(photo of Joan Didion – My Hero)
This Brian Williams thing is making me queasy, almost nausea, and it’s not letting up.
I got another set of jokes today and the bottom line is it’s just sad. Someone’s ego has taken them down yet again and all their real, hard earned deeds have been turned to dust and they’ve fallen from the throne into the muck. It’s actually painful to watch. Brian Williams is our contemporary and peer and we admired and accepted him into our group, into the good guys we trusted. I personally don’t want to laugh at him.
What drove him, though? Was it something in him? The need to be bigger and better than he already was in the public’s eyes, to want to be a star so much that he missed the fact that he already was one. Or was it fear, the enemy of us all, telling him being him Brian Williams wasn’t enough and they were at his heels, those younger, smarter, handsomer ones, and they were coming to get his job.
Or did the network pressure him in some way. Yeah man , you are terrific but to keep those ratings you have to be more than terrific, more than smart, more than good looking, more than have statue…you need to be the hero not just report on the heroics.
I dunno. I really don’t. But all of those scenarios were accidents waiting to happen and happen it did and it’s no joke.
We all have to be on guard not to let our demons be our undoing. Be it sex, drugs, or chronic self aggrandizement, whatever our thing is, we must get authentic with it or it may very well brings us down and humble us. It’s simple. Wherever we don’t keep it real, big chance is it’s going to show up and bite.
It is sad as hell to have done well in life, achieved well genuinely, and end up as a joke. It feels like both the waste and the heartache of a life.
It just occurred to me, hearing the nightly news go on in the kitchen close to the dinning table where I’m pounding away at these keys, noticing the unfamiliar voice, that I was used to Brian’s voice and I hope he survives this. Dealing with one’s addictions and issues in public is punishing indeed. Again: too bad, so sad.
And while I’m riding this train, sharing, caring and wearing etc. How about we all wear a little humility. It’s most attractive and looks good on everyone.
By a certain age, let’s call it 60 for us late bloomers, most of us are who we are and have established ourselves, or have both feet in the water. The need to “Pump Me Up” should be on the wane not the rise. It not only gets old and tedious, but down right boring.
My husband and I had dinner with a couple the other night who we’d met through mutual friends. This couple lives near us and have reached out to befriend us several times. Having picked them up at their house, seen their digs, seen their ride, it was obvious they had done well in life.
Now dining with people should be a nice get to know you experience. Clearly this couple had no interest in getting to know us, or if they had, the interest was completely overshadowed by the husbands need to talk about himself, name drop, and tell his success stories.
All would have been much more tolerable, perhaps even enjoyable, if peppered with questions about us, my husband’s ventures, or an “all about me” tale where he laughed at himself might even have done it. To be totally honest and fair, his wife did pose two questions. One to me and one directed at my husband but before either of us had a chance to respond her husband snatched the reins, turned the horse around and galloped away. The man’s neediness was his own worst enemy, and like Brian Williams, his undoing.
In the quiet of the car ride back to my house I thought of that scene in Broadcast News when Holly Hunter’s character cries and says, “I feel like I’m repelling what I’m trying to attract.”
I’m not the behavior cop here nor am I trying to be. But sometimes if someone holds the mirror up for us, we can all see ourselves better.
The question is, when do we allow ourselves to stand in the place we’ve come to and claim it. Claim ourselves. Stop working it. Just be grateful and claim it.
The late acting coach Milton Katselas used to say if you want people to know how good you are don’t wait for others to blow your horn, go out and blow your own horn…but blow it, don’t talk about blowing it, don’t tell them how well you can blow it, just pick up your horn and blow so well you knock their socks off.
Show don’t tell.
Key to art and life.
Maybe the take away here is be authentic. No more. And no less, either.
Since I’ve been sooo heavy today, my big share is Jessica Harper’s latest blog post which is witty, wise, and will make you laugh the way I haven’t today!!
Down Dog by Jessica Harper