Like a billion other people on the planet, I watched the Oscars last night. Typically, I watch the red carpet, because I like to see the dresses and then the monologue. I may watch one or two of the awards being handed out, but usually by this time I have delved into a book, a crossword puzzle, a magazine, or some other form of entertainment that allows me to watch TV and do something else at the same time.
Last night, just like happens every year, I was forcibly reminded why I dislike those award shows. And it begins with the words…”I would like to thank.” The rest of that sentence tends to be name either an organization that I don’t care about, a person that no one but their mother knows, or some other celebrity that will help them achieve the next Oscar nod. It never seems to be either sincere, or off the cuff. I don’t know those people, don’t know what they did for the winner, nor do I know the importance of that name to the person speaking.
If you have fifteen seconds on a world-wide stage, with over a billion people watching you, why are you only thanking people who maybe (but maybe not) will hopefully remember you the next time they have a great script? Why? Why aren’t you spending those fifteen seconds to emotional and courageously honor that one individual that changed your life? Why aren’t you taking that fifteen seconds to plant a seed of hope to someone who has never felt it? Why aren’t you making someone laugh? Why aren’t you making someone cry? Why must you waste even one second of this incredible opportunity you have been given?
So that you can guarantee that you will be up for another script? Nothing says that is set in stone. Maybe so that you billable rate will be raised to the hundreds? It can go down just as easily…there is only one Meryl Streep. Maybe so that you feel important? I don’t know, and truly I don’t care. I also do not know who you are talking about, nor do I really care.
Shouldn’t we take every opportunity that is given to us to try to better something? Even if it is only with laughter, how dare we squander this moment? No one remembers the speech tomorrow, no one but the person you are thanking (and possibly his mother…unless she too is in a really good article about maschera in her fashion magazine) even cares who you are thanking. Don’t get me wrong, it probably takes a village. But are those the people you are going to waste that fifteen seconds of perfect fame on?
I look at this world and see a possibility. I see a possibility to show someone who while the journey to making dreams come true is, for the most part, excruciating, the achievements far outweigh it. I want to teach a child what education can do for you, the doors it can open and the possibilities it can give you. I want to hear a child laugh in direct response to something I gave them, a moment of happiness in a world that doesn’t have a lot of it.
Yet we squander those moments. We blame time crunches, busy lives, deadlines…you name it, we all blame it. We don’t take even those simple fifteen seconds to deliver a message that might change the world as we know it. (No one ever bettered the world because you thanked Marvin Schoensburger) We don’t take every moment that we are given to encourage, to make someone believe, to even make someone desire. We take the easy way out and thank those that we hope will make us richer, healthier, stronger.
I have so many complaints about this world, and I always take the time to recognize that there are moments that I too let those fifteen incredible seconds pass me by. But imagine if we didn’t. Imagine if someone like Daniel Day-Lewis got up on stage and said something so profound that the next Daniel Day-Lewis found his voice? What if Anne Hathaway took a moment to give a shout out to the local shelter in her home town? Would they then have thousands of dollars pouring in? Would their lives get easier just because someone said their name on a world-wide stage?
I don’t know. But it saddens me that we don’t even try.