It was a beautiful day just outside of Porto, Portugal. Seventy degrees, sun shining bright, blue skies overhead, the Atlantic Ocean on our left, straight, paved road in front of us. And then, boom! Next thing I know I’m on the ground. At first I didn’t know what had happened but I knew I was in a great deal of pain: my head, my ribs, my left arm.
I dis-entangled myself from the bicycle. The group I was riding with, including my lovely bride of twenty-five years (this trip is our anniversary present to each other), hovered over me, asking how I was. I assured everyone I was okay, although I was feeling far from it. I convinced my wife and the group to head back to Porto. Once they are gone I asked the bike tour guide to take me to the hospital.
The hospital was clean but shopworn. Looked like it should have been painted three or four years ago. The hallway outside the emergency room was lined with people laying in gurneys. I was beginning to wonder if going there was a good idea. Then I was taken into triage – the doctor is beautiful, literally one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I was in pain but I flirted with her. Couldn’t help it. She ordered a cat scan of my head and x-rays of my left arm and chest. The equipment, unlike the facility itself, was first class; brand new. Everyone I come in contact with was terrific. Most of them speak English.
My head was okay, my ribs were bruised but not broken but my left elbow – not so lucky there, it was broken. The surgeon (another doctor – he wasn’t so beautiful) tells me I’ll need surgery. By this point, facility aside, I was very impressed with the quality of care I had received but I tell him I would prefer to have surgery back in the States – not because I didn’t think he would do a great job – I was sure he would – but it was more about the recovery period. I wanted to be home for that. So, he puts me in a cast and I rejoin Marsha and the biking group. We travel onto to Lisbon the next day and three days later Marsha and I fly home.
The lesson in all of this: pay attention to what’s important. I was distracted by a piece of string hanging down from my pants leg. There was no way it could’ve gotten caught in the chain wheel but I leaned down to tuck it away, took one hand off the handlebars, hit a bump and went down.
Many times during my recovery – walking around Lisbon with a cast on, flying, getting home, having surgery, during re-hab – I thought about those two seconds and the many other times I’ve been guilty of not paying attention to what’s important. And the consequences of those lapses. I’m sure each one of you has a story similar to this – where you stopped paying attention to what was important and then the next thing you knew you were flat on your metaphorical back.
Life is filled with distractions both good and bad and that is why paying attention to what is truly important is so…important. Take it from a guy who now has a plate and six screws in his elbow.
Okay, here’s what’s coming up:
On the 1st of Dec. we’re going to have a very special guest leading our next FREE INDUSTRY WORKSHOP. Because of commitments to other organizations our guest has requested two things: One, that we don’t use his name. (Trust me you are going to want to be there for this workshop.) and two, that the workshop is only open to actors who have actually studied with me.
As you know, ordinarily these workshops are open to those actors and to the readers of this blog. I wish all of you could be there but because this guy is a GIANT in the industry we are going to honor his requests.
The format for that evening is going to be different as well. Instead of actors doing monologues this workshop will consist of a talk followed by an extensive Q & A. Our guest has assured me this workshop will rock everybody’s world. Knowing him I am sure it will.
The next two-camera scene study class starts on the 6th of Dec. It goes until the 7th of February. We will be off the 20th and 27th of Dec. for the holidays.
The next commercial workshop starts on the 9th of Jan. 2017 and goes until the 20th of February. More details about both classes can be found here.
That’s all I’ve got. Remember, when you figure out what it is you want, pay attention to what’s important so you don’t end up with a broken elbow.