My wife showed me a photograph of an attractive model and announced that she wanted to look like her. This is dangerous ground for a husband. Walking through quicksand, then leaping into a viper pit seems a safer alternative. I deftly spluttered my way through a response. We both agreed the model was flawless, though I’m sure she’s insecure about her looks, and approaches each modeling session with sufficient angst to fill a boxcar.
Our American culture certainly encourages us to emulate the famous, the wealthy, the stars. Who doesn’t want to live the lives we see glamorized on the screens, small and large. After all, our lives are crushingly monotonous compared to theirs, or so we are told. Just look at the fun and good times the celebrities are having. Who wouldn’t want that?
I remember as an adolescent seeing Cary Grant in the movies, and thinking, surely, here is the epitome of suave and class. I want to be like him. I want to BE him. But how can Mortimer Snerd become Cary Grant?
It turns out, as I discovered years later, that Archie Leach became Cary Grant. Coming from a troubled childhood, he managed to become Mr. Debonair. Grant has stated that he played at being someone he wanted to be until he became that person. I’m sure I can’t duplicate that feat and become Cary Grant, though I may have a fair shot at becoming Mortimer Snerd.
Often the famous have wretched personal lives, and are certainly not a role model to fashion ourselves after. In fact, in a scientific study conducted recently in my head, ordinary schmucks were shown to have more stable, happy lives than those enjoying celebrity status.
My wife and I agree on this. Yes, the model was near-perfection, but our lives are blessed and happy. Cary Grant had five wives, I’ve had one. Does that mean he was five times more successful or happy? In some worldly ways maybe, but in general no, and I think we can all sense that even being Cary Grant, or a flawless model, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, they have cracks that don’t show, in their feet of clay, and in their lives.
Ah, let’s just be happy we’re here at all, and able to glimpse the celebrities from the privacy and contentment of our own quiet lives.