Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Scott Baio is 45, and an ass

... but he's an ass I recognize

Ok, a few disclaimers before we begin so you understand my biases:

1. I HATE reality TV
2. I really dislike Scott Baio, and pretty much every show he's been in

The 8 weeks or so I've been going through a severe bout of insomnia. I haven't had more than two hours sleep in a row, or more than 4 hours in a given 24 hour period, since late May (a couple days before the Texas trip). This has generally meant a lot of reading; but on occasion I watch some late night TV (especially history/discovery/learning channel stuff).

Well, tonight I watched the new Scott Baio reality show "Scott Baio is 45 and single"... and this is embarrasing... because I saw one of his ex girlfriends in a promo commercial, and I couldn't remember her name. It was REALLY bugging me, because I'm incredibly anal retentive about stuff that I know but can't remember, so I wanted to see if they mentioned it in the show (they didn't directly mention her in this episode, but she's supposed to be in the next one and her name - Julie McCullough, who was on Growing Pains - was mentioned in the teasers for that episode).

Really, I was reading about the history of Ubuntu (about ten layers deep on a mindwalk that started with a Slashdot posting) and I just had the show on for background noise waiting to see if they said the girls name; but I was half listening to his story, his behavior, his attitudes etc.. and I realized something.

Baio is an ass, but I kinda like the guy... because he's a hell of a lot like my best friend Jim (well, if Jim had been a child star who got to screw supermodels anyway).

He's a fairly typical "I never grew up because I didn't have to" type, and now he's 45 and having to re-assess where his life is at. He's decided that he really loves his girlfriend and wants to be with her, but he can't decide if he can settle down and be married or not. He's cheated on everyone he's ever been with except his current girlfriend, he's slept around at every opportunity, and there have been a lot of opportunities (hey, he WAS a TV star, even if he was a Kinda lame one); and he jsut can't figure out where hes gone wrong with relationships in the past.

So he's hired a "life coach"... most of whom are total scam artists, but this one actually has a PHD in psychology.. so if she's a scam artist she's at least a well qualified one; and she seems to be steering him on the right track so far.

Jim just got engaged to his MUCH older girlfriend, who he's lived with for a little less than a year. He's decided he's going to settle down, try and do something with his life.

He's been a car salesman since he was 18 minus the year he was in the army (only one year because of a medical discharge. His lungs got scarred during ranger school, when he inhaled tear gas while he was not fully recovered from a case of pneumonia); and he's got nothing to show for it, except a mountain of debt, and three kids that he loves desperately but can't ever see because they're with their total psycho bitch mother in New Jersey (I say total psycho bitch advisedly. Shes on 100% disability for her mental problems).

So, I'm looking at Baios life patterns and his actions, and his attitudes; and I see my best friend right there, in that same position. He's a little younger and a lot poorer, but he's basically right there; an overgrown teenager having wasted his life, and now facing the prospect of being a grownup for the first time.

The one big difference though, is that Baios best friend is actually WORSE than he is. He's piggy backed on Baios arrested development, and lived a rather pathetic shadow life next to Baios, defining himself only as "Scotts best friend".

I'm exactly the opposite. I'm the kid who grew up at age 5, left home at 16, and been out on my own ever since. I've been the responsible adult in the family since I was 7; and I've been the stabilizing (and occaisonally rescuing) influence in Jims life that entire time (and I mean that literally. Jim and I have been best friends since we were 7).

Mel was saying to Jim and his finacee the other day "I don't now how you've managed to survive this long"... in response to some ridiculous stunt that he had pulled in his early 20s... and he looked over at me, pointed, and in all seriousness said "You're looking at him right there".

I'm not Jims keeper by any means. I don't run his life. I'm just there for him when he needs me. I don't let him abuse my friendship, I've cut him off before; but he's always brought it back under control, and he's finally starting to turn things around.

In some ways, having me has certainly kept Jim alive, and helped him; in others it's also enabled him to screw up for so long. I try not to be an enabler, but in some circumstances, it happened. Now, Jim has recognized what the problems are, and he's working at fixing them.

So I guess Jim has me, and Baio has his life coach.

Personally, I'd rather just have a good best friend; but Baio is surrounded by enablers. He doesn't have a functioning adult best friend. He needs to pull the sycophant anchor off his neck, and start listening to people who are both his friends, and who are functioning adults; or he's just going to keep going down the same path. He, like Jim, needs to recognize what his problems are, and work at fixing them.

But... never grow up too much OK? Jim wouldn't be Jim if he was 100% grown up, he'd just be some guy. I'm not best friends with some guy, I'm best friends with Jim.

I'd say Baio is the same. He needs to keep the kid in him; but grow up around it.

Not exactly an easy thing to do really...