Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Loss Of A Real Hero

I've always found it an odd part of our culture that we idolize people for being in movies. Granted, some of them are very good at being in movies and I think that merits respect for being good at his or her chosen profession, but it wouldn't it make more sense to idolize people for doing good? Solving problems? Thinking of others?

And then sometimes, there's someone who can do both, and my little anti-television self does truly consider Paul Newman to have been an actual hero--something we don't see much today. As an incredibly good-looking man, he could have simply become a pretty-boy actor--having affairs, living a selfish and self-absorbed life. Instead, he created camps for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. When his "Newman's Own" salad dressing became a huge success, he donated all the profits to charity. Not some, ALL. Married to his second wife for 50+ years in a country where more than half of all marriages end in divorce and in an industry where almost all marriages fail, Newman summed up his marital fidelity with, “I have steak at home; why go out for hamburger?” How could anyone not like this man?

There are some people who leave the world a little better than they found it, and yesterday we lost one of them. It's a pretty big loss.

"I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”
--Paul Newman, 1925-2008

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