ShermanI’m not a big football fan. Play-off games and the Super Bowl, those are about the only games Nettie and I watch. So we watched the Seattle Seahawks & San Francisco 49’s game last week. We saw the Richard Sherman’s controversial “rant” at the post game interview when the Seahawks won. I understand how adrenalin can lead to vitriol and from vitriol to ugly chest-pounding. I also read Sherman’s reasoned and reasonable letter justifying his outrage and the NFL audio tape that confirms what Sherman said. (If none of this paragraph makes sense to you, don’t worry, this blog is not about football. Read on.)

NFL HonorsWhat struck me about the day of watching NFL football was a commercial for the NFL Honors Awards on TV. The third annual. Seriously? We now have an awards show for football players? What…being selected among thousands to be an NFL player isn’t enough validation that you’re the best? Getting paid millions isn’t sufficient praise for your abilities? Making the play-offs isn’t adequate for your ego? Going to the Super Bowl and getting that cool diamond encrusted ring and hearing the screaming adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans isn’t satisfactory confirmation that you’re a superhuman? You now have to have a post-season awards show as well!

OscarsBut of course, this blog isn’t about football, and it certainly isn’t only elite athletes who apparently need continuous reinforcement of their VIP status, their Olympian attainments. There are thousands of awards shows. Just to name a few think of the Grammy Awards for musicians, the Golden Moose Awards for hunters, the Antique Motorcycle Awards for bikers, the AVN Awards for porn stars, the Worms Awards for video gamers, and the granddaddy of them all, the Academy Awards so we can all fawn over stars who by every measure of their profession have already attained near sainthood. It’s gotten so bad that even a mattress salesman has to say “I am the King,” to feel good about himself. Jeez!

And yet…

I am not immune to the sound of cheers and hand-clapping (nor familiar with them) or the sight of shiny golden trophies or diamond encrusted rings (nor have ownership of them). Would I turn down an invitation to the Oscars for a script of mine that somehow found its way hence? Would I return unopened an invitation to a lovely awards banquet with lobster and caviar in presentation of my first Pulitzer Prize? NO. Adamantly NO. Don’t be silly. In fact, I would double-check that my name and address were correct so that such an invitation did not get lost in the mail.

So what gives? Is it simple sour-grapes I’m expressing and common envy I’m feeling when I become disgusted with the spectacle of accolades we embrace? Maybe. But I think it’s more than that.

Most of us want acknowledgement for a job well done, for an act completed with grace or style that best represents our intentions. I understand that. And if our own self-approval is not enough, if our own recognition of our achievement doesn’t serve the purpose, I wonder how much will be enough? How many people must cheer us on or sing our praises before our ego is sated? Who can say?

Furthermore, who can say where and when this need to be a Very Important Person began? When did our individual praise need to be reinforced by someone else’s very important praise? Hmmm…

Yoga 3I went to yoga Saturday morning after a nearly 6-month break due to a sore shoulder. I wondered how difficult some of the poses would be, how out of shape I would feel. I was creaky, it’s true, but not as creaky as I feared. Victoria, my wonderful teacher and friend, kept an eye on me from her perch on her sticky mat. After I completed what was a particularly challenging pose for me, she brightly said, “Good Frank, very good.” Her praise swelled my chest and inflated my self image instantly. I smiled to myself. Good Frank, echoed in my brain.

The echo turned into another voice, a distant voice through many decades of clouded memory. It was my mother’s voice, “Good Mickey bowl 1Frank,” she said as she cleared my Mickey Mouse bowl of cereal from the table, “Good job eating your breakfast.”

I beamed. I blushed. I hurried to get out of my chair and up to the stage to give my acceptance speech.



3 Responses to VIP – Very Important Praise

  1. Linda Nogales says:

    I love this post. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  2. Virginia says:

    Glad you are back, Frank…it’s fun to read your essays. Always thought provoking. And, I always appreciate your special humor.

  3. Elyce Wakerman says:

    Good post, Frank. Very, very good. 🙂

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