Sunday, March 14, 2010

If only I had become Mrs. Corey Feldman...

We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture. Magazines like US Weekly, Star, and OK! line the shelves with enticing photographs of famous and beautiful people, with hints that their lives may be even more miserable and complicated than our own. Perez Hilton and the hard-working folks at TMZ work tirelessly to keep us up to date on how truly screwed up the lives of celebrities are. Many people eat this stuff up and escape their own mundane day-to-day lives by immersing themselves in the glamorous and tragic lives of celebrities. I am not one of those people.

Most popular culture celebrity references go right over my head. Unless it's Kanye West on an awards show during a slow news week, I'm pretty oblivious to what's going on in the lives in the rich and famous. The reason I feel it is necessary to explain how removed I am from celebrities is because I'm inclined to do something that feels very out of character. It is one simple gesture, but maybe it could turn into a slippery slope toward obsessive fandom.

I read that Corey Haim's mother is seeking donations to help pay for his funeral expenses. I am usually pretty unaffected by celebrity deaths, but when Corey Haim passed away last week, I felt like a dark cloud was hovering over my childhood. My crush was actually on Corey Feldman, but the two Coreys came as a packaged set back in the 80s and early 90s. Posters of both Coreys lined my walls and I was determined to marry Corey Feldman and one of my classmates was going to marry Corey Haim and we were going to live happily ever after, right next door to one another. We had no doubts that as soon as the Coreys met us, they would realize that all of the beautiful celebrities they dated paled in comparison to the devotion of two Midwestern girls. Unfortunately, we had to find a way to meet them first. That was the biggest hurdle, I think. It never worked out.

It feels really silly, but I may have to make a donation to Corey Haim's memorial fund. It feels silly for a couple of reasons - one of which is that the amount of cash I could afford to donate would not buy much more than a floral arrangement. Also, I have no personal relationship with this person and the idea of giving money to a celebrity just feels... backward.

The request for donations went out on Friday, and since then I have read that they have had some support from the city of Toronto (where the funeral will be held) and a celebrity auction site is rumored to have offered a sizable donation to help pay funeral expenses. Still, something pulls at me to contribute a modest donation to this fund.

I watched the A&E reality TV show The Two Coreys in 2008 (the one reality TV show I actually watched) and I do believe the reports that Haim probably was broke when he died. I hardly recognized him as the fresh-faced kid from The Lost Boys whose photos lined my pre-teen bedroom walls. The show centered on the fractured relationship between Haim and Feldman. They both had conflicting chips on their respective shoulders. Feldman seemed to have his act together a bit better than Haim, although he should never ever ever write and perform another love song for his wife. Under no circumstances should another performance take place like the one I witnessed on that show. It was bad even by reality television standards.

Even still, knowing that my small donation will make little difference, knowing that it may not be as badly needed as originally thought, and knowing that there are many other charitable ways I could part with my money, I think I'm going to make a donation. I never knew him personally, and he never got to marry my friend, but watching his films and obsessing over the Coreys as a kid is a happy memory for me. The subsequent path he took through life toward self-indulgence and self-destruction is sad, and his untimely death is tragic, but my memory of his work and my absurd childhood obsession is a pleasant one. I'm not sure if it's rational, but it makes me feel a little bit better to be one of the many people who let his family and loved ones know that he made a positive impact in our life. Plus, maybe I also feel a little bit of regret. If my friend and I had just tried a little bit harder and been a little more proactive in our plan to marry the Coreys, his life would have been very different. If only he had married a younger, awkward, obsessed, Midwestern fan.

[update: 3/17/10. In case you're wondering, I ended up donating $25 to the Memorial Fund. It's not much, but it's at least one dollar for every Corey poster to ever hang on my walls.]


Jenna said...

Awww, good blog! I did notice the City of Toronto was going to foot the bill for the funeral, or just a portion?

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Jenna. :-) Everything I've read about the City of Toronto says that the City hasn't made an official statement. So I'm not sure what's going on. Those Canadians do have that reputation for being polite, though! It sounds like a very Canadian thing to do. :)