People I Used to Like

I used to like Bill Cosby. As a 1960s standup comic, he was funny, smart, insightful, and warm. More important, he also was a pioneer, a role model, and held a special place in the history of the World of Entertainment. He broke ground. In the 1980s he reinvented sitcoms with The Cosby Show, a monumental ratings success. Some people watched it simply because it was good comedy. Others watched for the family dynamic. There were viewers who tuned in to witness the growth and development of the young actors. I watched to see the sweaters. Cosby, as Cliff Huxtable, wore the best sweaters. I just wish, in hindsight, he had kept them on.

I used to like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. First of all, he was, and is, a damn good quarterback. But more important to a shallow person like me, he was the most beautiful man God had ever created. His face and body were perfection. Then came “deflate-gate” and the luster was tarnished. The scandal was bad enough, but the way Brady handled it made him look downright ugly. He may be a Hall of Fame-bound quarterback, but I respect and like him less than a quarter of what I used to.

I used to like Sofia Vergaro. When most Americans met her during the first season of Modern Family, she was likeable, funny, and fresh.  But with time, I am afraid, she has become monotonous, a Juanita-One-Note. She is always the same, whether playing Gloria, guesting on a talk show, or selling something in a commercial.  When she appears on a red carpet, another form of monotony appears. She has one look. Skin-tight. mermaid-style, low cut dresses. While it does work, I’m over it. I think, for Christmas, Sofia should ask for variety. Besides, the Carmen Miranda/Charo bit has been done before. And better.

I used to like Tiger Woods. I am not a golfer, but I watched countless tournament final rounds because of Tiger.  He was heroic, entertaining, and exciting in his dominance of the game.  Then he married Swede Elin Nordegren and we found out he wasn’t so heroic, so infallible.  The disappointment I felt was worse than a triple Bogey on the final hole of a play-off or a flying divot covered in dog doo.

I used to like Ellen DeGeneris. But the constant self-promotion of her product lines and herself has, for me, overshadowed the good she does, the positive contributions she makes to the world. As far as I am concerned, the bloom has worn off the rose. For the record, I have nothing against self-promotion (I have four books available on Amazon!), but, Ellen, enough is enough. I don’t feel like dancing with you anymore.

I used to like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. My disenchantment with them has nothing to do with their affiliation with the Church of Scientology or their denying the constant rumors of their other-than-hetero sexuality. It has to do with their artificiality; they no longer are real or authentic when interviewed. Every time we see either of them, we are witnessing a performance. I don’t believe Cruise or Travolta have shown their fans or former fans a genuine moment, an honest look at them in perhaps 20 years. So, may I have the envelope please …the Oscar for worst performance by an actor goes to…

I used to like Kelly Ripa. I still watch the first 15 minutes of Live With Kelly regularly. But if I hear her say the words “I” or “my” one more time, I will be forced to watch the how-did-she-get-a-show The Wendy Williams Show instead. But Kelly’s constant self-involved chatter and dominance of conversations is going to force me to watch something else while I down my Coco Puffs and coffee.

Speaking of Kelly Ripa, I used to like Michael Strahan. As Kelly’s cohost, he was perfect. They had, in my eyes, a special chemistry. And it was an unexpected surprise. His role so contradicted his image as a Hall of Fame football defensive lineman and sports commentator. Then he, unexpectedly, left the show for Good Morning America. And continue as a weekend sports commentator. And to be a game show host. And do more commercials. And head a clothing line. Just how much exposure do you need, Michael, to feel satisfied? You want more exposure? Come to my place and take your clothes off. I guarantee you’ll feel satisfied.

I used to like…and the fact they are on this list may surprise many…Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Both, I believe, have stayed too long at the fair. Both needed to get off the bus at an earlier stop. Hillary, I feel, should have read the writing on the wall in 2008 when a seemingly certain Democratic presidential nomination was snatched by Barack Obama. She should have realized then that the baggage she was carrying on the bus, whether her own or handed to her by shady station lurker, might have been heavier than she realized. That might have been an advantageous time to step away from elected positions, glass-ceiling dreams, fairgrounds, and bus rides. Pelosi, on the other hand, could have waited until the 2016 defeat of the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, to read the writing on the wall. Instead, she immediately ran for re-election as Minority Speaker of the House, and won, disregarding the messages the electorate sent earlier that month. The Democrats need new leadership, new direction, and a new image. You missed your stop, Nancy. You should have gotten off the bus at the fairgrounds. And then left the fair at closing time.

What do all these people, former favorites of mine, have in common? Ego. EGO. EGO. Each has let their ego get out of control. And, while their fame and successes make that somewhat understandable, each has been or will be doomed, I believe, by their self-conceit. It is time for all of them to, as Quincy Jones told the large gathering of stars when they arrived at the studio to record “We are the World” in 1985, check your ego at the door.

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