I Dream of Charlie with the Way Big Bong

Here are six key points I’d make to Charlie Sheen if for any bizzaro-world reason he happened to call or swing by my place looking for some input from me.

1. You’re still trapped by physical reality. Nobody “wins” over gravity or biology. You’re sure not. You look awful.

2. You totally stress out the people around you. The very few people around you who sincerely care about you at all are freaked at what a full-blown rambling ego-crazed drug addict you’ve become. And the ones who are sucking all the money off you they can before you die or wake up know they’re acting like craven jackals. So your presence isn’t exactly spreading happiness.

3. You’re rich and powerful just now because you starred in a sitcom. Standard, cookie-cutter sitcoms like Two and a Half Men are not exactly cultural or intellectual pinnacles. They’re advertising fodder. Two and a Half Men succeeded because of its stellar writing and phenomenal cast. But you, Charlie, are by far the weakest link in that cast. As an actor you make a superb mannequin. You got paid what you did because you have great hair, or the most killer agent in the history of handshakes, or something. But it’s certainly not because of your acting. On the show you always come across as exactly what you are: Charlie Sheen smugly dialing it in. Then the other actors start talking, and the show comes alive again.

4. You’re a people-pleaser. All anyone in the world wants is to be liked by everyone else in the world. You’re certainly no different. Might as well give into that. Drugs can’t keep you from the need of your heart.

5. You’re fooling no one. No one thinks you’re cool or superhuman. People think you’ve become what virtually all drug addicts in the throes of their addiction do, which is a severely deluded egomaniac. You’re way out of whack—and that’s not something you can hide. And you’re particularly bad at hiding it. People don’t think you’re magical. They think you think you’re magical. Not the same thing. At all.

6. You’re so normal. You were born with a splendid body and constitution, which is invaluable to your being a durable drug and sex addict. But trillions of people have your capacity for metabolizing drugs and partying all night. (And for you that ship’s set sail anyway; no one “wins” over time, either.) It’s just not that big of a deal. You like sex. You like to get high. Emotionally you’re twelve years old. You want people to like you. Could you be a guy any more normal? Get used to it, already. You’re one of us. We like us. We like you. Relax, already. You’re in, friend.

****

(I also wrote [in September of 2007] An Open Letter To Britney Spears.)

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • melissa

    With that title, this should go viral.

    Nothing worse than “surprisingly inferior weed”…from what I hear.

    • Tim

      In my stonie days, we called it buttweed. Tantamount to those Mexican “Horseshit Cigarettes” that kids could buy in the ’60′s in TJ for 25¢ a pack. Contrary to popular belief, they were the dried out floor sweepings left over at the cigarette factory that was an insult to the words”Hencho En Mexico”. The fictitious locale Shitville, City disavowed any proof that the product was manufactured south of the border.

  • http://gaychristiangeek.blogspot.com Rainicorn

    Weird, I had a dream about Charlie Sheen the other night too, but in my version we were doing meth. Only we took the meth by injecting it into our fingertips. I’m no expert – as a teen, I took a highly effective drug prevention program called “reading lots of Philip K. Dick” – but I love “Breaking Bad” enough that my subconscious ought to know that’s not how you take meth.

    Anyway, the dream ended with me running away in terror. I woke up and immediately inspected my fingertips for needle holes.

  • Mary

    “invaluable to you being a durable drug and sex addict”

    s/b

    “invaluable to your being a durable drug and sex addict”

    How in God’s name could John Shore not use a possessive before a gerund? Love you still.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Hah! Nice catch. Will change. (Oh–and John could have been cramming down breakfast and typing furiously in order to get the post up before driving his wife to work.)

      • Diana A.

        There is this.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I like the original better, for it indicates that it is Charlie who would find it invaluable (as such evaluations can only be made by a sentient being), while it also is he that is “being durable drug and sex addict”, meant as an adjectival phrase (initiated with an adjectival participle, rather than, as you have interpretted it—though it’s unapparent to me how exactly you did—a gerund), placing emphasis on that of his substance relevant to John’s reaching that conclusion.

  • Kara K

    One of the many things I learned when my ex-husband went on a 6 month meth/coke run is that amphetamines cannot be reasoned with. Everything you say here makes perfect sense to the normal brain, but the meth-addled brain hears only what it wants to hear.

