Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"It Takes All Kinds"

A writer in his mid-twenties who worked on the staff of a show I was consulting on…we were waiting for the show runners to return from a “network notes” session after a table reading and, I don’t know how the conversation turned in this direction, but he told us a story about a female acquaintance who revealed to him that she’d had sex with George Burns when the comedian was a hundred years old.  Her explanation for this encounter was simple and unemotional:

“How often do you get to have sex with a hundred year-old man?”

My first thought upon hearing this story was, ”What an amazing variety of people there are in this world!”

On another occasion, this same fellow explained, with unquestionable sincerity, how, whenever he threw out any of his old underwear, he would first take a pair of scissors, and cut the underwear fabric into tiny, little pieces.  He explained this behavior in terms of a serious concern that his discarded underwear might somehow turn up at a crime scene, making him a prime suspect in the investigation.

My first thought on this occasion was, “Wow.  Two interesting stories from the same person!”  My second response was, “The idea of cutting up my old underwear to keep them from resurfacing during a criminal investigation has not for a second ever crossed my mind.”

As the blog post title says:  

“It takes all kinds.”

These thoughts came to mind while reading about the recent Colorado shooting spree, taking particular note of the spontaneous acts of heroism, including a twenty-one year-old girl named Stephanie who plugged a wound in her best friend Allie’s neck with her fingers, and refused to leave Allie’s side, as a fusillade of bullets flew indiscriminately around the theater.

People are different, not just in the “sex with a hundred year-old man” way or in terms of preemptive underwear destruction.  They are different in the equally rare direction of personal sacrifice, the conscious determination to put your life on the line to save another’s. 

I don’t know about you, but along with the admiration, reading about such selflessness conjures questions of whether there’s any semblance of that “different kind of behavior” in me.

I originally intended to end this post with that.  And then I thought about the shooter.

In the “It takes all kinds” evaluation?

He’s in there too.

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