Thoughts with Richard Bleil
Living in Boston with my friends, I thought they had a nice mid-priced home, but everything is relative. As it turns out, I lived in a neighborhood with millionaires and politicians. Who knew? One of my neighbors, as it turns out, was a well-known basketball player for Boston. I don’t remember why, but I must have been out for a walk one day and happened to walk past his house. He was outside watering his bushes, but no, I didn’t talk with him, and no, I really didn’t have a burning desire to do so. While I admire the talent he had, I’m really not a sports fan, so I really didn’t care if I met him or not. I’m not rude, though. Had he looked up I would have nodded or waved or smiled or something, but I don’t think he even saw me. If he did, he certainly didn’t acknowledge that he had done so.
I drove past his house practically every day. It was interesting when it was pointed out to me who lived there, because there was an old beat-up Cadillac parked in the driveway most days. This is an odd little fact that will come back up in a bit. This was during a time that periodically I still spoke with my family, and I coincidentally was talking with my mom on the phone that day and I happened to mention him that I saw him. She became very excited, and asked me if I spoke with him, and if he was nice, and tell her all about him. Umm, no. She asked how I saw him and mentioned that he lives near me. She asked if I could ask him for an autograph, and I said “no”. I respect his right to privacy, and even if it was somebody I was excited to be living near I wouldn’t invade their space with such a request. “Well,” she said, “steal his paper.”
What? Steal his paper? Why would…no, I refused to steal his paper, but suddenly I understood the Cadillac. Yes, maybe it’s a car from his youth that he really enjoys, but then why not store it in the garage? The answer is simple. It’s so people will doubt if that is really where he lives. I wonder how many newspapers he needs to get to have one to read after people like my mother steals all the other ones.
It’s never been a possibility for me, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to be famous. Movie and television celebrities often hide themselves in the hopes that they won’t be recognized on the streets, but, honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about people trying to talk with them. I understand their right to privacy and a life, and yet, they willingly went into a life where private time would be short. The people who are clamoring for an autograph will probably have one chance in their life to actually interact with them, so it’s hard to blame them for getting excited. Is it appropriate for celebrities to be jerks to these people and ruin their only shot? Is it appropriate for people to interfere in the lives of their heroes?
Somebody like Larry, well, yes, he’s a celebrity, but is so because of his skill. He probably didn’t go into his sports career to become a celebrity so much as to be a force on the court. This is, of course, pure speculation, but to have talent like his seems like the difficult way to gain a celebrity status. That’s not to suggest that acting, as well, is not a talent. There are coaches, lessons, practice and experience that all come into play for serious and great actors as well, although, to be honest, I think there are also those famous actors not because of their skills, but because of their screen presence. But, who am I to criticize? Even that takes some talent.
Honestly, I’m not sure what the point to this story is. Watching a movie as I write this, I’m thinking of the actors involved, including some incredible talents. I can’t imagine having abilities like that, but I imagine that, when they act, they leave a bit of themselves with the project. They share their abilities with the world, and like any of us, I’m guessing they only have so much to give. Then there’s the barrage of critics, quacks, requests, rabid fans and so on. It’s not a life I would want to live, even if today newspapers are online and less likely to be stolen.