Some friends of ours bought a house on the cul-de-sac where Tim McGraw and Faith Hill used to live. Every day, a couple of times a day, a tour bus would lurch up the hill, idle in front of our friends' house for a couple of minutes, then turn around and bump back down the hill. One reason a person buys a house in a cul-de-sac, of course, is to enjoy a little quiet and privacy. So one day our friend flagged down the tour bus as it came up the hill. "Don't you realize that this isn't Tim and Faith's house anymore?" he asked the tour guide. "Of course we realize it," the tour guide said. "But their new house is too far out in the country. It's easier just to come to this one."
Which brings up any number of questions, one of which is this: if Tim and Faith's old house is almost as tourworthy as Tim and Faith's current house, why not just show the paying customers a house that's similar to Tim and Faith's house? Maybe one that doesn't require pulling up a hill or turning the bus around in a cul-de-sac. I should mention that the house in question, while fabulous, wasn't more fabulous than the house owned by the surgeon next door or the house owned by the record producer next door to that. There are a hundred cul-de-sacs just like it in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Celebrity is surely a peculiar thing. On the radio the other day I heard about a survey in which middle schoolers were asked what they would like to be when they grow up. They had five choices to choose from:
- CEO of a Fortune 500 company
- Navy Seal
- U.S. Senator
- college president
- "personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star."
43% of the middle schoolers interviewed chose "personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star." Mind you, they weren't choosing to be the celebrity, only to carry the celebrity's suitcase. The next-closest choice (college president) only garnered 24% of the vote. It's a mystery, this desire to be close to celebrity. But in light of these survey results, perhaps it's no shock that people are willing to pay good money to see Tim and Faith's old house.
If you're interested, you can read more about the middle school fame survey at Jake Halpern's website. I'm warning you, though: it's a little depressing.