Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dysfunctional maybe, but gratitude nevertheless

As thanksgiving approaches, it may be instructive to examine the case of the rather dysfunctional--but hugely successful--singer portrayed in Joe Walsh's song "Life's Been Good."

The singer owns a mansion. Although he has been told that "it's nice," he has never actually been there and cannot remember its price. Instead, he "live[s] in hotels" and engages in the rather socially irresponsible behavior of "tear[ing] down the walls." At least, however, he has the decency to "have accountants pay for it all." He he readily admits that "[he] can't complain" but nevertheless "sometimes [he] still [does]."

The singer owns a Mazaratti capable of going "185" (it is not clear whether that is miles or kilometers per hour). Unfortunately, he has "lost [his] license," and as a result, "[he doesn't] drive" anymore. Instead, he rides in limousines, sitting in the back. He has the presence of mind to "look the door" to guard against attack.

The singer is somewhat overwhelmed by the his lot in life, acknowledging that "It's tough to handle this fortune and fame." Although he looks "for clues at the scene of the crime," he seems to be rather clueless as to why he is actually so successful. It may have something do with his fans who "can't wait" for the release of his next albums and write him letters saying that he is "great." His office features "gold records on the wall." He is rather non-committal in saying that "maybe [he'll] call if you leave a message." Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.

He is accused for being crazy, but on the upside, he "has a great time." He admits to staying late at parties "sometimes until 4 [a.m.]." Although it is not clear why he ultimately succeeds, he reminds the listener of the difficulty of leaving "when you can't find the door." People accuse him of being lazy, but he indignantly insists that his activities "take all [his] time."

This guy really seems do be doing the best he can even if he fails to comply with social norms. All this seems to suggest that being normal is not necessary for success--and may, in fact, be an obstacle to extraordinary success.

1 comment:

BC said...

Is it success or notoriety?

The most successful people have few peers - so by definition they can never be considered normal.

Maybe he is socially normal. Every party needs a conversation piece.