    The meth-addled responses would be:

    1 You look awful. – But I feel so good it’s totally worth it.

    2 You stress people out. – They can’t keep up with me which proves I’m special and you’re an idiot.

    3 You are the weakest link. – Blah, blah, blah. The fact that my paycheck is more than the rest of the cast combined proves you’re an idiot.

    4 Drugs can’t keep you from the need of your heart. – I’m clean. No drugs. You haven’t been paying attention ‘cuz you’re an idiot.

    5 You’re fooling no one – @#%#$#%* you. I’m special. I’m clean and I’m special. And you’re an idiot.

    6 You’re normal – @#%#$#%* you. I’m special. I’m clean and I’m special. And you’re an idiot. I’m winning!

    • Susan

      Hahaha! Love this! So true!

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I think he would use the word “troll” instead of “idiot”. But, yeah, basically, yeah.

  • Tim

    I heard a local drive-time FM morning crew bagging all over SNL for making sport of Charlie’s “winning” plight. While enjoying the skit as a guilty pleasure, a big part of me feltl bad for Charlie, or anyone that is so out of touch with reality. However cackling morning crew showed no signs of cognitive dissonance while lampooning Gary Busey for simply saying that he was praying for Charlie. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Society is becoming increasingly graceless and class-less. I guess you can only pray for someone if you have no skeletons in your own closet.

  • Tim

    OK, this is my last Sheen-related comment. The media folks are tossing about the idea of replacing Sheen on the sit-com with just about anyone, and putting it in the reality TV milieu. Of course what makes it equally sad and interesting, is that they are banking on Charlie Tweeting his rants in realtime during each broadcast. CBS still stands to make money off Sheen without having to pay him a dime. Ick. Why don’t they shove Emilio into the role? Long lost brother shows up after the sudden death of Charlie Harper. See…anybody can be a sit-com pitch man.

  • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

    One thing I’ve learned from all of the Charlie Sheen-related stuff I’ve seen online is that I’m glad I get most of my news from NPR, where celebrity self-destruction isn’t viewed as newsworthy. I don’t get subjected to the deranged rants of this joker.

  • http://asad123.wordpress.com Asad

    I feel you’re missing something rather major here. Charlie Sheen needs to realize that there is a God – and it’s not that face that he sees in the mirror. We are not just here to use up our bodies. We are here to serve God by honoring him and cherishing the living world He created. I know it’s unlikely that he’s going to have a sudden conversion. But perhaps a gentle reminder will wake up some sense that’s buried deep in that melon.

    • Michael Rowe

      Charlie Sheen needs to learn to stop being such a dick. He has plenty of time to add a spiritual dimension to that realization when he develops some character.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        He who has no spirit has no character.

    • Diana A.

      Kara K.’s comment lower down in the thread is probably closest to the truth.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Amen, Asad (or amin, or however one might wish to pronounce it). We all do well to remember that God is ever the greater!

  • Debbie

    Jesus and Charlie were sitting in the pub…what do you think the conversation would go like?

    • http://www.facebook.com/john10423 John Gragson

      i don’t have an answer for that but it’s an awesome question.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    The results of my Highly Scientific Testing are in:

    Analytical make-up of present sample of Charlie Sheen behavior:

    1/4 brain damage resulting from drug abuse.

    1/4 psychological effects (and resulting physiological ones) of withdrawal.

    1/2 what he does best: acting. (It may seem like I’m going out on limb, but he’s been dropping hints in his more friendly interviews and even come at times the faintest bit close to breaking character, it would seem to me.)

    Regardless our personal impressions of his acting, the tastes of popular opinion allowed that Charlie Sheen be regarded, and widely respected (professionally, though not necessarily personally), as a professional and highly successful practitioner of his trade. It’s not that his hair and/or agent alone were just so much better than anyone else’s (In fact, his agent can be helped by the fact that–just as a skillful negotiator is half actor, half poker-player, and three-quarters of a politician–Mr. Sheen himself would appear to be an asset to negotiations; more on that later). If who the man is, which Mr. Shore opines is exactly who he comes across as on Two and a Half Men, is anything like what we see of him in “reality” (I’m not sure the real reality he has yet in his adult life graced with his presence), then it’s a wonder that he can come across so much less hyperactive, drug-fueled, frustrated, angry, and all around crazy on the television.

