On Sunday Morning at 6a.m., Billy Dec posted an Instagram of his cute little new baby boy on Twitter and all I could think of was, “First he has my life, and now he has my baby?! Grrrr: That Billy Dec has everything.”
For those of you who do not know who Billy Dec is: You don’t really matter to me so I’ll be telling you anyway out of the goodness of my heart because it will help you understand me a little bit better, and that’s what this little 50 Days of turning 50 blog is about: you understanding moi.
Billy Dec is way under 50, he owns or is part owner of some very good restaurants in Chicago: Sunda and Rockit Bar and Grill and the ultra kewl nightclub The Underground. I went to his website to fact-check but I began to upchuck and the suicidal thoughts started to come back when I scanned, “Emmy Award Winning…TV Host…majored in Economics/Pre-Law…Chicago-Kent College…Law…Harvard Business School…Operator of the Year… Nightclub & Bar…Excellence in Business Award…non-profit organizations…American Cancer Society…Make-A-Wish Foundation…Lookingglass Theatre Company.” I know — right?! When did he find time to do all of this in his younger-than-me life and how many interns does he have?
I don’t really begrudge Billy Dec for having such a good life. And I’m sure he worked very hard for it and his good fortune was well-earned. But, I’m telling you, his career, minus the restaurants, is very much like the one I set out for. I had a chance to adopt a baby in the 80’s but I passed on that to open my first salon at 24. I was very involved in the redevelopment of Long Beach, California, including the first AIDS walk and I was even instrumental in getting Long Beach to be the first city and latest transit line destination from L.A.. Philanthropy-check. Awards-check. Actor, just like Billy Dec, -check. I write and sell screenplays. I was good at marketing and I hosted my own cable show and was a regular color commentator on major TV stations. College? I went to 1 year of college to be an airline pilot (yawn) so I’m not so envious of anyone who got a degree. But, all in all, where I ended up and watching Billy Dec’s endeavors on Twitter, Facebook, the news, and now on the TV show that replaced Oprah’s time-slot, Windy City Live, makes me wish I could do it all over again with what I know now. Sigh.
Recently I was with a bunch of other Chicago social media specialists at a bar when someone called Billy Dec, “The Darth Vader of Chicago Social Media.” I shot a gulp of beer out of my nose. And we all laughed because we’re all equally envious of Billy Dec. He’s handsome, he’s got dimples and he’s been photographed by Skrebneski. He’s a successful business man and he also has a nice speaking voice for movies, radio and TV. (The voice thing is a big sting to me because mine is like screeching tires and only suitable for silent films.) And Billy Dec is wonderful at social media; and his businesses and the trajectory with what he does with it has propelled him to celebrity status. He gets to hobnob with every Hollywood personality that arrives in town and he partied with the Blackhawks and toured the city with them when they won the Stanley cup. How f_cking cool is that? The man is like the sun, burning bright with the biggest gravitational field than any of us in Chicago social media fields has ever been able to attain. Billy Dec has over 15,000 LIKEs on his Facebook page and over 25,000 people who follow him on Twitter. That is a lot of patrons, potential patrons, and friends. Most of us have very specific types of followers. Everyone follows Billy Dec. Whenever he direct messages me or my friends to “Please Re-tweet” for an event that he’s involved in, we do it just so he might one day shine his grace on thee. Who cares if we DM him and ask him to “RT” one of our events and he doesn’t? At least he’s following us back on Twitter and it’s probably one of his many interns or secretaries who got the message anyway. When does he have time to tweet? We’d still call him Darth Vader behind his back because that’s what people do when they are jealous.
You want to know something else? I know people who know the guy and they all say he’s very nice. Can you stand it? I don’t know if I would have been able to keep a level head if I had reached as far as he has at his age. I’m not nice now. Billy Dec, you are Darth Vader and as one hat wearing guy (albeit older) to another–may the The Force be with you and you keep doin’ what you’re doin’ cuz it gives the rest of us something to shoot at, er; for!
You have just read Day 34 of “50 Days of 50: One Man’s Sobering Realization That It’s Not The New 40s.” Watch for this blog to become an eBook in June 2012. And watch for Jon-David’s how-to book: “Social Media for Stylists, Salons & Spas,” and the 3rd and last book of the Mafia Hairdresser trilogy, “Murder, There’s an App for That,” both due Fall of 2012.