February 2, 2009
Would you agree to experience a brief, fleeting period of fame and fortune before living out the rest of your existence as a joke footnote of musical history (think Rico Suave, Vanilla Ice, Milli Vanilli, etc.)?
Fuck yeah I would. I’d have a million dollars (plus whatever other financial gain my embarrassing celebrity brought me)! Even if I were the punchline to a thousand bad jokes on morning drive-time radio, I’d be the only one laughing all the way to the bank, where I would carefully monitor the growth of my personal fortune. And grow it would, because if there’s one thing I learned from countless Where Are They Now? TV specials, it’s that you have to take good care of the nest egg your terrible song/cheesy sitcom/lame self-help book provided you with. No unwise investments or shady business managers for me!
The other thing that makes me assent so enthusiastically to this question is that it would be really fun to be famous for a little while. In fact, a brief period of notoriety might in some ways be preferable to a lifetime of the same. You’d get the experience of being a star but without the never-ending hassle that moves Madonna to portray herself as a crucified martyr to society’s insatiable demand for details about her personal life. Just when things might be getting a bit heavy, you’d drop out of the limelight and be free to run to the store for a late-night 6-pack without getting papped. If people laugh at you, so be it. Who’s the millionaire? You. Anyway, considering the state of television these days, you’d end up with your own reality show 20 years down the line no matter how entrenched in obscurity you’d become. This one is a just an all-around win, in my opinion.
I would begrudgingly accept this dare because money is nice and you can buy things with it and you don’t have to go to work anymore, but I think this would seriously suck. Once the world at large has collectively decided you’re an idiot loser piece of crap, everyone – and I really mean everyone – looks at you with derision and you basically get treated really badly by people who don’t know a thing about you except that you deserve to be insulted as often as possible. I mean, Vanilla Ice is a moron, sure, but I’d bet that the number of times he’s had some random person call him an asshole when he’s just trying to do his grocery shopping is way out of proportion to the amount he actually deserves it. Think of it this way: The world is basically one big high school where the popular kids are famous musicians and actors and all the unfamous, regular people are the normal kids and the dorks are the has beens. Except it’s actually worse than that because in this case, if you’re one of the dorks you can’t transfer to another school or come back next year with a new look since 1) the whole world knows you’re a dork so relocating won’t do you any good and 2) even regular, never-been-famous dorks think they’re better than you because at least some douchebag talking head on VH1 isn’t making fun of them on some show called, like, 100 Cheesy Has Beens Everybody Should Hate. I mean, that one guy from Milli Vanilli killed himself, for god’s sake, and I’m sure that must have had something to do with the kind of soul searing depression you feel when people you don’t even know disrespect you and treat you like a fool and pretty much loathe you. I’m getting long winded but my point is, I’m saying yes but I think I’d probably regret it later.