Monday, August 10, 2009

Kevin Skinner's Stirring Moment: A Tribute to the Human Spirit

Two or so years ago, I sent everyone on my list a Youtube link to a remarkable performance on “Britain’s Got Talent.” It was a fellow named Paul Potts, a very unattractive cell phone salesperson with a very unimpressive appearance, who immediately drew laughs of contempt from a packed audience. He told them he had come to sing opera, and they laughed. And then he sang “Nessun Dorma” and blew everyone away. Last year it was Susan Doyle and a number from “Les Miz.” I have just seen this clip from “America’s Got Talent,” and it touched me very deeply, so I share it.

In our great society, we live amid many wonderful people. Yet, we also live amid too many others who are very materialistic, remarkably superficial, catty, cliquish and caustic -- too many who rush to judgment and too many who judge based on inadequate, superficial information. A look, a prejudgment – and that’s it. Suddenly, a person is pegged, pigeon-holed. Too many hear a malapropism, a mistake, and assume a person is an idiot. They see someone with a shirt a bit wrinkled and assume that the person is a bum -- never pausing to realize that the shirt is 100% linen, not a polyester mix, and every wrinkle will show. So many jump to conclusions, and then the mockery begins, and the character assassination.

This clip is six minutes. Listen during the first two minutes as people literally laugh-out-loud at this man, laugh at his accent, laugh at what he was doing for a living before he became unemployed, laugh at his appearance, laugh at his simple honest confession that he is not very good at math. There is no way fully to gauge how much that caustic response must have hurt him, hurt his soul. They all have him pegged as a bumpkin, a hillbilly from Kentucky. What must it be like to be the butt of humor, the target of attacks and behind-the-back finder-pointing? How much it must have hurt him, through a lifetime.

They all have him pegged for just what he is. Even one of the three judges starts laughing at him, as he speaks.

And then he opens his heart with the pluck of a guitar:

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is *W*O*W* - I'm fighting tears here, in awe of this simple man's heart ...................

    Semper Fi'