Shia, We Hardly Knew Ye

It’s all over the interweb, Shia LeBeouf is quitting public life!  If you’re like me, there are two questions which immediately spring to mind: 1) Who the hell is Shia LeBeouf? and 2) Why should someone like myself give a rat’s ass that I may never find out who the hell he is?

This is what he looks like.  Still, not even a flicker of recognition in my brain, maybe he looks different when he's fighting robots.  (Image from Wikipedia dot org)
This is what he looks like. Still, not even a flicker of recognition in my brain, maybe he looks different when he’s surrounded by robots. (Image from Wikipedia dot org)

A quick Google search has revealed that Shia (we’re on a first name basis now) is an actor.  For your edification, Shia is pronounced SHY-uh, and essentially rhymes with Hi-ya.  It’s odd that I discovered this just in time to say goodbye-ah.  With that name, he was bound to end up a thespian or a temperamental chef.

No soup for paparazzi!  (Image from screencrush dot com)
No soup for paparazzi! (Image from screencrush dot com)

Lebeouf got his start in a show on the Disney channel – and somehow I missed it!  Later, he went on to featured roles in quite a few flicks I’ve never seen, including all three of the toy-based block buster “Transformers” movies.  As a self-proclaimed old codger, I’m more interested in getting enough fiber in my diet than I am in seeing films about tractor trailers which transform into giant flying killer-robots.  Lebeouf was also featured in one of the fourteen Indiana Jones movies.  Once again, my taste in movies kept me from dropping ten bucks to see what death defying hijinx Harrison Ford was up to this time.  I’m not really an Indiana Jones fan anyway, but I’m pretty sure Shia did not play the cute little Asian kid in the mining car.

See!?  He looks like a Camaro, but he transforms into this cool killer robot thing, right?  Okay, so how do we fill the other 89 minutes of the movie?  (Image from tfcool dot com)
See!? He looks like a Camaro, but he transforms into this cool killer robot thing, right? Okay, so how do we fill the remaining 89 minutes of the movie? (Image from tfcool dot com)

Like many young actors, Shia’s been in a few scrapes with the law.  At one point, a neighbor was chatting with someone in his car and blocking Shia from getting into his driveway.  According to a witness, Shia rammed the guy’s car and threatened him.  In another instance, Shia supposedly got into trouble for not leaving a Chicago Walgreen’s when asked to do so by management.

Both of these unfortunate incidents must have made good fodder for the gossip rags.  Though I have never spoken with Shia about these two stories, I’m entitled to my opinions.  As for the first one, I feel bad for Lebeouf; if you’re getting blocked from accessing your own driveway, it damn well better be for a good reason.  Such reasons might include firefighters getting a kitten out of a tree or perhaps vindictive staffers of a politician having jammed up a certain bridge to send somebody a little message.  One could also be expected to accept traffic issues if a piece of earth moving equipment from a nearby construction site had transformed into a massive automaton with death-ray capabilities and was terrorizing the neighborhood.  If that yahoo from across the street was sitting there in his mid-life crisis Porsche chatting it up with his 26 year old piece of eye candy, then a little bumper ramming might have been in order.  As for the Walgreen’s incident, you’re on your own, Shia.  I’ve been in a few Walgreen’s and I don’t understand why anyone would want to stay in there one second longer than necessary – just pick up your anti-fungal cream and get the hell out.

Sorry about your driveway access, Shia.  You shoulda thought of that before you bought a multimillion dollar home in a town whose mayor doesn't want to play ball, know what I mean?  (Image from freedomoutpost dot com)
Sorry about your driveway access, pal. You shoulda thought of that before you bought a multimillion dollar home in a town whose mayor doesn’t want to play ball, know what I mean?  How about some baked goods, show you I’m not such a bad guy?  (Image from freedomoutpost dot com)

In any case, that’s the life of a movie star.  People follow you around and everything you do is under a microscope.  I can’t believe that no one ever told Shia about that clause in the job description.  I’m not sure he’s going to continue acting while avoiding the public eye, or just quit the Hollywood rat race entirely.  The answer to that question is surely somewhere in his statement about quitting public life.  To find out more, I’d have to go read it, and my attention to Lebeouf’s headlines would only fan the flames he’s trying to extinguish.  As for the irony of someone who’s in the public eye using that very same fame and media access to announce that he’s retiring from public life, I’ll leave that for a more clever writer to discuss.  I don’t have the time to write that post, I’ve got to contact my cable provider to find out why I don’t get the Disney channel.

