You had your five minutes, my mother told me over the phone. Now, others will have their five minutes also, and life will go on.
This was easy for her to say, as she is a 24/7 woman who is stronger and wiser than youngsters like me, I thought. [What a generous comment about my own age!] My mom is right.
On reflection, I had many five-minute-years of being accomplished in what I was doing. Now, those minutes are gone, and I find myself in a desert of bewilderment. So, someone’s decision took away a mask of my importance, and now I talk to my mom asking whether wearing a mask is important, even for five minutes?
What my mom was actually saying was positive. It was her way to welcome me into a life of ordinary people. You probably forgot how important we are, we the ordinary people, she was saying. Your job lasted five minutes. And probably you did well. Now, welcome back and let others enjoy their own five minutes. They will succeed or fail, loose of find, and their own five minutes will be quickly over, too.
Enter Darren Clarke, the now celebrated winner of the golf’s 2011 British Open Championship. As they say, watching golf is like watching the paint dry. My own cynicism about golf was given a conversion jolt as Mr. Clarke freely distributed abundant smiles, even when he just miscalculated a shot. He smiled with a permanent grin. If a heart has a set of bright teeth, Mr. Clarke owns one. His was a grin of joy. He entered into his five minutes of attention.
In a post-victory interview he selflessly admitted being an ordinary guy. But what ordinariness he presented. I tried 19 times before, but I never stopped trying. Now I did it. But I am an ordinary guy, he simply claimed.
Darren Clarke’s accomplishment was a bright moment in a week of the usual bad news on TV (the Rupert Murdoch’s media empire’s slow but riveting demise topping the bill). Some of us still love the media when it is honest, moral, and when it goes for and reports the character building news. So, here was Mr. Clarke, a winner finally, and if he was wearing a mask, it was one of authenticity. That’s how I feel.
So, I am dealing with my own bewilderment by re-entering a world of ordinary people where authenticity, integrity, compassion and generosity are lived with gusto! A tear got lost in my eye when I was watching Darren Clarke’s joy. He shared it with all of us and he wore it on his face.It wasn’t a smile No. 17C with a spin.