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Monday, May 23, 2011

What I’ll Remember from Oprah

Everyone who owns a television – or a radio, computer, or really any modern device that keeps us in touch with the news – knows Oprah Winfrey is ending her show after 25 years. I’ll admit, I watched the show fairly regularly in what I guess were the “early days,” back when some of her shows rivaled Morton Downey, Jr.’s nightly trash TV fest.

But despite my pet peeve with the Talk Show Queen, I respect what she created. I really don’t see how anyone could feel otherwise, regardless of how they might feel about her show. Certainly, she got a bit preachy from what I’ve seen in the last few days, but she puts her money where her mouth is – literally and figuratively.

In just my second “installment” of my effort to write something positive on a regular basis, I thought it was appropriate to note that the best thing I ever took from the Oprah Show was the idea that everything would be a lot better if everyone just took care of their own – themselves, their kids, family, etc.

Of course, it’s a pollyanna idea, and people will poke holes in it immediately. But most of those holes start with “but what about the guy not taking care of his own.” It doesn’t really refute the idea, because the whole point is that the other guy would do it. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and we do have to worry about the other guy who wants what isn’t his or doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain.

Despite the obvious pitfalls of the notion, it seems like a place to start. I think “taking care of your own business” means something different for everybody, and it may be a goal that even if never achieved is worth striving towards. Believe me, I’m certainly not suggesting I’ve achieved this goal. I’m not even sure I’ve started to work on it, but I’m doing my best.

For me, I think the goal entails trying to stay productive instead of giving into the lack of employment opportunities. It means trying to do something positive for others facing the same obstacles I face. Sometimes I think it means staying active despite my physical disability. In black and white, these seem like rather simple goals, but I see them as baby steps that I hope will lead somewhere.

I know a lot of guys will be taking shots at Oprah as she exits stage left (“for now,” I’m guessing), but I think she leaves at least one message behind worth remembering.

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