Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bernie Mac 1957-2008

For those of us reaching fifty who listened, watched and witnessed this Big Mac of a Chicagoan grow onto the silver screen, we will remain numb and in shock for a while.

Bernie Mac struck a chord and stuck with what he wanted to do. In his persistence, he proved that hard work as well as getting into the right place at the right time pays off. His success should serve as inspiration to every teacher who chooses to work at Chicago Vocational. Some of us can only hope for a wife like Rhonda to tolerate our efforts and challenges.

The trade offs of any career may unintentionally hurt. The hope is that when you are struggling, all will be forgiven, when life hits the mark. I share that mutual desire to find time in my fifties, perhaps sooner, before my time runs out. Balance is a vital brass ring to reach for. Everyone wants to get home, but the detours toward success in any career can drive us away.

It does not matter what you do, but how you do it. Bernie had his own candid style. He could not hold back. At times, he made statements that had to be made where too few were willing to make them. All of us want to reach that pinnacle in our careers and some of us take longer than others.
Of course, like anyone, B-M- had his moments, but those blips were totally overwhelmed. Those who paid attention, recognized his remorse and the efforts made to give his gay nephew the respect that he deserved. Sometimes, the only way to learn is to make a mistake, reckon with it, and ask for forgiveness. At times, some of us are too busy, ignorant, or overwhelmed to appreciate remorse.

Some might have found some of those comedic or personal moments crass and over the top. Nevertheless, Shecky Green, among others, were much more racy, IMHO. The Mac Man was sensitive and had a heart. His career turned the corner and humor persisted to those who paid attention.

Bernie was on a run and did not stop until pre-mature illness took his lungs from him and those of us who wanted to hear and see him one more time.
We are fortunate that Bernie's grace, skill and timing will remain digitally ingrained on America's memory. We can only hope that others with such discipline, grace and talent learn, persist, and grow, rather than ignore the challenge. We can ill afford to allow the talented that we know to become the litter of lost dreams.
Those who experience the wrath of sarcoidosis deserve attention. Perhaps, other incredible talents are in our midst who also need our support to keep them going for years to come. Apparently, some of us were unaware of Bernie's challenge.

Let's hope that his wife Rhonda, daughter Je'Niece and grandaughter Jasmine look forward to the future. They should cherish good memories and encourage more of the same among those who care. Chicago has much more talent to share with the world. Let's cheerish it and put it on a pedestal for public consumption.

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