Friday, June 18, 2010
all about steve
"Margo Channing is a star of the theater. She made her first stage appearance at the age of four in Midsummer Night's Dream. She played a fairy and entered, quite unexpectedly, stark naked. She has been a star ever since. Margo is a great star, a true star. She never was or will be anything less or anything else."
I could hear George Sanders's mellifluous tones yesterday in a business meeting. I had just finished a short presentation on a new business policy -- smugly thinking how well I had done.
And then I heard the younger attorney I am training as my replacement add more information. He was well-spoken, His additions were helpful. The audience appreciated his participation.
But a little voice in my head started asking: "Why is he talking? Those should be my lines." I call it my Margo Channing syndrome. Vain and churlsh.
For our younger readers Margo Channing is the lead character in one of America's best films: All About Eve -- a movie that drips with life metaphors. Ambition. Betrayal. Manipulation. Triumph. The kind of film Lady MacBeth wishes she could star in. In short, a darn good movie.
It is the story of a young woman (Eve Harrington), who wants to be a Broadway actress. She insinuates herself into the entourage of Margo Channing, a star at the top of her game, and attempts to replace Margo. The new toppling the old.
You can see how an older, retired attorney might feel some connection with the tale -- no matter how tenuous the threads may be.
Coming back to work has told me a lot about myself. I love the work. I like the people I work with. I adore the adulation. It is almost like returning to a sitcom where I had a lead role for 19 years. But I am now simply in a guest role.
Things have moved on. New people now hold the spots above the title.
That is a great lesson. One of the things I missed in Mexico was my web of friends and colleagues in The States -- a ready-made audience for my talents.
Then I broke my ankle. And I learned that I had the starts of a good network in Melaque. My Salem network took almost 20 years to develop. But I found the new network in Melaque was every bit as satisfying as my old one.
Seeing new people in my old roles simply reminds me that nothing stays the same. Everything grows. And usually for the better.
My role now is to gracefully pass on what I can, and to then shuffle (or hobble, in my current condition) off the stage before I am relegated to character bits as the eccentric, aging uncle.
George Sanders's summary of Margo really does not apply to me. But a slightly paraphrased version of another of his lines may:.
"While you wait, you can read my [blog]. It'll make minutes fly like hours."
No need to buckle your seat belt on this ride. It will be smooth sailing until I return to Mexico.