Imagine doing dozens of interviews with a cross-section of 25 year-old guys across the country, guys from middle to lower-middle-class backgrounds who haven’t benefitted from high-end university educations, and saying to them, “If you had to choose between (a) a modest, unexceptional, not-very-exciting life involving hard work, an annual two-week vacation and maybe a little quiet desperation in between, or (b) the life of Raffaelo Follieri, the 30 year-old Italian con man who was recently given 4 and 1/2 years for cheating investors out of millions but who ran with a very high-end crowd and got to enjoy the allegiance and creature comforts of Anne Hathaway before it all came crashing down, which would it be?”
Honestly — what do you think most of them would say? Or rather, what would they say to themselves deep down? I’ll bet that a very healthy percentage would choose the Follieri option. They might not admit this to an interviewer, but everyone wants the lah-lah life these days, and they’re all willing to sacrifice and cut corners to get it. People are who they are, and want what they want. The idea that it’s better to burn brightly and then fade to black rather than plug along and never know the perks and the highs has been around for a long time, and it’s been gaining traction.