Dim Lights, Big Kitty

“I wouldn’t want to be in that guy’s shoes right now.”

I’ve said that about someone before. Most of us have.

We’ve also wanted to be in other people’s shoes too though, right?

I wonder if Michael Vick ever has?

It wasn’t that long ago when fans and athletes would’ve given most anything just to be him ... to be dominant, unstoppable and adored in the sports world. To be rich and famous. To have it all. Now, most of America would sooner clean cages at an illegal dog fighting complex than be the Atlanta Falcon’s (possibly former) star quarterback. I’m guessing Vick included.

Hero to zero. Sounds tragic.

But it should be great for us normal people. It should validate everything we do. All the sudden, compared to a down-on-their-luck celebrity, we are the special, non-degenerate, ones. I bet after a few weeks of hard knocks under the limelight, they would do anything to trade places with us. I bet some would even want to “Be like Mike.” Not Jordan. McGuire.

Makes sense. If the fake me was rich, famous and beautiful – but life was in the crapper – I would much rather be the real me; poor, anonymous and overweight – but happy.

And why not? My velcro shoes are looking pretty comfortable right now compared to some people’s footwear. Think about it.

Would you rather:

• Sometimes get a suspension notice in the mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles (me) – or – get indicted by the feds for financially backing a dogfighting ring (Vick)?

• Bribe co-workers and higher-ups into giving you the “Employee of the Year” award (me) – or – get busted for abusing your position as an NBA referee to fix games and run bets with the mob (Tim Donaghy)?

• Take a break from writing this column to eat Chinese buffet and get so disoriented you forget to come back to work to finish it (me) – or – get nailed for drugs and D.U.I. in Beverly Hills and become so disoriented you get nailed for drugs and D.U.I in Beverly Hills again a few weeks later (Lindsay Lohan)?

Why not dream to be in my shoes? Why not one day live the slow, boring and tedious life? There’s nothing wrong with it – aside from the heartburn and lousy TV dinners. It’s life in the fast lane that isn’t all it’s cracked-up to be. It’s too hard to get there and too easy to muck it up. Nope, instead of “Bright Lights, Big City,” I’d rather live like an old maid; “Dim Lights, Big Kitty.”

Not to say high-profile problems couldn’t find me in the slow lane. But my chances of throwing away a legendary amount of talent and promise are slim. If you’re famous, it’s expected.

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