Big Shot

6/12/1998

You went uptown riding in your limousine in your fine Park Avenue clothes.  You had the Dom Perignon in your hand and the spoon up your nose.

We work in the most seductive industry in the universe.  If you’re a record executive or a radio programmer, the world is yours…and everything that’s in it.  We dine in the most expensive restaurants, fly first class, see the opening of any Broadway show, jet away to paradises far away, drive the sportiest cars, sit in the front rows of the biggest concerts, have our pictures taken with Rock stars, hang Gold records on our walls, take stretch limos wherever we go, drink the finest wine, smoke Cuban cigars, walk the red carpet and enjoy the high life.

We live under pressure that would crush the average human.  There’s no such thing as nine-to-five in our business.  We stay until the job is finished, then start all over again.  We can’t rest on our laurels.  There’s always another rating period, another record, another opening, another show.  We work hard.  We play hard.  Why shouldn’t we enjoy the fruits of our labor?

Because some of us actually believe we deserve it.

They were all impressed with our Halston dress and the people that you knew at Elaine’s.  And the story of your latest success kept ‘em so entertained.

What’s wrong with us?  We’ve become the epitome of those we despise the most.  We’re the biggest bores on the planet…an obnoxious group of loudmouth ingrates who actually believe the hype we’re paid to spread.  We’ve been told we’re great so many times by the sycophants who surround us that we’re buying into the bullshit hook, line and sinker….not to mention the boat that was paid for by the record company.

Who are we to take pride in our shallow success?  We’re a group of mostly uneducated over-achievers who are full of sound and fury…signifying nothing.  Had we been born a hundred years earlier, we would be little more than snake oil salespeople, traveling from town to town in a covered wagon, pimping Holy water blessed by the saints of Jerusalem to the sinners who would stumble into streets to listen.

We’re the first ones to complain about our seats to the sold-out superstar concert when we should be thankful just to be there.  After all, we didn’t pay for them. We gripe about waiting in line. We’ve pissed because someone else’s name is higher on the guest list than ours.  We go ballistic at the slightest hint of indifference.

“Don’t they know who I am?”  is the biggest catch phrase of our existence.

Well, it’s no big sin to stick your two cents in if you know when to leave it alone.  But you went over the line, you couldn’t see it was time to go home.

Before you think I’m taking shots at everyone else, I use the collective “we” because I’m just as guilty as anyone…maybe more.  Okay, what if I did set the curve?  I have no patience, I refuse to be placated, I expect the best and demand the rest.

So, what’s my point?

Our behavior has become so over-the-top that simple courtesies are ignored.  We are the rudest people in the history of industry…and it needs to stop.

I can’t make people deflate their egos, act their age and stop their ignorant behavior, but I can draw one tiny line in the sand.

Bitch about your concert seats.  Whine about your lack of respect.  Cry about industry indifference.  Don’t return phone calls.  Talk ugly about others.  Brag about yourself.

But stay off the fucking cell phone when you’re spending time with me.

What kind of gall do you exhibit by going into someone’s office or sitting down for dinner only to constantly answer your cell phone as it rings away?  Nothing shows greater contempt.

Turn the thing off.  What can’t wait for a few minutes until you’re finished with a meeting?  Are you trying to show us how important you are?

We aren’t impressed.

You had to be a big shot, didn’t you?  You had to open up your mouth.  You had to be a big shot, didn’t you?  All your friends were so knocked out.  You had to have the last word, last night, so much fun to be around.  You had to have a white-hot spotlight; you had to be a big shot last night.

I once refused to play golf with anyone who carried a cell phone.  But I let it go.  A round can take five hours.  You might need to take a call…particularly if your boss thinks you’re actually working.

But do you really need to be in instant communication when you’re meeting with someone who you pretend is important?  If you can afford a cell phone, you certainly can pop for voice mail.

I can’t stop all of the boorish behavior exhibited by many semi-important posers in our business, but I will make the commitment to end the irresponsible, childish actions of the cell phone freaks.

I’ll make this open promise to the industry…and I urge you to do the same.  Take a cell phone call while you’re meeting with me and I’ll rip it out of your hand and throw it out the window.  It’s the least I can do.

That’s one small toss for good manners and one giant throw toward responsibility.

And when you wake up in the morning with your head on fire and your eyes too bloody to see, go on and cry in your coffee, but don’t come bitchin’ to me.

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