It is not easy for those in the public eye to find balance, to find normalcy in the midst of fame. I don’t know if Lou Reed ever managed to. But I do know he married a smart woman, Laurie Anderson, and, together, they abided by three simple rules they felt were central to who they were:
- Don’t be afraid of anyone
- Get a really good bullshit detector
- Be really, really tender
I would add a fourth: attitude matters.
Today, during my rounds at the hospital, one patient sang me half of the George Gershwin songbook; another gave me a fascinating history lesson. Both were in the midst of difficult circumstances. Maybe they were bored, maybe they needed to dispel their worries and my presence came in handy. Whatever the reasons, they chose to engage, they chose to smile.
And with that in mind, I am off to do one of the things I find most difficult: walking into a room full of strangers. Rules one to four will apply.
Image: from Luchino Visconti’s movie The Leopard (which, if you have never seen, go rent/download immediately).