“I just want to get to the end of my personality and just lay in the sun.” – Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher (RIP) was a big personality. Now part of her persona was a mental health issue with a dose of Hollywood ego, a lot of caffeine, and probably a drug or two in the mix. But none the less when Ms. Fisher was “on” she was large and in-charge.
I am a people watcher and I love talking to strangers. As the father of daughters I have spent a lot of time waiting inside and outside of clothing stores either watching people move through the streets or striking up conversations with other dads trying to pass the time. What I have learned through all this scientific waiting research is this, we humans are a very strange breed with our own individual quirks and personalities.
Every community has the successful businessman with the big personality, that larger than life guy. Someone who has enough personality for 12 people or, if you could plug them in, power a small town. Ours was a gentleman that owned a real estate company and true to form, he was a force of nature until the day he died.
A big guy, both in height and girth, I never saw him when he wasn’t turned on. I know his wife, I know his entire family, and I always wondered if they had to medicate him just to get him in the bed at night. He was very successful, but there were times in his business career when his success made him stumble, when he learned that not everything he touched could or would turn to gold. But even during his struggles, when he was scrambling to raise cash to keep his empire, and family, because everyone worked for him, afloat he did it with a smile, the same booming voice and enthusiasm.
He filled a big space on this planet and sucked a lot of oxygen out of it and when he died a couple of years ago many of us felt it. It was like the continuum of space and time folded into itself with a quake, a puff of white smoke and he was gone. After he left there was a little more elbow room, a little more oxygen and a lot more silence.
I loved being around this guy but it was exhausting and I can only imagine what it was like for those who worked or lived with him. His wife is steady and quiet. No rollercoaster of emotions. The expression on her face is always stoic which says there is nothing you can do to shake me, I have been up, I have been down, and here is my ticket for the ride.
My personality has actually shrunk rather than expanded in the last ten years or so. I wish my waistline would as well. In my thirties and forties I felt the need to be on every committee, every board, every club. And if I was going to do that then I might as well give them the pleasure of my leadership as president or chairman also. I stacked my resume with a list of titles and civic organizations but then I quit, cold turkey. I grew tired of hearing my own voice. I began to reflect on the reasons why I needed all of these extracurricular activities. Was I doing it to help the community or feed my personality, and my ego?
Yes I have shrunk my personality universe. I can still turn it on when I need to but I use a dimmer switch now instead. This world has enough personalities, at least enough big ones and I am beginning to wonder if we don’t have too many.
“If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” – David Letterman