Sometimes a story turns your head a little, or is an antidote to what you are likely to hear in every other corner of society, no matter how untrue and forceful the almost unspoken expectations of society can or in some ways must be. My favourite story of this kind is told by Jerry Seinfeld in the documentary “Comedian,” where he speaks with fellow (but struggling) comedian Orny Adams.
There is never merely one way to live, and (within the bounds of common sense) if there is something you want to be at the centre or side of your life it is up to each of us to do what we want to do, not what is expected of us in the one life we have to live. Few people are shy about curtailing others’ dreams in one way or another, and at times we may be tempted to do the same thing (to ourselves) for a great variety of reasons close to hand; some things we want and that we get can also be used as the reason for not pursuing our other ambitions, however innate and natural in us they may be. But that is the shame rather than doing and aspiring to do the things that we’d like to do most. The story is below, and the clip from the film can also be seen here.
This is my favourite story about show business. Glenn Miller’s orchestra, they were doing some gig somewhere; they can’t land where they’re supposed to land because it’s winter, a snowy night. So they have to land in this field, and walk to the gig. And they’re dressed in their suits, they’re ready to play, they’re carrying their instruments. So they’re walking through the snow and it’s wet and slushy and in the distance they see this little house, and there’s lights on in the inside, and there’s a ball of smoke coming out of the chimney. And they go up to the house and they look in the window and they see this family. There’s a guy and his wife, and she’s beautiful, and there’s two kids and they’re all sitting around the table, and they’re smiling and laughing and they’re eating. There’s a fire in the fireplace. These guys are standing there in their suits and they’re wet and shivering and holding their instruments, and they’re watching this incredible Norman Rockwell scene. One guy turns to the other guy and goes, ‘How do people live like that?’