Thursday, March 28, 2013

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Teaching Life Lessons

Sometimes in the least likely places and at the least likely moments, I hear or read or experience something so profound that I don't think will ever leave me. When I listen to a teaching or pick up a memoir or read my Bible, I expect to be touched, to grow, to experience a shift in thinking.  But when wisdom goes stealth, well, it seems all the more meaningful somehow.  Let me explain such an incidence that happened for me in the not so distant past.

One night last week, Mark and I were just having one of those good impromptu, easy, fun chats. We were discussing a book that Mark had recently read and 10 minutes later we found ourselves at the computer Googling "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee".  I had only heard of the Jerry Seinfeld web series where he picks up a comedian, they drive somewhere together to get coffee and we get to listen in on their conversation; Mark had seen a couple episodes.  We laughed ourselves silly as we watched  two or three in a row.

The next morning as I was doing my hair, I decided to double-task and watch another episode.  I chose the one with Michael Richards (Kramer), his old co-star on the Seinfeld show.  It's funny and quirky and charming...but at 13:45 it turns serious.



Richards says that sometimes he looks back and wishes he had enjoyed himself a little bit more.

Seinfeld says that he could say the same thing himself only "that was not our job.  Our job was not for us to enjoy it.  Our job was to make sure they enjoy it, and that's what we did."

Michaels says, "Aaaah. That's beautiful."  Then he goes on to say that he thinks he worked selfishly, that it should not have been about him, but about THEM!

He speaks of that horrible incident when he was heckled in a comedy club, got his feelings hurt, and went off on a racist tirade that seemed to ruin him and his career.  He says what he should have done, had he realized that his job was not about HIM, but about THEM.  He talks about his deep regret and that it "still kicks him around a bit."

And then Jerry says, "That's up to you...to say, 'You know, I've been carrying this baggage long enough.  I'm gonna put it down.'"

Here are some things that gripped me about that 2-minute bit:
1.  If we could all just realize that it's not about US.  I know it, but I don't often live it.
2.  Michaels is real and vulnerable.  It's truly beautiful.
3.  Seinfeld models grace and true friendship
4.  Even well-known, rich, funny people get their feelings hurt, are looking for acceptance, and make big mistakes when they seek it out and think they deserve it.
5.  God forgives so easily. Even people forgive relatively easily.  Letting go of our own "baggage" is the hardest.

I highly recommend watching the whole 17 minutes.  If you don't have time for that, at least fast forward to 13:45 and watch until 15:33.  I don't think it'll be a waste of your time.