    It would seem, however, that to him (as for many performers—perhaps Mr. Shore’s father included), the world itself is basically but a stage, one’s life — an act, and lead actors typically desire to understand themselves as being in—or at least being deserving of—one of the star roles. But that leaves one in a pretty miserable place, disconnecting from reality, for its all so scripted—the way he or she lives is all just an act. And at some point—perhaps realizing that he can’t just disconnect from reality (not to say that he’s yet very well connected with it)—I feel Mr. Sheen has decided to take control for himself over writing the script—perhaps something the elder Mr. Shore never did manage to do, and, I believe, ultimately, Mr. Sheen won’t either. A poor conception of reality though that may be, it is one as natural for many actors as one without God is to many natural scientists—it’s just what makes sense for them, and to the extent that one can reconcile their worldview with that of the truth that’s revealed to them in a way that guides actions successful in maintaining that reality and presence for them in it in a way they find meaningful, then it works for them and I’ve no reason to object, as I should hardly suppose myself to have any understanding of reality so much the better actually. Yet it is in error to think to wrest control of the scripting: one should recognize the ones with control of the script and your part within it to be the show’s Creator, Producer, and Director: the triune God.

    Now, as Mr. Sheen says, “the scoreboard doesn’t lie”: the guy’s a loser at long term relationships with women, and now he’s lost his job. So he’s desperate for any and all ways that he can see himself as “winning”. Which is fine, so long as he remembers to look to the scoreboard so as not to get delusions about himself—it’s a fine line he’s struggling to learn to walk.

    Indeed, he seems to exaggerate his own greatness, to be sure. Nevertheless, to suggest he’s normal is to suggest that a regular guy can capture an audience the way he has. Most people don’t have the level of crazy necessary. Many say there’s a fine line between genius and insanity; perhaps many are bamboozeled by those standing to gain a few bucks into thinking that something that doesn’t make much sense to them (like over-valued works of so many artistic masters) is simply too far over their heads, rather than just plain not making of sense. In any case, it’s a good thing he’s not normal—a society of Charlie Sheens couldn’t survive very long.

    Regardless if he’s more certifiable than certified genius, he’s no idiot. You see, he’s actually going about trying to keep / get back his job / pay in just about the most brilliant way he could have (note his unnerving apparent readiness to go to extremes, the playing up of his awesomeness, and creating hype over himself via any and every outlet available, among other things). And of course it’s not the goal but the journey that life’s all about really: in the end it doesn’t matter if he gets what all he is confident of “winning”; what matters right now is that he finds the exhilaration he sought from drugs in more real, more appropriate, less dangerous pursuits. That way, he just get “high on Charlie Sheen”, which, to hear him describe it, is one epic high for sure. For him apparently AA just wasn’t working, and as the Lord taught us, when you cast out demons, they’re only going to come back unless something else takes their place. Now, certainly he still has his demons, and legion, but taking away the cocaine takes out one of their commanding officers. It’s one step at a time: he doesn’t yet know how to appropriately love himself and others. (It’s possible that, besides the rationalization of self-promotion that allows him to it, an emotive reason in his suddenly exhibiting a certain egomania is that he is just now—finally at a state of maturity typically attained by the later teen years, and sober for a change—establishing perhaps some sort of self-worth independent of some besought favorable evaluation of his father, whose acting he idolizes.) I sense that this all is, at its core, Mr. Sheen’s way of trying, and we cannot learn unless we try (and we get better results the more soberly we try, even if we may have to pass through the shadow to reach the light). That’s not to say he’ll succeed (whatever that would really mean in this case), but God bless him.

  • http://farfromthisshore.wordpress.com Don Whitt

    Sheen’s just another self-medicated, self-soothing tragedy.

    But why the hell are we for staring at him?

    I feel more pity for us as a culture and the schadenfreude we’re exhibiting with regards to Mr. Sheen. It has become our great nat’l sport. Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, etc. Our culture uses these people LIKE a drug: We think we feel better about ourselves by looking at these messed-up people. They have “everything”, but they lose it through ignorance and emotional issues and that informs us, in an equally screwed-up way, that we’re doing relatively great. Pathetic. All of it.

  • Don Rappe

    I pray for Carlito, he’s a sick man and I pray that God will give me no dreams about him.


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