Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Collision With Destiny

Watching a Charlie Sheen interview is like standing on a sidewalk and seeing two cars about to run into each other — one is powerless to stop it yet fascinated by it nonetheless.

I didn't study human psychology to a great extent when I was in college. If I had, perhaps I could better understand what I see when I watch Sheen insisting to interviewer after interviewer that he is "winning" and announcing that he is raising his already exorbitant asking price by 50%.

(I don't watch Two and a Half Men. Never have. And, now, I suppose, I never will — unless I watch its syndicated reruns.

(Maybe then I will understand why some people seem to like him, but, to be honest, I can't understand why anyone, least of all Charlie Sheen, would be worth $2 million per episode of a series — let alone the $3 million he says he is now charging.)

There really isn't much that I feel I can say about Sheen that others haven't said already — and far more eloquently — except to say that his arrogant eagerness to embrace what seems 99.9999% certain to be a horrific — and very public — downfall is breathtaking.

What little I know of the patterns and symptoms of addiction can be summed up quite simply, actually. And I do understand the challenge of overcoming addiction. I was a smoker for many years and, although tobacco is not a mind– or (necessarily) mood–altering substance, I have heard people compare the addiction to tobacco to the addiction to heroin.

It hasn't been easy for me, but in a couple of weeks, I will mark my fourth anniversary since my last cigarette.

In a book of great quotes, there should be a picture of Sheen next to the observation that "cocaine is God's way of telling you that you're making too much money."

(I've heard that quote variously attributed to people like Richard Pryor, Robin Williams and George Carlin. No matter who said it first, though, it makes sense to me, and Sheen is its embodiment.)

With Sheen, I get the same sensation I got when I was a child and my family visited an amusement park where the prime attraction was a roller–coaster ride called the Runaway Mine Train.

Sheen is like that train, careening along, not slowing down, in fact pouring it on when he has to negotiate the most delicate and tricky part of his journey.

The ride I went on as a child was carefully engineered. It might seem risky while you were riding it, but, in reality, you were never in any real danger.

But the thrills and chills that come with riding with Sheen are all too real — and I have the feeling it won't be a very smooth landing when Sheen hits rock bottom.

I don't know if Sheen will die when he hits that bottom, as many people are predicting. I hope not.

But if the hangers–on in his life are smart, they will get off this train now — before it reaches its final destination, whatever that may be.