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Better to be a celebrity

Earlier this week, I watched a Woody Allen film, 'To Rome with love'. I have come to really enjoy Woody Allen movies and ended up liking this one as well.

In this movie, there is a character, Leopoldo Pisanello, who is introduced as a typical Roman - predictable and boring. He is a clerk at an office and is set in his routine life with his wife and two kids and a little home. Then, all of a sudden, he becomes a celebrity. There is a show on television where they cover every stroke of his shaving, live. He gets invited to movie premieres where he is asked about what kind of underwear he wears - boxers or briefs, where a beautiful actress flirts with him and leaves him her number. Soon, wherever he goes, the paparazzi follows him with their cameras flashing. He gets so annoyed that he orders his chauffeur (yes, he gets a chauffeur too) to drive him away from all this madness.

Once they are away, he gets out of the car and complains to his chauffeur about how miserable his life is ever since he turned into a celebrity and how he wants it to end.

Just as suddenly as he had become a celebrity, a new random person, a truck driver, shoots into being a celebrity. And everyone quickly forgets who Leopoldo Pisanello is. For a while, he likes his life being back to normal. And then one day, as he is walking on the street with his wife, he grows despondent as people pass by him without acknowledging him. It drives him crazy that he has lost his celebrity status. And he turns hysterical, stopping random people on the street and asking them if they want his autograph and asking them if they want to know what Leopoldo Pisanello thinks about the culture of Italy and so on. All the while, his wife is trying to get him to snap out of this behaviour. Until he comes across the a man eating at a restaurant. The same man that he had complained to when he was a celebrity. The man who had been his chauffeur. He holds him by the collar, shakes him and talks to his wife, "This man knows who I am, who Leopoldo Pisanello is. He used to be my chauffeur. Tell her! Tell her!"

And the man tells him. "People are miserable when they are poor and unrecognised. People are miserable when they are celebrities. But like I told you the other day, it is better to be a celebrity."

This, of course, is only a minor sub plot in the movie. But one I enjoyed watching.

We are all miserable no matter what we achieve, how much money we make or how famous we are. It is only what we are miserable about that changes.

What if we strived to not be miserable instead?

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