Topic category: Other/General
Think we'll ever move on?
Has been, in fact, for some time now.
The news of her passing wouldíve been hard to miss even if you tried to because itís pretty much been "All Anna, all the time" since about a nanosecond following the discovery of her body.
Not hearing about it all has been about as likely as not getting wet in a thunderstorm.
In short, the storyís been everywhere. Film, as they say, of something or other at 11.
So, as I write this, hereís what Iíve gleaned from this "thunderstorm."
Her life was a mess. Her love life was an even bigger mess. No oneís sure of the cause of her death. No oneís sure whoís the father of her newborn child. No oneís sure who has the final say as to where sheís going to be buried. And, to top it off, thereís a bit of confusion over her last will and testament.
Given that her life was a train wreck, I guess there was no reason to expect anything different with her death.
On a more positive note, though, they did manage to get her body embalmed, which is, of course, a good thing.
The truly kindhearted out there might want to forward this entire story to Britney, Lindsay, Paris, and a few others of that ilk with a note attached that says, "Get the picture?"
Not that it would do any good.
The reason for that is that there are now many amongst us now view "celebrity" as a goal. The idea being that becoming "known" or "recognized" is an end in itself. Unfortunately, many who want to be "known" no longer see the relationship between effort and reward. Further, they donít seem to understand that the living of such a life leads to an existence thatís about as empty and vacuous as can be found.
Ms. Smith proved that in spades.
Found fame by posing nude. Married a billionaire many decades her senior. Fought the family for his money after he died. Gave GPS satellites fits because, with her, "Silicone Valley" had a whole new set of coordinates. Had ongoing problems with drugs and alcohol. Lost her son (no real surprise here) to the same problem.
I read the obituary pages every day. I never believed that Iíd do that. Now, however, with more years behind me than ahead, I find it interesting to see what made many ordinary lives extraordinary. What made people happy and content.
Read long enough and youíll find that it has nothing to do with becoming a "celebrity."
What does stand out, however, is that the best lives seem to have common threads running through them.
"Worked hard." "Honest to a fault." "Beloved father or mother." "Thought of others first" "Loved being around family." "Shunned the limelight."
And so on.
Which should give all of us a hint as to where satisfaction comes from.
Once upon a time Ė and it wasnít all that long ago Ė you became "known" for the good that you did. The good things that were difficult but worthwhile. The good things that demanded persistence and stamina.
Once upon a time, you worked hard to become accomplished in a field that interested you. You sweated. You did your absolute best. Even when you failed, you didnít give up. Instead, you learned from your mistakes and tried harder. You, basically, went another mile.
You may have been a pilot, a teacher, a cop, a doctor, a lawyer, a painter, a cook, a waitress, a minister, or a mechanic. It didnít matter. Whatever it was you did, you did it so well that, over time, others noticed and came to admire you for doing it. In short, you became "known."
The funny thing is that what made you feel good wasnít the "being known" part but, rather, the sense of having done something worthwhile Ė not only for yourself but also for others - and having done it well .
Unfortunately, this is precisely what the Anna Nicoles of our time will never understand - that all of the meaningless headlines in the world will never give them the satisfaction they seek.
Perhaps the only thing Ms. Smith may have accomplished in her 39 years was to provide the world with an absolutely splendid example of the rewards of just such an empty life.
Itís too bad that many no longer have the ability to recognize this.
Biography - Larry Simoneaux
Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.