I WANT LOBSTER!!!
(But I promise to play at Crustacean Aid)
I have a friend in Nashville who works backstage at concerts. Her only function is to take care of the food needs of stars. Needless to say, I get lots of juicy gossip. Recently, a certain religiously-named rock icon came to delight her fans with her breast cones and pelvic gyrations. However, a dark cloud appeared when a crucial element was missing from her pre-performance meal. This dietary omission elicited a full-blown tantrum from the Naveled One: "I WANT OATMEAL!!! I WAAAANT OAATMEEALLL!!!" she raged. Imagine that in your face, especially after all those voice lessons. My friend dutifully trudged off on a mission to find a health food store in the land of fat back and biscuits.
Ive always promised myself Ill be good to the little people when Im a rich and famous rock star. While financial deliverance and an appropriate level of fan admiration is definitely part of the Success Vision, this will all be appreciated with the correct perspective. I wont forget it was luck and circumstance and boob jobs that have as much to do with popular music success as talent. Like Pete Townsend, I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth. Ive worked my tour of duty at Shoneys. Ive trudged off to the local health clinic to wait in line seven hours for a dose of antibiotics. I dont want to forget my past. But what if all that were to change? What if suddenly I go from my one dress (the one in every family wedding picture for the last five years) to Versace couture? Will I become nouveau riche? Often the greediest people are those who were poor. Witness the MC Hammer estate debacle. I mean, how much resale value is there for a custom-made million-dollar wrought iron gate that spells "Hammer dont hurt me?"
No, it wont all go to my head, I mean, when the world finally monetarily recognizes what a naturally gifted, wonderfully talented and overall above average talent I am. I wont request only green m&ms. I wont have an entire floor of my home dedicated to my shoe collection. I wont sit around snickering over how I used to have to shop at lower quality department stores, like Courtney Love and Stevie Nicks in Spin, mourning the time when they had to sleep in anything less than a cashmere blanket and how as children they were forced to endure shopping at JC Penney. Ill willingly shop at Sears and WalMart. Ill do all those Live Aid and Farm Aid and Tibet Aid concerts. Ill be like Bonnie Raitt performing benefits for Planned Parenthood. And there must be somebody else . . .
Oh yes, isnt Lilith Fair donating one one-hundredth of the proceeds to aromatherapy for inner-city children? If life smells a little better, maybe it is a little better. We can also look to Elton John, who spends ridiculous amounts of money on sunglasses, then turns around and sells them for ridiculous amounts of money for charity. If this were on Oprah, this is where she would gush and call the stars generous to a fault. Theyd respond with the appropriate modesty. Probably their body language manager had coached them on how to 1) turn head one-quarter to left 2) gaze down while maintaining eye contact through the lashes before 3) return head to the beginning position. Then wed go to the slides to oooh over the summer home in Malibu. How could someone with a waterfall in their backyard be a bad person?
Of course, if I think Im above all this, I realize Im deluding myself. I know when People interviews me Ill confide about how I have finally treated myself to that BMW, just a very non-pretentious, medium-sized luxury car. My current car is so old and trashy I think there are a few Citizen Kane Happy Meals shoved under the seat. Whos to think I wouldnt suck up money and adulation with more speed and greed than a Spice Girl at a dildo novelty shop? The second a new "quality of life" possession is added I take things for granted. Example: I have to walk. I whine about needing a bike. Get bike. Whine about needing car. Get car. Whine about how car is piece of shit. Get 94 Honda. Want Lexus or sport utility. Get one. Want the other. Get both. Ad infinitum.
Luckily I guess, there is something in the human psyche developed through years of evolution that forces us to block out unpleasantness. Think about the Middle Ages and all those people living in the muck. I mean, why didnt everybody just run like a pack of lemmings right into the North Sea? Because the instant they recovered from their bubonic plague or whatever, they forgot! Also, when things are going well, of course we quickly forget any unpleasantness anyone else might be suffering. You begin to believe good fortune is a genetic trait that you deservedly inherited. You begin buying Ultress Goldissimes, taking up two parking spaces with your car invading small Slavic nations . . .
Keeping in mind how quickly the head swells with fame, the most I can hope for is compromise. I realize that as a star you get inundated with the common folk pleading for money and, I mean, you still need a pool and all. So Im planning ahead. I know exactly what Im going to do with my money. I already have all my charities picked out. Like Santa Claus, Im making my lists. Nice People. Mean People. As for those who helped and didnt have to, I plan on giving them nice bonuses. For those who were mean . . . Ill have my revenge (although unlike Ben Folds, Im hoping to have let that second-grade incident go). But if I maintain my list, this will hopefully jolt my brain out of the didnt-I-always-have-a-villa fog that envelops the rich.
In the meantime, I will try to avoid torturing myself with the feeling of being a have-not, and I advise you to do the same. As you sit for hours in the waiting room of Jiffy Lube, do not succumb to the latest issue of People, reading about stars in love and their designer outfits until youve whipped yourself into a frenzy of depravation such that, when you return home and your boyfriend is innocently watching the Weather Channel, you run up, roll up the People magazine and hit him on the head like an errant puppy and then run to your room crying "Why am I with you and not David Duchovney???" Why dont WE ever do anything FUN like spend millions of dollars in EUROPE!!! Then he asks if you have PMS and you strangle him right there on that orange tweed sofa and go to jail for the rest of your life.
So stay away from People. But if the Jiffy Lubers tell you its going to be another hour for your car and you have a moment of weakness, I just want you to know that the dress Im wearing in the "What Rock Stars Wear to the Grammies" spread will be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to charity. And as you trudge off to the vending machine to buy another round of moon pies and hot fries, dont forget to feel sorry for me because of my tragic heroin addiction.
Image by Emily McClain