La La How The Life Goes On

In A Word: #Winning!

Posted on: March 6, 2011

By now you know that #winning refers to the musings of Charlie Sheen on Twitter.  For those of you unfamiliar with what a person I know calls “The Twitter,” it’s a social networking site on which you can say anything in 140 characters or less.  I’m there as Haggisgirl, if you’re inclined to read tweets, which I deliver infrequently.  Any celebrity who is anyone has a twitter account, it being the new press conference.  Back in the day, publicists would issue statements regarding a star being “indisposed” or hospitalized for “exhaustion.”  Today, the star (or a rep posing as the star) tweets information directly to you, the adoring public.  In exchange, the star (or individual or business or author or whomever) gets to say how many “followers” he or she has.  I’m simplifying in a 140-character kind of way, but I hope you get the point: it bypasses the traditional media model of celebrity communication.

And so we have Mr. Charlie Sheen on TV and on the twitter, entertaining us with his clearly deranged and chemically-fueled thoughts:  “I’m just so tired of pretending my life isn’t perfect and bitchin’ and winning every second and I’m not perfect and bitchin’ and just delivering the goods at every frickin’ turn.” (Read = I’m a highly functioning addict)

He has more than a million followers–and with it, many ducats in advertising revenue.  He may be an addict, but he’s got drug money for a reason: dude is no dummy.  On the one hand, the entire situation is rather hilarious (note the online quiz: “Name That Statement: Ghaddafi or Sheen?” wherein you struggle to determine which nutjob said what), and yet on the other hand it strikes me as inordinately sad.  Here is a man, a father, a son, a brother who is clearly under the influence of las drogas and who is clearly in full-on denial, to the heartbreak of his family (his father is Martin Sheen).  He’s not only in denial, he’s doubling down on his insanity, having his show cancelled and offering more and more rants on morning talk shows for the pleasure of the public who, let’s be honest, don’t really give one shit about Charlie Sheen as a human.

So why am I writing about him?  Because I think we probably all know a Charlie in our lives.  Maybe it’s not lost weekends with drugs and porn stars, but it’s something.  Something that’s easier to laugh at or ignore or avoid than to substantively ponder the ramifications of.  (Like people who end sentences with prepositions, for instance).  For many years I was friends with someone who was beyond self-involved, but I chose not to see it, address it or handle it, preferring to laugh at his “oh it’s all about YOU, isn’t it?!” ways.  I spent years “good naturedly” making fun of him for being a selfish bastard when he’d unleash his id on others…until the selfishness bit ME in the ass.  Looking back, there was never a moment when this friend was ever concerned with anyone but himself, and I knew it.  But it was easier and more “fun” to laugh along, go along, and be strung along than to throw down and refuse to play my role in the relationship dynamic.  Why? I don’t know.  But as I hear about his life now, it’s clear that I did my friend no favors.  I could recite chapter and verse of the He Done Me Wrong bible, but the truth is, I did him just as wrong by failing to stop the madness sooner than I did.  Sure, we’re no longer friends, but to what end? My life is better, but his isn’t, because no matter where he goes, there HE is, unable to step outside himself for the benefit of another.  That’s the kind of shit that rolls downhill to wives, kids and coworkers, and everyone involved with him remains poorer for it.

I mentioned a few times in StarSpangledHaggis how I finally found happiness once I gave up the job of trying to fix other people.  I’m still unemployed in that regard, and happily so.  But “fixing” others is not what I’m advocating.  I’m simply suggesting that we cease to find the self-immolations and embarrassments of others to be entertaining or worthy of our collusion. I’m proposing that we unfollow Charlie, we tune out Charlie, and we deny the payoff to Charlie, be it Sheen, or your drunk Uncle Charlie or your always-complaining coworker Charlene.  You can’t fix Charlie, but you can fix yourself by refusing to play along and play into it. The wheels are going to come off the Charlie Sheen train (or, as he calls it, his F-18), and psychically, spiritually and ethically, the follower hordes will have played a role in his crash.  Even if you think you’re only an observer, you are actually part of the action because your observing is driving the story forward.  If no one was listening to Charlie, would Charlie still be speaking?  Sheen himself said, “Change the channel. I dare you.”

On that, Charlie “High Priest Vatican Assassin Warlock” and I agree.

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