9.29.2006

Fame and Fortune

I can't believe I'm jumping into the TO media frenzy, but even I had
to do a double-take when I caught a glimpse of yesterday morning's
headline: "TO Has 25 Million Reasons to Live." If, unlike me, you've
successfully shielded yourself from all things TO, Dallas Cowboys wide
receiver Terrell Owens was admitted to the ER this week. Was it a
suicide or an allergic reaction?

His publicist -- I didn't know TO needed one -- tried to squelch
suicide rumors, snarkily saying that "TO has 25 million reasons to
live." Referring to TO's three-year, $25 million contract with the
Cowboys. Many readers, sports fans or not, will heartily agree with
the sentiment. Why would someone that rich, famous, and fabulous want
to end his life?

Ah, but there are just as many suicides in multi-million dollar gated
communities as there are in the most squalid of urban ghettoes. For
all the fame, fortune, and success TO has enjoyed, he's still just a
hurting young man with a broken past and more than his share of
psychological and emotional demons. All the publicity, stardom, and
dollars don't change that.

While I think he's a terrific football player, I'm certainly not a fan
and am in fact more than a little tired of the media frenzy. Nor am I
sympathizing with him, per se, or defending him; just because his
baggage causes him to seek out the limelight, even at the risk of
doing crazier and crazier things, doesn't excuse that behavior.

I just wanted to point out that when we think those who have fame and
fortune couldn't possibly be depressed, we confer upon those things
healing powers they don't have. In that regard, we are no less
reprehensible than those who have fame and fortune and who believe in
those things to deliver them happiness and peace.

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