Last week while working at the Johnston library, I overheard two women talking about Jersey Shore cast member (and Johnston native) Pauly D.
WOMAN #1: He used to be at my house all the time when he was a kid. These people who get all excited over him don't even know him.
WOMAN #2: They're always taking credit. He took me to the prom.
WOMAN #1: I went to the prom with him too. He's like my brother's best friend.
WOMAN #2: And he takes care of his parents.
WOMAN #1: He's very good to his parents.
WOMAN #2: Nice to have something to be proud of.
I wish I could tell you what they said after that, but my head had already exploded.
Of all the odd Rhode Island behaviors that mystifies me, the obsession with being proud of anybody that just happened to walk through the state at some point is the one that confuses me the most.
It took everything I had not to yell--"If someone's a millionaire, and they're parents are still living in Johnston, they're not taking care of their parents--trust me."
But I refrained.
Why are people proud of Pauly D?
I realize when we have to come up with a list of "Famous Rhode Islanders" it's not that long, but that doesn't mean we need to take credit for someone who's on a show that, at its peak, was being called "proof of the downfall of Western civilization."
Most of us experienced the same thing when Richard Hatch won Survivor.
"Yay! A Rhode Islander won! ...After walking around naked the whole time, stabbing everybody in the back, and being an all-around d-bag."
Yes, by all means, let's lay claim to THAT guy.
I'll refrain from commenting on what it teaches kids to idolize people who earned their fame by acting promiscuous in hot tubs and spouting moronic catchphrases because I don't want to sound like Tipper Gore, but I will say that perhaps we need to reevaluate what we think should be making us "proud."
Just a thought.
Kevin Broccoli is a local writer, actor, and director living and working in Providence, Rhode Island. His work has been produced by various companies across the state. He can be reached at Kevin071984@yahoo.com.