When I was younger, it was "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Now, thanks to VH1 and MTV series like "The Fabulous Life" and "Cribs," we common folk are increasingly aware of the, well, fabulous excesses of celebrity living. Whether it's Kimora Lee Simmons's staggering shoe collection, Jerry Seinfeld's warehouse of collector cars, or the many international mansions of Brad and Angelina, it seems today's celebrity can have anything, anytime.
So why aren't some of them acting like it? New York Giants' star wide receiver Plaxico Burress was recently charged with criminal possession of a firearm after he accidentally shot himself in the foot in a New York City nightclub. The gun was unlicensed by the state of New York, where the shooting took place, and the license he had for the firearm in Florida had expired.
Burress said he needed the gun -- a loaded .40-caliber Glock, which does not have a safety -- for protection, as he was carrying loads of cash and wearing expensive jewelry to the nightclub. Fair enough -- millionaire athletes are understandably appealing targets of robbery and a number of high profile incidents have been reported in the last couple of years.
Last year, New York Knicks center Eddy Curry was robbed inside his Chicago home. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Antoine Walker was robbed at gunpoint. Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot and killed in his Miami home in a suspected robbery.
But with all his money -- Burress signed a five-year, $35 million contract this fall -- is it unreasonable to assume he can hire private security guards to accompany him on public outings? Is it really necessary for a celebrity like Plaxico to arm and protect himself, especially when doing so clearly puts him and those around him at risk of being accidentally shot in the foot?
Over the years, luxury living has birthed new cottage industries, giving way to personal shoppers, stylists, chefs, trainers, and travel concierges, the more successful of whom even have their own television shows now. Most Americans who aren't famous spend an inordinate amount of time devising intricate schematics often involving Venn diagrams and Pi to figure out how they will get the kids from school to soccer, pick up the dry cleaning, make the PTA meeting, get dinner on the table, wash the car and rake the leaves, while still finding time to squeeze in a shower.