Sunday, January 9, 2011
A Series of Epiphany Posts on Being Human: on moments outside the box
Eleanor Roosevelt is a hero of mine. I have read her writing and biographies about her life and I admire her quite completely. She was not beautiful but she was smart. She navigated her life with class and wisdom and impacted not just her nation but the world.
At the same time in history another intelligent woman was gaining reputation as an entertainer. Gypsy Rose Lee was a stripper who, they said, left on more than she took off. She was really a comedian, and had brilliant wit and intelligence. Gypsy Rose Lee and Eleanor Roosevelt were considered, simultaneously, the two most influencial women in the world.
It is reported that on one occasion Eleanor sent Gypsy Rose a friendly telegram that read: "May your bare ass always be shining."
There is something about this that charms me immensely. I think it is simply that Eleanor did not lose her humor or her ability to respond in an utterly human way to another person, despite the status and weight of responsibility she carried.
Charm, to me, is the ability to respond appropriately and yet with unexpected depth of human connection. I want a life that is noble and wise and has influence. But I also want to be able to send a few telegrams of my own.
I guess it is just because I am human.