Shia LaBeouf's performance art piece in Los Angeles has changed the way our society looks at celebrity. It's a groundbreaking work, the likes of which have never been seen before. Obviously, copycats were bound to start springing up, eager to siphon off some creative juice from such an original piece of art. Fortunately, the first one out of the gate to get a taste of the action was My Secret Identity star Jerry O'Connell, who opened a performance art installation right next door to Shia.
A massive crowd formed, eager to get a glimpse at what their hero had planned for them. Literally, the line was almost all the way to the next storefront. I counted at least fifteen people, maybe twenty. It was overwhelming, much like Jerry O'Connell's performance in Kangaroo Jack.
Even the security guard was humbled at the sight of the name "Jerry O'Connell." He couldn't contain his excitement and neither could I. We hugged, discussed our equally tenuous relationships with our respective mothers, and said a small prayer to the earth god, Gaia, before composing ourselves. We were in public, after all.
A woman stepped behind me in line and asked, "what's this for? Shia LaBeouf?" I responded, "Jerry O'Connell." She shrugged and walked off. She was definitely too nervous to meet Jerry O'Connell.
The line for Shia took a massive hit because of Jerry's epic presence next door. The only remaining visitors to Shia's installation were nobodies, tourists, normal people, fatties, and Time magazine writer Joel Stein. I couldn't be bothered.
There was a real excitement in the air. Everyone was getting into the spirit of things. Especially this guy, who thought to do his own art project on the sidewalk. Thanks to his ingenuity… and me being complicit with his blatant, shameful attention-seeking, he is now famous. That's a paradox that really makes you think, which is what art's all about.
As I made my way through the door, a palpable sense of dread overtook me. What could be in store? Surely, I would be learning something about myself, and connecting with a human being in a very real way. I'd definitely cry. He'd definitely cry. If I didn't cry, could I complain? If I complained, would he say sorry? So many questions.
A stuffed animal, a bowl of printed-out tweets, a spaceship, some pliers, a vase, a bottle of whiskey, and a Blu-Ray copy of Stand By Me were laid out on a table.
Part of me hoped that this was some kind of foreshadowing, and Corey Feldman would be behind the curtain. He is, as you know, a big fan of VICE and would surely greet me with open arms and a full heart.
Out of context, this means nothing. In context, it means everything.
I was led into the room, and was immediately hit in the face with a stench reminiscent of wet bologna that's been sitting out in the sun for hours. Like, a homeless person dropped some lunch meat from their coat pocket while running to catch the bus, and it just sat there, oozing and boiling on the pavement all day long. People just keep stepping over the bologna like it's not there, but it smells so bad, that you can't help but notice.
That's how it felt to meet Jerry O'Connell.
Either someone left Jerry a sandwich as a peace offering, there had been some copious farting going on during the day, or I was suffering the beginning symptoms of a stroke.
I was one of the last lucky people to make it in to meet Jerry before they closed for the day, so a few remaining guests came back for another photo with the Bagged One. I didn't get to ask any questions, tell him how much I love Sliders, or ask when Tomcats 2 is coming out. He just kept apologizing over and over again, no matter what was said to him. He apologized for the performance ending. He said sorry for not being able to take his bag off. He apologized for the smell of moist meat. He apologized for taking photos with fans.
I learned a lot about the cost of fame, and a little bit about human nature. In truth, we are all sorry for something. Some of us, like Shia LaBeouf, are sorrier than others. If that doesn't make you contemplate your existence, what will? I say thank you to Jerry O'Connell for shaking me out of my apathy.