CNN reporter Richard Quest, the British boisterous raspy voiced business traveler expert was the great cup of coffee to drink in. When experiencing jet lag after flying 8-15 hours from the United States the night before, this human coffee bean could help you get out the door to your first meeting with your eyes wide open. Covering everything from how to overcome technical challenges with your black berry or lap top, featuring strange but useful gadgets , to keeping your love relationship alive during those times when one was thousands of miles away from home, Quest had the answer or showed you how. The dare devil he was, he would demonstrate adventure after adventure proving once and for all that the business traveler is one who lives a life of fun. He dared the business traveler to go beyond the norm, the mundane and experience new heights when on the road while getting your work done. However, his latest dare devil adventure well, went too far!
On April of this year, it was widely reported in the media that Quest was arrested in Central Park for loitering after hours and criminal possession of a controlled substance. He admitted that he some crystal meth in his pocket and later it was reported by the New York Post that Quest had a rope tied around his neck that was tied to his genitals. Police reported that he had a sex toy in his boot. What ever Quest was up to, it was surely something in the realm of the business freakazoid.
Quest agreed with the judge to undergo drug rehabilitation. CNN is obviously embarrassed and probably pissed off at the disgraced reporter. The question is what went wrong? Quest joins the list of others such as former sports announcer and Inside Edition reporter Pat O’Brien and his dirty voice mails he left while in a drunken state telling friends from his cell phone book that he craved for hookers and drugs. Gary Collins was arrested for drunk driving. Remember in 1998 when sportscaster Marv Albert fell from grace as the one of Dons of the sports casting world with his sex scandal? He was accused of biting his ex-girlfriend in the back when he threw on the bed for sex.
What could be going wrong with these men and so many others in the media spotlight is perhaps the loss of something very basic – A LOSS OF SELF. Journalist and famed writers Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hunter S. Thompson who all had an insatiable appetites for alcohol and drugs did their best work drunk and high, but both Hemingway and Thompson died horrific deaths committing suicide; Hemingway used his favorite shotgun to do the do. Thompson shot himself in the head while talking to his wife on the phone.
The loss of self is hard to imagine when one has the world at his or her feet. Rising to the pinnacle of fame in various life genres, being excused from all sorts of bad behaviors becomes the norm. No accountability is registered by the individual at the top nor by the people who watch and sometimes glorify them for being in the spotlight. The loss of self goes even deeper than that. The loss of self happens sometimes because the person never developed a sense of self when rising to the top. The focus of the person was always on the externalities – achieving fame and fortune and one of the greatest aphrodisiac POWER! Power for the person who loses self becomes defined out of one’s frailties, weaknesses and secret or dark struggles often born from childhood or from a traumatic experience. Hemingway’s mother Grace Hall, dressed him as a little girl in his youth. He never forgave her for this.
Unresolved issues with a loss sense of self is something that we are witnessing on a frequent basis. More than being media voyeurs reviewing the lives of movie stars, singers, professional and college athletes, politics and business executives we don’t stop to think that perhaps the tragic and humiliating experiences these people are having could in some way be small reflections of our own lives. Some of you reading this might say, “I am not a freak, take drugs or are out of control.” You may not be. You may never be. However, the lives of the successful, rich and famous can still be teachers for us to view our lives from a cliff looking down making sure as we experience life; particularly success we don’t decide to jump off the cliff thinking angels will catch us because we tempted fate in some way shape or form. Perhaps there is pain in our own lives we have not reconciled or healed from. So we hide it. Digging a six foot grave hoping we could bury our pain forever? Guess what it comes back from the dead haunting us in the most craziest ways – ways we would not have ever imagined.
Richard Quest began to test his fate when he started the dance with drugs and who knows possibly other addictions. Maybe his childhood has a dark deep secret he never came to terms with or healed from -instead he might have just buried his pain in his own grave, and he began to defensively focus on his success. His crazy style he developed was a nice distraction to the real Richard Quest. Maybe he battled these demons until his success made it so easy to succumb to false pain killers? The success of Ernest Hemingway and others made it easier for him to drink himself into subconsciousness.
It is truly sad when men and women like this fall from their pinnacle, but as they fall, they become faint memories unless of course they write books or get recognition. We never stop to think about what was really going on with the sad and lonely. The bottom line is that at their lowest point these men in this piece have or had death wishes – literally and figuratively. Their loss of self and outlandish behaviors and lifestyles were cries for help. But no one was ever listening or really cared.