Friday, March 14, 2014

Universality

This is why I like reading biographies. I always learn something, even if it's not what I expected. For example, I now know Johnny Carson had a lot in common with my Cousin Rose.

No, she doesn't smoke or drink. She's not a night owl and she doesn't have a quick wit. He was not a good Catholic who never missed mass, nor was he fascinated by her passion, genealogy.

But they both suffered through bitter divorces, and were permanently damaged by the experience. This passage, from the biography Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin, has stayed with me since I read it four months ago because it reminds me of Rose:

"Johnny changed during the divorce proceedings, and I don't know if he ever entirely changed back … stormy moments came more frequently, and there was an overall harshness, an impatient intolerance that wasn't there before."

Rose waited a long time to marry and it ended horribly. It's left her sharp-tongued, with her temper always close to the surface. It's what Bushkin saw in Johnny, "an overall harshness" and intolerance.

As hard as it can be to be around her, I imagine that it's harder to be her. I must remember that and stay compassionate.

1 comment:

Sorry about adding Comment Moderation, folks. But look at the bright side, at least I've gotten rid of word verification!