Monday, May 19, 2014
As we ate lunch today at the teachers' table, one of my colleagues mentioned the age of her child relative to his grade. I recounted how my mother taught a sixteen year old in fourth grade during her education career in Arkansas. Age is sometimes no more than a number or it can be the cause for deception, as it was in this entry from June 13, 2007.
She was moving up fast in the entertainment business in 1998. Just nineteen, Riley Weston owned a leading role on the hit television series, Felicity, and was attracting attention for her script-writing skills. Weston was billed as one of the hottest young creative forces in show business, signing a huge contract to write for Disney. There was only one small problem. Instead of being a teenager, Riley Weston was actually thirty-two years old. When outed, her contracts with the television show were not renewed and the deal with Disney never was finalized. In the nine years since the scandal broke, her acting career has fizzled although she recently published a novel, Before I Go. On a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show segment focusing on honesty, Weston defended her deception as the only way she could have been hired. She also advised other actresses/actors to do the same if they want the parts that are particularly age-specific. (Rumor has it, in a reversal of such logic, the mother of a student at Westbury Christian told people she was fifty when she turned forty. Their response? "Man, you look good for fifty!") Ironically, what tripped up Weston was another set of digits the gainfully employed must possess, her Social Security Number. A suspicious co-worker checked and the numbers didn't add up. Well, they did add up but the sum total was not nineteen.
She didn't use the term but I think Riley Weston would consider her indiscretion a victimless crime: nobody got hurt. My feeling is an actress who otherwise might have landed the part would beg to differ. In 2001, youth baseball was shaken as pitcher Danny Almonte, who starred for the Brooklyn entry in the Little League World Series, was found to be fourteen, two years past the age limit of twelve. Now pitching in the low minor leagues, Almonte refuses to dwell on his brush with fame with devolved into infamy. At least he doesn't try to justify his behavior, which occurred when he was a very young teen and under the influence of adults who stood to profit from the team's success. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 21:6 that, "A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare." Dishonesty eventually gets its revenge and humiliation is the punishment. Too bad that society continues to excuse situational fraud with the mentality that it's only wrong if it's illegal. During the last week of school, the mother of one our our elementary students asked me about my wife and guessed I was thirty. My reply was that I'm still single and I'm not thirty..... and I left it at that. Hey, it worked for Riley Weston for awhile! But stay away from my Social Security Number!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Good roles are hard to find no matter what age."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:50 PM