"Everyone will have celebritydom for fifteen minutes," predicted Andy Warhol. Heading the list are lottery winners. There’s the couple sitting around the house doing nothing when they hear their numbers announced on TV. Within minutes, their front yard is overflowing with photographers and cameramen and bloodsucking relatives from as far away as Hawaii. Helicopters circle. Just before hyperventilating, they say into the camera, “Oh my God!” Asked if all this money will change their lives, they say, “Absolutely not.”
Then there’s the lottery winner from Ohio who won $50 million. When asked what he was going to do with all that money, he was quoted as saying, “I’ve always wanted one of them eight-slice toasters.” Is that the American dream or what!
The irony is that most lottery winners lust after some small thing that probably has been within their grasp all along. So they wish for something they’ve been putting off---a new sofa for Mama, a trip to the Smokies with the kids, or as the man from Ohio added, “Fill in the dents in my Pinto.”
Another recipient in New York State’s lottery retired early to a modest house to “order take-out food and save for when we’re poor again.”
Ridiculous, you say? How long have you had a cookie sheet that looks like a bad patch of road? You could probably pick up one for $3.00, but instead, you open the window to get rid of the smoke each time you use it.
I’ve fantasized about winning the lottery and being a celebrity on all the newscasts. I’ve always wanted an extra set of door keys. Lanny’s dream is a set of salt and pepper shakers for the table so he won’t have to walk to the stove every meal. Hey, as long as you’re dreaming, why not reach for the stars?
Television does have a way of bringing out emotions people have hidden for years. Classic examples are the shout-degrade-and-humiliate talk shows that have surfaced for the younger crowd.
The perks are that you are brought to New York, delivered to a free hotel room by a limousine, made up by a professional makeup artist, and then released into an arena of strangers who will hear your story of divorce, infidelity, kinkiness, or bad relationships. And here’s the entertainment part: You must sit there while the audience calls you “slut,” “tramp,” or worse and reduces you to tears and beyond therapy. It’s a terrific price to pay for fifteen minutes on TV and a little blush and eyeliner.
It’s hard to believe that there is still a segment of the population that can resist the notoriety. They simply want to be left alone. The animal kingdom is emphatic about it. When someone approaches the hognose snake, he doesn’t want a confrontation. He simply turns on his back and lies with his mouth open and his tongue limply out. If he is touched, he remains perfectly rigid and appears to be dead. The predator usually goes away.
This is not unlike husbands who do not want to be bothered during a Super Bowl game.