Last Wednesday I was honored to be in attendance during an interview with Alan Zweibel, prior to viewing a screening for the movie Valentine’s Day. As soon as the special guest was announced and it was clear they would not be interviewing “a real star” as the class has been known to do in the past, one question gripped my disappointment: “Who is Alan Zweibel?”
Well as I found out during the interview: He is “An original Saturday Night Live writer, Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America, and TV Critics awards for his work in television which also includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (which he co-created and executive produced), Monk, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. In films, he co-wrote the screenplays for Dragnet, North, and The Story of Us.”
This average looking middle-aged white man was unassuming in his dress and demeanor. I am certain that if any of us were to pass him on the streets we wouldn’t think twice about whom he was or what he does or what he is capable of. We wouldn’t ask him for his autograph, or tell him how funny he is or shake his hand out of appreciation for any of the many jokes that originated on his pen that caused us to laugh.
Over the course of the 35 minute interview, it became clear that this man means something to me. I’ve never met him and his existence has been foreign to my awareness; but just by his living and working and loving and playing, my life has been touched. He means something to me because I’m sure I’ve repeated one of his jokes, or told one of his stories, or entertained myself by unconsciously thinking of some character he created.
Then I extrapolated this experience by looking around to the people who sat in the audience with me. Anyone of them could be Alan Zweibl. They probably aren’t hilarious writers, but maybe one of them had something to do with the delicious pastry I ate that morning. Or maybe someone in that room is the inspiration of an artist that will one day touch me. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone in there hasn’t already given me a smile or a laugh. Maybe the kind soul who found my wallet in the grocery store parking lot and turned it in without taking a thing was sitting behind me that night!
I became overcome with emotion nearly to the point of tears. In those moments I gained a deeper understanding of what it means to look upon every person I see with love and appreciation. Our connection on this planet is such that when you are living your purpose, it affects the whole planet. This experience reminded me to see the Alan Zweibel in every person I see on the street, on the train, in the gym, just everyone.
So if you see me walking around staring at people and smiling, it’s because I’m really beginning to see the truth of our connection. I know everyone is doing something that’s supporting my happiness, and for that I’m grateful.