If there’s one thing you come away with today, I hope it’s this: At least William Hung knew when to quit.
I’ve always wanted to be famous. I remember putting on mini shows for my parents and taking parts in plays for fun, feeling excited about the prospect of being in front of a crowd of people spouting lines and walking from one duct-taped x to another. Sadly, I never blossomed into a full-fledged performer, and as we all know, parts in class plays become increasingly scarce as one progresses through higher education.
I was fine with it. I don’t ever remember feeling morose about losing the opportunity to perform in front of crowds. I knew when to quit, unlike some people.
Or perhaps I don’t. there are moments when I have an increasingly creepy feeling that I want to be a performer. I want to put myself out there and make people laugh and cry; to make their hearts sing or swoon. I realize now that performers are intensely selfish people; it’s just that their particular brand of selfishness requires that hordes of other people be happy. Some might say it’s a great selfishness, the best possible form of selfishness, but I say that it’s the filthiest, most wretched thing in the world. And it keeps one from being happy. Really happy. Performers need to know when to quit, because if they don’t have someone or something else telling them that their time is up, their chance has ended, then all they have is that desire to be the cause of other people’s happiness and entertainment. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
William Hung must have had a very wise voice tell him one day, “You suck Will. Go home. Give up. Now is the time to quit.” And he was smart enough to listen. You may find him roaming the halls of CSU – Northridge, or you may not. He’s there. Among the crowd, ready to acknowledge his moment of fame. But what you’ll also find is that his desire to perform has departed, perhaps temporarily, because he knows his time is over. And that’s impressive. Performers with less illustrious careers (and there are a few) have been able to barrel through the withering criticism, abysmal sales, and profound obscurity, but at a cost. Wouldn’t it be wiser for these individuals to step away from the mic for a moment to compose themselves, returning later at the opportune time?
I think so. And I think William Hung thinks so too.