This may sound arrogant to some; it isn't meant to be. But I was looking at the "who would you like to have lunch with" thread and found I couldn't answer it. Oh sure, I could easily come up with two folks I'd like to meet, but I honestly got to wondering if any of them would enrich my life beyond the people I already see regularly and call friends.
A couple years ago I started a computer file called "People who have enriched me." I add to it regularly and it's a very long list. It only includes people I've had a personal relationship with, and I find it unbelievable that I'm so lucky to have crossed paths with so many truly superb, life-affirming people. If you haven't done such a list, you might find it a wonderful exercise.
Because I worked in TV and film for so long, naturally I've met and worked with a lot of actors and performers, from Jimmy Stewart, Lorne Greene and Arthur Godfrey to Roger Ebert, William Shatner and Edward James Olmos. Julie Christie and I had a particularly fun time on a project we worked on together. She's a great lady. I started working with Willard Scott when he was "just" a local radio personality here in Washington. I can't count the number of times we laughed so hard together that we cried. And there were lots of others, too.
But the list of "famous" people pales before the list of other truly accomplished people. There's the TV network president we lost just last year who I had lunch and dinner with many times. He was a true pioneer in every sense of the word, and I was proud to know him. I knew the man who argued "one man one vote" before the Supreme Court and won. . .a man who as a child was taught by his parents to throw rocks at black children in the segregated south. His wife, who we just lost a couple years ago, was one of the founders of public television, also a wonderful friend.
I know many broadcasters, of course, both in front of and behind the cameras. Some are remarkable, like my friend the network correspondent who does "people" stories on a famous nationwide morning TV show. We rib each other all the time, and we're great pals, even though we only work on one project a year together. Still, we grab lunch or dinner or coffee when we can.
One of the most renowned scientists in the world and his wife are both dear friends. He's preeminent in the field of genetics, which he has the uncanny knack of explaining to me (and to everyone else he meets) in terms we can understand but without ever talking down or pandering. I always have questions for him. He's taught me a lot that I could never discuss here, because somebody would find it political.
We'll be celebrating the birthday my old boss next year--he'll be 90. He is brilliant. We had lunch with him in California earlier this year, and practically got thrown out of the restaurant for laughing too much. He worked for FDR and Truman, knew Churchill pretty well, was a close-up witness to much of the important history of the mid-20th century, and has just published his memoirs. His inscription in my copy makes me tear up.
You can't live here without knowing politicians. When I met Terry she was working on the staff of the Vice President, who was a nice man. His staff still stays in touch, gets together occasionally, which is a tribute to the man who assembled that fine group. As does my old college gang. We had a mini-reunion in Chicago a few weeks ago at one of our favorite pizza joints from back in the day. There were only 11 of us, but we remain 11 good friends, no matter how infequently we get together. Every one of them is successful, smart and caring.
I'm a lifelong Sherlockian, and have been fortunate to meet and raise a glass or two with a number of preeminent Sherlockians in this country and England. An acknowledged world authority on Holmes lives in Washington and is a friend. Every Christmas season we gather at his home to trim the world's only Sherlockian Christmas tree--there's an ornament representing every one of the 60 Holmes stories.
Two nights ago at a dinner party I found myself sitting across from a well-known Washington "insider" and his wife. I'd never met him before, and our politics couldn't be more opposite, but we had a crackling good time. And no censors to prevent our talking politics!
These few examples barely scratch the surface of those I know and love. The list keeps growing and I haven't even mentioned my family, who are the greatest people of all. Our immediate family, our extended family and our "honorary" family are all anyone could ever ask for on this earth. The one and only Terry, of course, is my best friend ever, and I'm so glad that I picked her up in that bar almost 40 years ago.
This is way too long, and as I said, probably sounds egotistical as hell, but it really is not meant that way. It's really an expression of thanks to all of these people who fill our lives in a way that I'm sure we don't deserve.
And if you make a list of the people who have enriched you, you'll probably be thankful as well.
Melody, I know you enrich my life, but since I haven't seen you on the news, didn't serve under a president and haven't written a book. I think you need a new agent. The people who enrich AR's life have much better representation lol!
That is a great idea. I think I will start my own list today, but I will not only add those people who enrich my life by making me happy, laugh, smile etc. I will also add those people who (by their adverse effect on me) have made me think and maybe change my way of thinking.
Been there - done that:
2005 Holiday, Sensation, Conquest,
2006 Conquest, Celebration, Holiday,
2007 Freedom Grand Med, Holiday
2008 Fantasy & Sensation,
2009 Fantasy, Holiday & Dream Grand Med
2010 Fantasy and B2B Elation
2011 Monarch of the Seas
2012 Booked - Breeze from Barcelona 12 days
Yeah, I agree.......and I bet AR's buddies are better paid as well! However, I still believe I was put on this earth to serve mankind. My current position allows me to be in on the grassroots efforts. I don't need recognition.......my work feeds my soul and that is far more valuable than money! It just doesn't pay too many bills!
If you are going to walk on thin ice, you may as well dance!
I don't know you at all, and am new to these boards, but I like your style! Also you are from one of my favorite places - Louisiana! Our best friends live in Lafayette and I am down there at least once a year. I just love it! We are even thinking about retiring somewhere down there.
People serve mankind in different ways. Some proclaim their service openly; others do it quietly. Surely the man who argued one man, one vote was serving mankind, although he never put it that way.
My scientist friend could be making a bloody fortune working for a pharmaceutical company, but he doesn't. He prefers to stay in the public sector. When he was in charge of decoding the human genome he had to fight hard to keep the data in the public sector and available freely to all. Some of his superiors wanted to let it be patented by their pals in the pharma industry so they could reap terrific profits at the expense of anyone who wanted to use the code for further research (and further research, of course, is the whole point of compiling the code). He made it a moot point by placing the code on the internet each night as it came out of the computers, thereby putting it in the public domain and assuring that there would be no windfall profits from its use. "These are the building blocks of all our lives," he said. "They belong to all of us." A CD with the assembled code of life on it makes an interesting collector's item. He's also written a book. You may wish to read it. It is called The Language of God, and you can find it at your library or bookstore. I believe the paperback has recently come out and last I heard it was on the NYT Bestseller list.
I would submit to you that there's no more "grassroots effort" than the work he did on the genome. Being exceptionally accomplished does not automatically make you rich, especially when you choose public service as so many of my friends have done.
In fact, if I may be allowed a small aside, one of the reasons the best and the brightest in this country tend not to consider public service is that it pays very little compared to what they can make elsewhere, and we have made public service at high levels so distasteful that it's a non-starter for many of the best people. Fortunately, there are exceptions, and I'm happy that I know some of them.
Naturally, some of the people I know do make good money, but I don't hold that against them. They're still on my list based on merit, not net worth. I've long since gotten over being impressed by celebrity or by bank accounts, so you can put that one to bed.