George Stephanopoulos is turning fifty today, and in honor of that auspicious occasion, and because there would have been no In Search of George Stephanopoulos book or this blog without him, I thought I'd write a little birthday piece, an Ode to George, if you will.
I could fill it with platitudes about how smart he is or how instrumental he was in helping Bill Clinton get elected president, or how well he transitioned from politics to journalism, but that's all water under the bridge, and it's been said before, so I see no point in stating the obvious.
No, today I'd like to talk about that thing we all wonder about people who have achieved celebrity status - what are they like when the cameras aren't rolling? That, my friends, is the million dollar question. And take it from someone who's met a few celebrities in her time, they aren't all nice.
For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time, (welcome and where the hell have you been?!!) my quest to meet George Stephanopoulos began when he was an eligible bachelor and I was going out on a lot of bad blind dates set up by well-meaning friends. While it's true that George is on TV, he is also intelligent, of the same political persuasion as I am, and seemed, at least publicly, like he was a nice guy - all of which meant George and I had more in common than the people I was dating. Plus, he's also left handed.
My road to trying to meet George Stephanopoulos had many near misses, all of which I've documented in my book (which, because this is an excellent opportunity for shameless self promotion, can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/in-search-of-george-stephanopoulos-a-true-story-of-life-love-and-the-pursuit-of-a-short-greek-guy/11904093?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/2).
Along the way George got married and started a family, which left me without the Cinderella ending to my tale that I had hoped for. And though George's romantic ship had sailed without me, it occurred to me that all the things that were appealing about him to me in the first place, were still true.
I wondered what the lesson was and if there could be a different version of success than I had envisioned initially. What if you go for what it is you want and you don't get it? What if, along the way, you become a changed person because of it, meeting people you never would have met, having amazing adventures you never would have had? Is success dependent on the outcome we receive, or is it dependent on who we become in the process?
So I wrote George Stephanopoulos a heartfelt letter, telling him this story of how in my search for him, I found me. I told him I had no book deal on the table and no agent. Basically, I told him that there was nothing in it for him in granting me a few minutes of his time, except the possibility that anyone who might eventually read the book would have the satisfaction of knowing that sometimes the underdog does succeed and that going for your dreams, even the ridiculous or seemingly frivolous ones, is always rewarded in unimaginable ways.
So he called me. Yes, it was a few minutes of his time, but it meant the world to me. He was kind and generous of spirit and there was no one around but me to witness it. My book was completed and published, which he couldn't have known it ever would be at the time of our conversation.
So here's to not just a smart guy, but a good guy. I am grateful that there are still people around, famous or not, who don't need to ask, "What's in it for me?"
Happy Birthday to you, George. And thanks.
Peace and Blessings,