Notes From An Old Codger – Volume I

I swear, he sold me a bag of fried pork rinds and a bottle of Mountain Dew outside of Little Rock! (Photo from phojoe.com)

When I was young, just decades ago, I swore to myself that I would never become old and out of touch.  Little did I know that even as I made those solemn pledges to myself, the process had already begun.  I’d developed a fondness for types of music which would eventually be played on the Musak system at the supermarket.  I’d played outdoors and lived with grass stains and no seat belts, in a world devoid of video games and on-demand entertainment.  My favorite hairstyles would not hold up well to male-pattern-baldness.  The final straw was having children.  Those hyper-sensitive critics who would have a real problem with my trying to dress or act  like anyone but a Dad.

I read a post recently, where Life With The Top Down referred to a man she’d met.  She wrote that he reminded her of Cee Lo Green.  I have to admit that prior to seeing him in a soft drink commercial a few months ago, I had no idea that Cee Lo existed.  Once I did see him on that ad, I still had no idea who he was and had no desire to find out why 7-Up decided he was famous enough to represent their product.

My disconnection from popular culture has become disturbingly common.  As I wait in line at the supermarket, my cart packed with plenty of roughage, denture cream and a Valu-Pak of Depends, I glance at the tabloids out of sheer boredom.  The headlines scream for my attention as they always have, but using names I don’t recognize.  Apparently So-and-So has admitted to cheating on What’s-His-Name.  In another blockbuster chunk of news, Whosie Whatsie has gone back into rehab due to her dependence upon drugs which I haven’t even heard of.  While the infidelity and substance abuse issues of people in the public eye shouldn’t be my business to begin with, the fact that I don’t recognize a single name of any of the participants just gnaws at me.  In my heart of hearts, I know that as a good American, I should care about the trials and tribulations of these strangers, but I’ve never heard their songs or seen their movies.  At this point, it seems like too much work to learn who they are so that their addictions have meaning to me.

Besides, gossip and bad news don’t work that way.  You’re supposed to “know” the person first, then be surprised and concerned when you find out about all their problems.  If you know about the star’s crippling dependancy on lethal cocktails of barbituates, stool softeners and bath salts before you even know who they are, it just ruins the whole emotional experience.  It’s like putting the cart before the horse’s ass.

Once upon a time, the tabloids were simpler.  Superstars like Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Elvis were in almost every single issue.  Even in death, they showed up.  The formula was simple: take a really famous person with some peculiar lifestyle choices, and speculate about every single aspect of their bizarre lives.  If you had nothing to go with, just make something up.  Many’s the time where Elvis was resurrected from the grave and reported to have been sighted working at a mini-mart in rural Arkansas.  Michael Jackson giving you a slow week?  No problem, he can be abducted by aliens.  When Liz Taylor and Michael got together, the stories wrote themselves.

Now people who aren’t even through the 9th minute of their 15 minutes of fame are already all over the gossip rags.   I saw an article about a woman who had done something stupid.  For the life of me, I couldn’t begin to figure out who or what this woman was.  She may have been a singer, an actress or the newly discovered wife of North Korea’s President for Life.

Fortunately, I have a bevvy of younger, hipper people working around me who I can refer my questions to.  In a pathetic attempt to try to stay in touch, I approached one of my coworkers for info.

“Who the hell is {insert name here}?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, she’s one of the Real Housewives of {insert locale here}” my colleague answered, looking at me to see if I was seriously even asking that question.  “She’s the one who had the big fight with {insert second name here}.  She threw the {circle appropriate projectile – table / chair / Chihuahua / bottle of Cristal} at her!”

My colleague made a face of expectation, waiting for the light of recognition to flicker on in my ancient eyes.  I tried my best to fake it, closing my eyes as I rolled my head slightly to the side.

“Oh!  Right RIGHT!  The one who threw the thing at the other one!” I said, hoping she’d let this matter drop.

She looked at me with pity, pretending to be unaware that I was lying.

It’s no use, I’ll never keep up with a culture which changes at the speed of Tweets.

I guess I should accept my status and start mowing the lawn in loafers, dark socks and Bermuda shorts.  It’s clearly time to embrace my inner old codger.  I’ll regale anyone who’ll listen with stories about how football used to be a man’s sport, played without gloves or Darth Vader visors.  After all, football season is nearly upon us.  I saw a commercial for the NFL just the other day.

There were shaking pom-poms on the screen.  I waited in eager anticipation to see who was behind them.  I hoped that it was Ann Margaret or maybe Raquel Welch. You can imagine my disgust when the pom-poms dropped to reveal the smiling mug of Cee Lo.