In an effort to build strong relationships and to reinforce lessons on leadership in my Disaster Response class, I do a series of “tag” sessions where each student answers a simple question that tells the class something about who they are, how they see themself or what they believe. After a student answers a question they call on (“tag”) another student in the room.
I always go first on these tag activities to illustrate the topic. The topic yesterday was, “What television, movie character is most like you?” My illustration (for me) was Bette Midler, to which one of my students said, “Who’s that?” Oh my – somedays I forget how young they are. I told the student to Google the Divine Miss M after class and we moved on.
I was relating this story to my daughter Sarah (30) last night while my younger daughter Cheyenne (12) was in earshot. I was lamenting how old my references are starting to be relative to the young people in my class. That was when Cheyenne said, “You should have said you were Betty White! Everybody knows Betty White.”
I have to tell you folks, Sarah and I laughed our fannies off. It was a classic response. Of course Cheyenne later qualified that she thought Betty White was a good choice because she is so funny – not because she is old and wrinkled.
The reality is Betty White, who just turned 90 is iconic at this point. She can say and do just about anything in her sassy Betty White way and we love her all the more. Her wit is always quick and sharp and she inserts it in her conversations with an ease that makes you want to just go along with her for the ride (for an example of this catch her interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio).
Next year I will do this tag activity again and I will again go first, but next year I will say Betty White. I am fairly sure no one will ask me who she is – they all know her. Albeit, I do think that me saying I am like Betty White will be the equivalent of taking Betty White’s name in vain – I recognize I am not worthy…but Cheyenne thinks it is a good fit so I’ll go with it. Now all I have to hope is that students think that I chose Betty White because I am funny, not because I am old and wrinkled.
Day nine hundred and twenty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da