March 2004 -
I had just completed work as one of the producers of Bravo's hit five-part series, "The 100 Greatest TV Characters." I had then telephoned Nora Ephron in New York about her assignment as screenwriter and director of the "Bewitched" feature film. As I was responsible for having Nicole Kidman cast in the movie's lead, I offered my further services as a consultant on the movie. A few weeks later, I sat down with Nora and her production team - and it was a good meeting. Though the movie did not ultimately perform as well as I had hoped, and though Nora did not fully embrace all of my suggestions, the film still went on to make money for the studio (Sony) - and to keep "Bewitched" alive.
I was promised that my book, "Bewitched Forever," would be displayed in the movie, and I was offered a small part in the film. But I had to return to Rochester to care for my Mom.
Upon my return to Rochester, I moved into an apartment close-by to my Mom. The building's management had completely remodeled it for me, and it was quite beautiful. More importantly, it allowed me easy access to caring for my Mom. Meanwhile, too, I still had work to do on my "Bionic Book," the "Life Goes On" companion book, and "NBC & ME: My Life As A Page In A Book."
As a writer, I am able to work anywhere. So, it was all good.
Still, I had a measure of apprehension in returning to Rochester - and giving up "my dream"...and my "talents."
But that would all change after one little conversation with the telephone man.
For one reason or another, as this man, who I had never met, starting installing my new telephone and telephone service in my new apartment - he felt compelled to reveal a message to me. He had noticed that I was somewhat despondent.
"Sir," he began to ask. "You seem to be troubled?"
"I am," I replied.
"What is the problem?"
"Well, now that you've asked, I feel that I have given up my dreams. I have all of these talents...and yet, here I am - back in Rochester, at 44-years-old - and far from Los Angeles, where I should be. As a writer, an actor, an author, a singer, a dancer, a TV producer - I need to be in LA. I am not properly employing my talents."
"Sir, if I may say - you are incorrect."
"When we just met a moment ago, you talked to me like you have known me my whole life. You mentioned your talents as a writer and actor...but one of your great talents...is your ability to communicate. To be kind. That is evident more than anything else. Your talents are not just what you do, but WHO YOU ARE. And from what I can see, Sir. You're a fine human being. You are considerate and polite. Those traits outweigh whatever other talents you may display."
I was stunned to silence - and embarrassed. How could I be so foolish.
Though I am no angel, I do indeed make every attempt to be as kind as I can - whenever I can - and wherever I go. I don't always accomplish this. And I have not always accomplished this in the past. But I wake up every day, and ask myself, "What am I able to do today that will make some kind of contribution to the world?"
Not only that, staying in Rochester, of course, allowed me to care for my Mom, who remains a beautiful soul. And I knew in my heart of hearts, that no matter how long I care for her - God, the Universe, or however we choose to call the Creator of Love, would never abandon me or my dreams or my talents.
Especially, now - that I was reminded of some of my TRUE talents.
Indeed, I will never forget the true communication I received from my telephone man -who delivered to me a very special "wake-up" call.