm way too %#&@$!in' polite for all that.)
Still, my mind often wanders to my stage managing work, my books and the 19 billion other little things going on in my life. Today, I find myself wondering how many people would actually be celebrities if you couldn't trade in your dignity to get there.
I'm not talking about some actor playing bit parts-- like a John Leguizamo, who starts off playing a junkie in one movie and years later can spearhead entire projects sheerly on the strength of undeniable talent. I'm talking about these car wrecks on reality TV, people whose job it is to embarrass themselves and make thinking people cringe.
Do you know what the real problem with reality TV is? It's that the people chosen for these shows are clearly unbalanced. Face it, if seven, normal people were moved into a house together would there be the hysteria that comes with a regular episode of Real World? I doubt it. Hell, the worst thing I would say to someone would probably be, "Hey Bro, it's your turn to do the dishes." A reasonable person would then say, "Oh snap, SVP! My bad." End of scene. See? How hard was that?
Unfortunately, that wouldn't be good TV. The real problem arises when the very young and the less intelligent watch this stuff and can't somehow separate the dysfunction on the screen from their own lives. It's like the well off suburban kid who listens to a hardcore rap album and then decides it's OK to talk to his parents any kind of way. He starts dressing like he just fell off a truck and adopts several other odd attitudes. Why? Well, in the spoiled kid's mind, there's no taking into account that the rapper he's listening to has been through some things that the spoiled kid with both parents in the home, gainfully employed and making at least half an effort to maintain a happy marriage, won't. And all with the private school tuition that magically appears every month and a new car he gets at the age of sixteen while maintaining a cool C average.
Somehow, this kid, (and this kid I'm describing could be of any ethnicity, don't get it twisted) begins to imagine he can relate to a street poet who is mentally trapped somewhere between being a profound social critic and a sociopath after seeing and doing all manner of hellish things in some housing project. And so, he begins to act out. That is until someone, the cops most likely, or maybe just someone bigger, whips this boy's %#&@$!.
You see what I'm saying?
You know what got me started on this? A much younger co-worker recently had a bad incident with a young lady in a nightclub and complained about it to me today. This person apparently shoved my co-worker and his friends, cursed him out along with several other innocent bystanders, and continued to harass him until a bouncer got involved. And this is a nice kid, the kind that normally wouldn't say %#&@$! if he had a mouth full of it. All I could think was that this incident clearly didn't happen in Brooklyn, because had that been the case, someone would have snatched this Snookiee wanna-be up and she would have woke up in the hospital. Or not woke up.
Now, I'm not trying to generalize against everyone under the age of 30. I'm sure plenty of you go to bars, sit down and drink, and manage to have a good time without offending anyone or ruining the evening of everyone within a mile radius of you. However, to say there needs to be more of you would be a gross understatement. In fact, I'd say that as far as some in the under 30 crowd goes, rude is the new black (clothing- calm down). And I could almost understand it, if they were drinking something strong. But they're nursing Coronas half the time! Seriously? Two Coronas and you turn into Kanye at the VMAs? C'mon!! My crew of hearty drinkers have already had to get into a few people's faces... and we don't even get down like that.
Look, I don't watch any of that reality stuff. Give me a good episode of The Boondocks, Law and Order SVU, Sons of Anarchy or even (gasp) THE NEWS. I thought Flava Of Love was ridiculous, and I wince as if slapped when someone even mentions any of those Real Housewives shows or Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But if that's your thing, cool. I'm not judging. I won't be watching TV with you, but I'm not judging. Really.
Here is the thing I'll leave you with; I like Batman. Not the Adam West Batman. The Christian Bale, break your nose, drive a armored car up your %#&@$! Batman. But I'm not trying to be him, (even though a couple of ex-girlfriends might disagree). The point is, we need to learn how to separate the bull%#&@$! we see on TV from who we are and how dignified people, black, white and whatever, are supposed to act and carry themselves in a civilized society. In other words, aspire to be better than the %#&@$!s on reality TV, not the same and certainly not worse.
So here I sit, haunted by a story, drinking a shot and a beer and enjoying a jiggling waitress. And while all that's going on, I find time to wonder where are we headed with all of our collective craziness. What can I say? I know how to multi-task.
SVP The Dark Humor Man.