If, for just a moment, we could be that someone who is not us. A part of us realizes that the investment is temporary but during that transient period we substitute ourselves for “that person.”
Each generation has those to choose from. Today it’s just easier because of the media overload covering their inches instead of broader strokes. I just need to say, “Kim” to someone in their 20’s and they know her last name. Beyonce doesn’t need a last name, just those who wish to be her for a day, a week or a month. Madonna had a last name but dropped the Italian one to be the opposite of her namesake. (Talk about vicarious!)
Generations ago how many women wished they could give a come-back-line as biting as Bette Davis and not flinch or show a facial expression of Joan Crawford’s wrath and not blink. The men had their assortment of substitute-personalities in Tryone Power or Erroll Flynn or Sean Connery who in his tux smugly says, “Shaken, not stirred.” Rock Hudson had everyone fooled with his hetero presence hiding his homo personality and balancing the two for decades. (That’s being duo which can be deadly, vicarious can be fun and helpful.)
Think of those you’ve admired and then you’ll know the vicarious lives we like to live. The modeling is the best vicarious of all because of the qualities we can take from someone – imaginary or real. One quality derived can help you in your life.
I remember a priest while I was in the seminary who at gatherings had this knack of making scripture connections to contemporary life. He did it with such ease that it caught my attention. I never forget how quickly he was able to make something ancient fresh. How many years later I still remember him and smile when I’m able to do the same thing.
It’s fun and it may even be helpful to be the action hero or the lonely soul who finds his way; those guys in the movies. If a personality – imagined or real triggers something within you – go for it. Just remember where your shoes are when the vicarious adventure is over.