Addicted to Sheen
By Judy Carter
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve found myself enjoying watching Charlie Sheen’s mental illness train wreck breakdown.
(His manic-depression might have been masked at one time by drugs, but now there’s not much else that can explain this level of odd behavior from someone who’s passed a drug test.)
I’ve marked Sheen-themed stories to the very top of my iGoogle news favorites. That scares me, because now I find it more interesting to read about Charlie’s ex-wife trying to free her children from the goddesses -- than to watch videos of Libyan rebels risking their lives to escape Gaddafi.
It all started with Charlie’s strange ramblings on “The Today Show.” That led to hours of listening on to his manic rants on YouTube, and scouring the Internet for more radio interviews, and eventually to surfing the Charlie Sheen soundboard with clips of his quotes. (“Bam! Winning.”)
Somewhere along the way, I got hooked on watching a Golden Globe award winning actor decay into a state of self-destructive mania and patronizingly saying, “Yes, how sad.”
I ‘d like to convince myself I’m just observing, to keep up with the news and comedic actors.
But honestly, I’m watching for that climatic straitjacket ambulance ride after the psychotic warlock tirade we all know is coming. I’m anticipating it with the giddy excitement of a drunken, binocular-wielding NASCAR fan at the screams of tires and bending metal just before the ten-car pileup.
Will the cars flip? Catch on fire? Will burning severed limbs fly through the air to shrieks of horror -- or will drivers – or Charlie Sheen -- miraculously be thrown clear and walk away without a scratch? I know I should look away – but I can’t.
I have to wonder -- are we all watching because Charlie Sheen makes us feel better about our own state of mind? And regardless of the answer, what does it say about anyone’s mind who enjoys the tragic spectacle of another person’s descent into madness?
My dark side has led me to places that I wish I’d visited. As I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, there was a warning sign: “The images and videos on other side of this wall are violently disturbing and not for children.”
To this day, I regret ever having peeked at those videos of torture; the images are seared into my brain and still terrify me in the middle of the night.
So why do we look?
I’ve never seen Lindsey Lohan in a movie, or followed her career at all -- but I saw the story that she was arrested – I clicked on it.
I don’t understand, for myself or anyone else – what creates the compulsion to watch things that horrify us. I don’t know the “why”.
But I do know that, at some point – it’s time to look away.
Pick up your remote control. And as Charlie might say, “Your brain can’t process this. Bam! Switching!”
Judy Carter is one of America's top motivational humorists. She is the author of "The Comedy Bible" (Simon & Schuster) and has appeared on over 100 television shows as well as thousands of corporate events. Judy's expertise in bringing humor to corporations has created a nationwide demand for her as a corporate speaker as well as generated feature articles in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, New York Times and Success Magazine to name a few. She has also been featured on many National TV shows such as CNN, ABC World News and Oprah, as well as being a regular contributor to National Public Radio.
Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.