"Oh my God,
It's my life...
What am I doing kicking at the foundation?
Better start looking at my destination."
~ 'My Depression' by Rick Springfield
Everyone's gods have feet of clay. Everyone's. Mine included. Make no mistake, celebrities are our modern day gods,and Hollywood is the new Olympus. Every so often someone flies too close to the sun and gets burned or drops out of the sky because the wax holding their wings together has melted.
We love celebrities-let's be honest. They live lives we dream of, do things we wish we could do, in a style and manner we all covet and secretly crave. Why? Because we think they are more of the things we want to be. They exemplify success with expensive homes, custom-built cars, and million dollar plus paychecks.They represent the best of everything to us.
I worked for a time as a production assistant, which, if you don't know, is another way of saying I was a glorified go-fer. Production assistants must be flexible because they are called upon to do everything...including the impossible. Need a Steinway piano at 3 a.m.? No sweat, just call the PA and he or she will magically pull one out of
Sometimes, though, you can get stretched too far...and you snap. You screw-up... The latest celebrity screw-ups are all over the news, courtesy of a rabid media and a cannibalistic public. Another fact of human nature-and a sad one at that- is that we love to see other people fail. We expend a great amount of time and effort building the image of celebrities because we have so much of ourselves invested in what they represent. Through transference and projection they become an extension of us: that includes our insecurities and desires. Which is why when one of them topples off the pedestal we have carefully crafted, the tendency is not to catch them and lower them to safety, but to let them crash and view the bloody remains...we are in some way relieved that it wasn't us. We whoop it up in relief that we're unscathed one more time and point with imputation at the 'guilty' party who has so foolishly lost their balance and done a back flip on to the waiting cement. There's an emotional payoff to watching this; that's why everyone loves a train wreck.
While it's admittedly not the end of the world, it is not just a harmless lapse in good judgment on his part, either. It is not okay to drink copious amounts of alcohol and then attempt to drive an automobile with the resulting impairment. It is stupid and to some extent selfish and he has no one to blame but himself for the resulting scrutiny. If that sounds like I'm taking a hard line, well...I am. As a paramedic, I've responded to more than my share of fatal accidents that were alcohol-related. There's no truth to the old wives tale that drunks always bounce: sometimes they just leave bloody grease spots and dismembered body parts on the roadway.
|This car looks like trouble waiting to happen to me.|
This blog is not about idol ranting because I believe my Rock Star Muse has been unjustifiably busted by the cops. On the contrary, I hope they put him in a fugly orange jumpsuit and make him pick up trash on the road. Maybe it will impress him that he's hit bottom and needs help. A tough disease requires strong medicine.
It may seem like playing Six Degrees of Separation to some, but I really do have a personal stake in this.
There's a documentary being made about Rick and his relationship to his fans; the story is much deeper and gets much more rich as it develops.The film also explores how genuine friendships have developed between fans who have become friends because of Rick's music. It's a story about how the music affects fans and how they apply the story and lessons in the songs to their lives. This is where I come in....I was selected to be one of the featured fans. I have been a life-long fan of Rick's because his songwriting touches vividly on things we universally share. There are many times that I can identify with his words to express how I'm feeling because they strip away pretension and lay the emotion raw with clarity for me...and besides, he's one hell of a guitar player. He provides a welcome constant in my life.
|Sylvia, Rick and Melanie|
(photo courtesy YRR)
|Courtesy YRR Productions|
|Not one of his best photos|
Emails began to flood my in box...I kid you not. From the volume of mail I received, you'd think I was a celebrity. Some of it was from people who'd read the news and were being kind because they figured I was upset. Some of it was from other RS fans who use me as a sounding board because I'm a minister. Some of it came from mutual friends who also happen to know Rick personally or professionally...and some of it was hate mail because I pointed out that our hero-wonderful guy he is- has feet of clay just like the rest of the idols built by the masses. And while it seems Rick embraces similar ideas about truthfulness as I do, this did nothing to endear me to several of his more fantasy prone, reality-challenged, ardently obsessed, aggressive fans. Once again, I am not surprised, because these are the same individuals who I've seen practically standing at his elbow and encouraging him to " have another bottle of wine." In psychological terminology, they're called enablers. Personally, I have a few other names for them. Groupie and parasite are probably the kindest on the list.
A few pieces of correspondence were from members of my congregation, basically demanding to know what the hell was going on,what I'd gotten us into, and what kind of person I was since I hang with rock stars. They wanted to know if I was going to continue being a minister. It's amazing to me what people think they know about you and/or your motives. Taking a step back from this, it seems others are attempting to hold me personally to an intangible standard because of someone else's actions. Now, I know that I am not responsible for another individual's mistakes, fau pax and screw-ups. I cannot control anyone's behavior other than my own. What another person does, or how things appear, or the image they project or is projected upon them has nothing to do with me. It's Rick's life, and he'll handle it however he sees fit. That should in no way affect my reputation. He's a sweet guy, but I'm not carrying his baggage for him. Not this time.
We are all touched by the humanity of one another. None of us go through life without accumulating collateral damage...and we are all damaged and imperfect in some way. I like to think it's part of our uniqueness and character. Individually, we go about dealing with our respective baggage in our own ways. Sometimes one of those ways is self-medicating with alcohol. I suspect that Rick has spent the last week beating himself up and kicking his own ass harder than anyone else possibly could. He's still a good, decent man with a kind heart and a generous spirit in my book, no matter what anyone else thinks...and no matter what he may think about himself right now. I have enough belief in him for the both of us.
I sincerely hope that this somehow becomes an opportunity where he can turn any negativity associated with it into something positive that will not only be a benefit and a healing to him, but perhaps help others as well.
Visit the Yellow Rick Road website to see a 9 minute promotional trailer of Affair of the Heart, currently in post production and due to be released later in 2011 at: http://rickspringfielddoc.com/ Independent film companies like YRR depend on the generosity of individual donations, unlike major motion picture studios which fund their own productions.
'My Depression',words and music by Rick Springfield and Jeff Silverman:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y_gP1ku6CI