Thirty two years ago, bad boy Dustin Hoffman accepted his first Oscar for **Kramer vs. Kramer** on behalf of all actors. Being a Dillard School of Performing Arts acting student, I thanked Dustin in the journal we were required to write to Mrs. Rassi.
The next day in class, Mary Helen Rassi acknowledged Dustin's passionate speech. However she focused on several Broadway performers who thought they "had it made" when they were featured on **A Chorus Line.** When their careers did not evolve, some of these performers suffered nervous breakdowns and substance abuse. To quote my mentor from this day, April 15, 1980;
"It is important to be successful, but it is even more important to know your own success."
Those words have been a comfort to me given my inability to win an Oscar in the past 32 years. I've reviewed my experiences in the art and entertainment fields, I've realized that much of the glitz & glamor are synthetic by-products. My joy has been creating the actual product, whether it was writing, directing, producing, acting, research and development. My Dad taught this value to me.
During my "unemployment years," I was getting frustrated watching some unscrupulous people succeed in the entertainment and educational fields. At my brother's request, I went to Fort Washington, Maryland to house sit. This house-sitting project lasted 6 months and I had no television. The highlight of my assignment was working with my Dad for two and 1/2 weeks.
During our fortnight together, Dad & I did simple repairs and upped the value of the house by ten thousand dollars. Dad reminded me of the carpenter's motto, "Measure twice, cut once" and that there are no shortcuts to success.
Since that time, I have been blessed with steady income and many more conversations with my parents. Starting in his seventies, my Dad became a Master Model Boat Builder, which was the culmination of his craft, talent and experiences over the years. Dad's approach to the task rivals the mindset of Michelangelo and Da Vinci.
Coverage of Oscar seemed to focus more on the red carpet and less on the artistic success of **The Artist** and **Hugo,** which reminded of Mrs. Rassi's words from 32 years ago. On the other hand, my Dad has been happily married for 65 years, raised 3 kids with a master's degrees, mentors his 5 grandchildren and quietly turned 90 this week. My Dad lived by example and I love him for that.