Let’s get this out of the way upfront: This is not a post about Charlie Sheen.

Okay, maybe it is – in a way.

But more than a post about Charlie Sheen, it’s a post about Americans. Or, maybe, the human race as a whole (as I’m not sure how far the aftershocks of this Sheen Quake are being felt.)

And more than a post, it’s a question:

Just what exactly is Charlie Sheen winning at?

Life? Popularity? Who can gain the most Twitter followers the fastest? (Sheen, by the way, he holds the record for reaching 1 million followers faster than any other Twitter user – a feat that prompted Ad.ly to sign a deal with him.)

Certainly not who can get the most blonde live-in girlfriends. I mean, Heff kind of won that a long time ago.

So what’s the deal?

First, let me explain what led up to this. Saturday night, I received a text message from a friend letting me know he was gearing up for Sheen’s Korner, Charlie Sheen’s Ustream broadcast. I was a little surprised, as this is a friend who is a fairly solid kind of person – an almost no-nonsense kind of person. After a few minutes of back-and-forthing, (nearly all of which was based on the question I just asked you readers), my friend replies:

This country loves a train wreck. Charlie Sheen is living a radical life. But he owns it. He doesn’t apologize and people like that.

And you know what? That’s a very true statement.

I just don’t think it applies to our fascination with Charlie Sheen. Not in the way my friend thinks it does, anyway.

The media and every person who helps increase those pageviews and ratings have been caught up in (or created?) this Whirlwind of Charlie Sheen over the past few weeks, but newsfolk, readers, and viewers aren’t the only ones: A slew of celebrities have shown some sort of support for the actor and/or his antics (including Robert Pattinson, who’s quoted as saying “I like crazy people who don’t give a f**k”). Just about every hashtag he creates becomes a trending topic, and I can’t remember the last time I flipped through my TV and didn’t see some entertainment show doing a spot on him.

Of course, not everyone’s ecstatic about all the attention Sheen’s getting, but Steve Krakauer over at CNN claims naysayers pretty much just need to suck it up; that, as the executive producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight” pointed out to Yahoo!, “If we ruled out people who are mentally unstable or somewhat psychologically challenged, there would be a lot fewer people on the air and in newspapers.”

(Might have a point there.)

Still, Sheen doesn’t seem to be doing quite as well as he and the media would have us believe. Despite calling Sheen’s Korner “a violent torpedo of truth. love or hate. do the math,” according to EW.com’s Chris Nashawaty, Sheen’s Korner was not as entertaining as his previous radio and television interviews have been (actually, Nashawaty calls it “a sloppy, self-indulgent bit of cringe theater”) and after the first 10 minutes, viewers started logging off.

(Nashawaty isn’t alone with this opinion, either.)

So, again, what exactly is Charlie Sheen winning at?

Is it gaining the public’s sincere admiration? Are we really fans of Charlie Sheen himself? The actor whose inability to just, you know, not talk trash about his show’s creator finally had an entire production shut down? The man whose substance abuse and other erratic behaviors at one point lost him custody of his children?

Or, is it Sheen’s wild and, admittedly, at times entertaining rhetoric that keeps us hooked? This would be, of course, in addition to the truth he’s telling. I mean, let’s face it: We all want to think we have #TigerBlood running through our veins, right? We all want to think we’re #Winning, even if our current reality is less than ideal. These aren’t new ideas. Sheen hasn’t stumbled across something novel. He’s just vocalizing what so many of us already think and feel (or want to think and feel), and he’s doing it with a lot of energy –

– and unapologetically.

Even Sheen knows it, and to his credit, he’s using at least some of that energy to pump us up in a way unrelated to him. #EarnYourself was a hashtag that unfortunately didn’t trend (or trend very long) on Twitter, which is a shame because its message is one I think would’ve done well to circulate the Internet:

You already own you. Now go… Earn the power. Earn the Truth. Earn the most important component in this entire dimension, your self

However, if the latter is the case, isn’t it safe to assume (especially considering the Ustream performance) that we’ll just as readily turn our backs on him as soon as we don’t find him all that entertaining anymore? Won’t we need something a bit more substantial than energetic Twitter posts and outrageous interviews to keep us pumped enough to go out and, I don’t know, win?

Let me know your thoughts on it. In the meantime, check out some of these other Charlie Sheen posts around Psych Central:

Image Source: Charlie Sheen via Twitpic.com