MAY 31, 2007
A LIFE WORTH SAVING?
I don't know if mine is a life worth saving, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to give up watching TV.
Every time I turn it on, I land on an entertainment news show. Even if I switch to the local news, they spend half the broadcast reporting from the red carpet of movie premieres all over town — the ones that I'm no longer invited to. I'm so off the list, they probably wouldn't even let me be a cater-waiter. I'm now convinced that the television is taunting me, in "A Clockwork Orange" kind of way, forcing me to watch scenes from my former life as a Wife Of to remind me of my new place in the Hollywood pecking order: Starter Wife.
When Kenny and I were first married and he was moving up the ladder at Durango, attending movie premieres was fun and glamorous — far beyond anything I could've imagined while eating tuna out of the can and watching "Entertainment Tonight" in my first crappy apartment in Los Angeles. Even before Kenny achieved mogul status, he always let me splurge to get my hair and makeup professionally done so I could look and feel my best in the spotlight. (Little did I know that that was only the tip of the mythic Iceberg Upkeep.) The first few times we walked the red carpet I felt like a movie star, albeit a D-List one. I knew that the only photographers taking pictures of us worked for the trades, but I felt proud posing for the camera on the arm of my smart, ambitious, increasingly powerful husband and secure in the knowledge that he had chosen me, not some plastic blonde bimbo Botoxed within an inch of her life.
We were on our way to becoming Hollywood's newest Power Couple.
But it soon became clear that there was more to my "job" as a Wife Of than showing up and looking pretty — not that I didn't do that part flawlessly. So I figured out ways to be a true asset to Kenny's career, especially when we socialized with his industry peers. Like being his eyes and ears: I became skilled at picking up juicy tidbits of other people's conversations without overtly eavesdropping or falling off of my sky-high stilettos. I also spent hours every week studying the daily trades and memorizing names, faces, credits and box office earnings to become his portable Hollywood database. Whenever someone would approach Kenny, I would whisper the vital stats in his ear so he was never caught not remembering someone he had met before or brushing off the wrong person. That way he also knew whether he should be sucking up to so-and-so or letting them suck up to him — a very important distinction in La-La Land and one that is always in as much flux as a starlet's weight.
Not so long ago, playing the part of Wife Of as well as any award-winning actress during every premiere, test screening, bar mitzvah, business dinner and spa day with the other executives' wives seemed life-and-death important. But now that my marriage is over and I've been fired for all intents and purposes, I don't know what part I'm supposed to play, other than that of a good mother to Jaden.
So, is mine "a life worth saving"? I now know that that life — the one I had with Kenny — is not worth trying to revive. Even though it was his decision to call it quits, now that I realize I was living his life — not my own — I don't want to go back. I've been given a second chance. And as everyone who's anyone in Hollywood knows, a second chance is about as rare as there being no traffic on the I-10.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.