There’s not so much to be said for being in the jet set

Second Thoughts


sure a lot of us, at some time or other, have briefly envied the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

We see them walking on red carpets before adoring fans, sitting in plush restaurants, sunning themselves on private beaches having just flown in from somewhere exotic on a private jet.

Many of them wear dark glasses day and night, indoors and out. Are they hiding something or hiding from something? Beats me.

Most of  them I’ve never heard of so they’re safe from my prying eyes.

Admittedly, I watch very little commercial television and movies are rare events so I’m not really qualified as a celebrity critic but that won‘t stop me.

I’ve never seen a so-called reality show and most sitcoms I stumble across appear aimed at a 12 to 14-year-old audience. As a purely intellectual exercise, I sometimes try to match up a celebrity name with what they actually do.

For example, I’ve often heard of the Kardashian sisters but until I looked them up on Wikipedia tonight I had no idea what accounted for their celebrity status.

Previously, the only thing I ever learned of them is that one sister has an enormous derriere. If that’s a criterion for fame, we have a lot of famous people in town.

I heard a commentator lately on an artsy show complaining that many of these ersatz stars are mainly famous for being famous. Period.

Of course, there are some talented people in the entertainment business, people like Julia Roberts, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Jeff Bridges but the vast majority seem to me  complete nobodies.

For many, their main claim to fame is being busted for drugs or drunk driving or being so plastered on stage as to forget the lyrics of their purportedly hit song. Perhaps I’m just out of the loop as they say or is it the noose?

Some years ago I had a brush with the jet set lifestyle. My employer had been bought by a much larger competitor and I was included in the goods and chattels category.

My new masters decided to take me and them on a tour of some of their operations in Truro, Halifax and Toronto. I was told to report at a private hangar in Montreal airport at 7 a.m. on a frigid January morning. We would be doing the tour in a corporate Lear jet. I had seen advertisements in Fortune magazine for these things showing sumptuous  leather armchairs in a spacious cabin tastefully arranged around drink-laden coffee tables, everyone smiling and relaxed. Hah! Believe me, sometimes pictures do lie. Spacious, my eye!

The first clue came when a guy in uniform took  my bag at the bottom of a small flight of stairs and advised me to don my overcoat on the tarmac as it would be difficult to do in the plane.

The Lear was about the size of a modern jet fighter. In the cabin, nearly bent double, I groped towards a seat and plunked down somewhat nervously. I’m a rotten passenger at the best of times. I hardly got through my rosary when this beast roared down the runway and almost immediately took off at a 45 degree angle. I was trapped in a leather-lined  culvert. I lost all desire to be rich and famous then and there.

As I get older I’m coming to realize that the only fame  worth having is the acceptance of family as being someone a bit special, if only to them.


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