Think You Can Be Famous, And A Canadian Child Actor?
It was around eleven p.m. on a Saturday, when I found myself standing in line at a convenience store waiting to buy a pack of Trident. In front of me was this skinny seventeen year old raver chick buying lollipops, probably stocking up for an evening of ecstasy driven jaw grinding. She made her purchase, and stopped when she saw my imposing six foot four frame. She stared at me with this slight tinge of recognition. Trying to figure out if I was the one who played the lovable yet naive character Snake on the teen drama Degrassi Jr. High. (Later Degrassi High) Being a huge television star, I’m used to people recognizing me. So I wasn’t exactly surprised when this girl took hold of my arm and asked, “Hey! Weren’t you on Degrassi Jr. High?” Being the polite superstar, I looked her straight in the eye, flashed my pearly whites and said, “Yes. Yes I am.” “Wow”, she replied. “You’re so old!” Visibly distraught she turned and skipped away. I was unnerved. I know I’ve aged since my Degrassi days, but damn it, I’m not in Depends yet. I mean come on, I’m only twenty-seven, could you cut me a little slack?
It took me somewhere between three to five minutes to get over the pain and anguish from this evil child’s words. This was only one of the many trials and tribulations I’ve had to deal with growing up in the public eye. There are those days when celebrity has it’s perks and others when you despise it. I usually gauge the situation on how attractive the onlooker happens to be. However, when all is said and done, it could be worse; I could have grown up in the States. If Degrassi had been an American sitcom, I’m sure I’d be telling a much different story. First of all, I’d be stinkin’ rich, but we’ll move past that issue. By now there would be detailed documentation of my youthful rebellion . Every time I bought a gun or smoked crack or robbed a liquor store, there I’d be. Every time I slept with the actress who played my mother, or drank a forty of Nighttrain, just to get through a scene, it’d be spun on print. I haven’t done any of these things, but like all of us, I’ve performed my fair share of moronic acts. None of which ever made it on the cover of the Toronto Sun.
There is one very simple reason why my life isn’t a public shamble today (notice I said “public”). Canadians just don’t care. We’ve watched Americans for years with their long tradition of eating their own; of building up their heroes, then tearing them down. North of the border we’re willing to watch, but not so willing to partake in the festivities. Would the average Canadian really care if Ernie Coombs of “Mister Dress-up” fame (Canadian children’s show involving puppets) turned out to have a secret life involving leather chaps, whips and maple syrup? If Lloyd Robertson (Canadian news anchor) had a penchant for piercing. Or if Bruno Gerussi (actor who starred in a long running Canadian drama centred around logging) has been cryogenically preserved somewhere in northern BC? Perhaps ,who knows? Although, I doubt it.
Through the years, I’ve seen my fair share of young (and old) Canadian celebrities doing some ugly things. No one from the press is interested. Canadians are too polite to actually write the “dirty” stories. You’d have to have do something so filthy, that even if you weren’t famous it would still be front-page news. It’s no one’s fault, Canadians just have a severe lack of self interest. Anyway, most Canadian celebrities are so damned old, do we really want to know how they spend their private moments? Gossip and character assassination is a young man’s game and until we get some other young celebrities besides Sarah Polley, fuck it. Who gives a shit? I certainly don’t.
I’ve actually come up with a proposal for the Canadian government. Depending on how much celebrity status a Canadian actor, socialite, politician, etc. has accumulated, the government will grant an allowance to said celebrity for the purpose of getting him or herself into serious trouble. Then said person will we be able to fly to Rio so he can be arrested for buggering a bikini-clad transvestite. The newspapers can report on it, and a whole new industry will evolve.
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