I had originally intended to do an interesting and amusing piece on actual calls to suicide hotlines. However they proved to be fairly monotonous, and boiled down to 2 or 3 major themes. The most frequent sort of call went something like this:
"For God's sake, please don't put me back on hold!"
We will never know for sure exactly how many have perished this way. The second most common call goes something like this:
"You've got to straighten me out!"
The answer usually runs,
"Only you can help you, but I'll offer what ever support I can, in
the 2 1/2 minutes we have to complete this call."
Finally we have the depressed alcoholics, who've gone back on the bottle. They usually say something like:
"I feel like there's a party in my mouth, and I'm not invited!"
They have the best prognosis, since they usually sober up.
While help line staff may sound insensitive and uncaring, remember that you can't feel sorry for depressed types. That's what they want. They're a boring lot, generally, and not as amusing as Lindsay Lohan, or Paris Hilton. So I've decided to write about those with serious mental issues - professional celebrities.
Eric Berne once wrote an excellent book called "Games People Play". The theme of the book is that people don't have relationships, they play games. Relationships demand a dangerous degree of honesty and responsibility, while games allow us to be childish and manipulative. In Hollywood, they use the saying, somewhat sardonically, that "it's been real". When they're not pretending to be someone else, then they're pretending to be themselves. When the game becomes chronic, they can completely lose touch with reality, and go on a fatal ego trip. Though the game paid off, for awhile, once they've reached the terminal stage, their ill gotten gains are of no use to them, and they begin publicly pulling themselves apart. This is similar to what happened to Nixon, during Watergate (Dickie was tricked into eating himself). A fascinated public then sits back to watch, much like spectators to a train wreck.
Take a look at Tom Cruise, for instance. He was one of America's most beloved movie stars. Back in those days, had you suggested that Top Gun was gay, some of his admiring female fans might've gone on the warpath. However Tom had some secrets, that his impending divorce from Nicole put in jeopardy. He over reacted, Hollywood style, by dating 1st Penny Cruz, and then Katie Holmes. If that wasn't enough, he did cartwheels on the Oprah show about the new and improved love of his life. People thought he was trying to hard, and things spiraled out of control from there. The more he picked at it, the worse the situation got. The Tom Cruise fiasco went from the bizarre to the ridiculous in no time flat, as Tom acted like he just couldn't help himself!
Mel Gibson recently had a booze fueled ego meltdown of his own. After a wild night of partying at Malibu's Moonshadows, Mel declined several kind offers of a lift home, and began speeding down the Pacific Coast highway. When pulled over by concerned deputies, Mel proceeded to frighten the poor officers with threats of ruining their careers, and boasts that he "owned Malibu". That he was in 'full game mode' at the time is evidenced by his words to Deputy Mee, "I'm not going to hurt you physically. I'm going to hurt you. I'm going to make you lose!" Apparently drunken driving was no more than a game to one of Tinseltown's biggest ego's, where the real issue was winning or losing. This did him no good, since it was probably a terrified Deputy Mee who leaked the original arrest reports, as a way of covering his ass.
Not every public person is a raving ego maniac. OJ, during his crisis, resisted the temptation to do something. Instead he remained calm, kept quiet, and hit the links. He left his defense in the hands of the professionals. After his acquittal, he kept a low profile. Bill Clinton, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, employed a similar policy. After his unfortunate attempts at self defense ( He still has to live down his "meaning of the word is 'is'" statement), he quickly regained his senses, and refrained from making an already bad situation any worse. Eventually arch conservative Newt Gingrich was caught with his own secretary, and the conservatives had to shut up about it. So a major crisis was averted.
For the most part, though, celebs are a very sick bunch. You have to have some serious problems, when you crave validation by millions of anonymous strangers. Let's face it, that's what it's about. The money is never enough. Madonna could retire to her manor house, in the English country side, to live out her days pleasantly, in peace and quiet. Instead, she's made a spectacle of her self by mounting the cross, in mock crucifixion, during her most recent concert tour. This time no one was shocked, or even amused. People were only mildly disgusted. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Egomania, however, can be a truly tragic condition, for fame is very much like becoming the stiff at your own funeral.