When the bubble bursts

June 26, 2009


“What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?” was the question – a running gag, really – that the Beatles would often field from reporters at press conferences in the early days. “We’ll burst with it, ha-ha,” the boys would sometimes sarcastically reply. John once replied with “I haven’t a clue, you know. I’m still looking for the bubble.”

With Michael Jackson’s death this week, the bubble is back in the spotlight and apparently alive and well. While Marilyn, Elvis, the Beatles and many others have resided in the celebrity bubble, Jackson may have been the only modern day celebrity so popular or prolific, to still be there. (Just think of the current crop of celebrities whose photos are taken as they run out to the supermarket for some Ben & Jerry’s at midnight in sweatpants and Ray-Ban’s.)

Plastic surgery made him a bizarre laughing stock for the final years of his eccentric adult life. At the same time, his wealth allowed him anything he wished, giving way to the “Wacko Jacko” persona which was reinforced by the later interviews with outlets such as ITV/Martin Bashir and CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes.

Jackson and many other of the ‘usual suspect’ dead celebrities may have been born to be great, but at the end of the day they were still human and flawed.

This leads me back to the bubble of my first paragraph. With all drug-related celebrity deaths, from Marilyn Monroe to Elvis Presley to Heath Ledger, the news media always locks in on the question of why these people couldn’t simply “see all of this coming.”

I always laugh at this assertion. (“Hah!” I say) If humans were only wired that way! If we only concerned ourselves with the far-reaching consequences of our actions as easily as that so we could “see it all coming.” But, of course, we cannot.

Most non-celebrities, including myself, are in self-imposed bubbles of their own. Whether it is being oblivious to our own bad health habits, or other behaviors or simply failing to see things that are right in front of our own eyes, it is often difficult for many of us to see beyond our own bubble.

While we all may not have habits and behaviors which include ingesting enormous amounts of pharmaceuticals, the basic premise is the same – each of us is essentially a cigarette smoker. We aren’t bad, mean, selfish people. We just have a bad habit or three.

So, what about you and your bad habits?

What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?