Now. Tell me how many of you really did NOT see Susan Boyle's breakdown coming?
For the last week or so I've been reminded why I don't really hang out with TV anymore. Sure, I miss Keith Olbermann and a few other choice delights, and I do try to remember to plug in for 30 Rock and the occasional episode of somethingorother. But the last week, with the American Idol drama ("Will the REAL gay singer please stand up?"), the Cavs hype, baseball, that Joe and Kate family (honestly, I didn't know who they were until a friend explained it to me over the weekend) and the hockey frenzy, you really can't swing a hard-cover book without smacking someone who's all uptight about something that happened not in their life but that they watched on TV.
Poor Susan Boyle. Exhausted? No shit. So am I, by America's endless, driven hunger for bullshit. A genuine bonfire of vanities. So much of it so meaningless. I know that a lot of people really enjoy that but the degree of real despair over one or more of these televised events is what disturbs me.
I wonder if that's what got Susan in the end. Suddenly pushed over the precipice of success, she was driven nearly mad by the demand to continue to perform. The world of the unsung flung its Shadow over Susan, the great hope of the underdogged talent, but she withered under its tremendous weight. It's not the first time we've seen this happen. She's lucky she got off the ride when she did. Just today there was news of more Marilyn Monroe photos. Will we ever let that poor, miserable woman rest in peace? I bet I know what you're thinking: "Why...so....serious?" Precisely.
If Americans were less concerned with other people and their success, if we all just stuck our noses back into our own business and started to dig out of the holes we'd dug for ourselves, what a country this might be. But we continue to be a country of blamers, a society in which nothing is ever really your fault -- it's the fault of your parents, your teachers, your ex, your elected officials, your poor fortune. Some days, I wonder how we manage to wipe our own arses.
Let's stop this. Just for one night, turn off the damn TV and read a book, play with your child, sing a song, WRITE a song, take the dog to the park, make pancakes for your sweetheart for dinner, pick a tune. Make it your life for a change, a life that is genuine and beautiful to you. Quit chasing, waiting for someone else to come along and light up your night, fix your problems, make you happy, let you get away with fooling yourself. Do the work yourself, enjoy the rewards, learn from the pitfalls.
When you look back, at least you'll know, this life was genuinely, authentically, yours.