Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd; I've just penned a little tribute for you. It's sure to become one of my personal favorites and I'd like to dedicate it to a young woman who doesn't think she's seen anything good lately - Whitney, this one's for you.
(Okay, I’ve finally had a really good reason to use that quote… and I’ve been waiting a while. Hey give me five stars if you know what movie that’s [kind of, allowing for artistic license] from!)
I’ll bet this is a story that many of you can tell, but it doesn’t make mine any less special. You see, we’ve got this great forum here, and I usually use it to rant on and on – mostly for entertainment purposes and usually not serving any great good. Of course, I realize that “feel good” stories aren’t really the stuff of strikingly successful journalism – people would rather read about war, murder and the impending doom that may be lurking in our household items. But, I’ve decided to use my powers (and to the extent I’ve earned one, thus far, my “audience”) for good, this time.
I know a girl who has no idea how amazing she is. None. In fact, despite the obvious indicia that surround her, she constantly feels like she’s second best, overshadowed and marginalized. I suppose that’s the problem with being on a team with seventeen other pretty girls. But that’s why they put good art in a gallery with other art – because it’s good. I don’t know how to explain to her that it’s not the loudest painting in that room, or the one that’s getting the most attention that's necessarily the best piece of art in there. It’s really about the one that consistently moves you. It’s about the one you remember long after you’ve gone; the one you’d want to hang in your living room and see every day – and not just at the gallery’s opening party.
Okay, there’s nothing I’m going to tell you here that you can’t find out with about thirty seconds worth of half-competent Google searching – so don’t think that I’m exposing her. Of course, she’s the last person who would ever be comfortable with having her praises sung like this – but I think it’s exactly what she needs.
Whitney is a dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers. She’s been there for three seasons (I think)… and even surrounded by amazing dance talent – it’s easy to see how she keeps making the team. It’s just fun to watch her dance – and not because she’s beautiful and wearing some zesty on-court outfit… it’s because she’s really feeling it – and you can’t fake that – and you feel it right along with her. She’s got this smile that just makes you want to go right up to her and say “hi”… which is best described as the exact opposite of those “parade wave” smiles you see on the Laker girls. She looks you right in the eye when you talk to her… and she listens; which is about as rare in beautiful girls in L.A. as snow days here.
She teaches kindergarten. Yes, that’s right, she teaches kindergarten. And it doesn’t stop there. She has a graduate degree which she got while dancing for the Clips. Oh yeah, and did I mention that she dances in a Disneyland parade in her spare time? Yeah, she’s Supergirl… I know. And now, so do you. But that’s not the problem. It’s that she doesn’t.
She doesn’t have a hard-candy shell. She wears her heart on her sleeve, even though she knows better. In fact, that’s the thing we have in common. She has bad days. She’s real. And she, like me, can feel lonely standing mid-court in a sold-out STAPLES center. I can’t convince her that these things make her more beautiful and not less. The funny thing is that I feel the least alone when I’m standing next to her. There’s something unbelievably comforting about knowing that someone knows all about the things you don’t tell everyone.
She’s more comfortable in sweats than a cocktail dress (in fairness, who isn’t?), and looks amazing in both. Her signature outfit is a v-neck t-shirt and pair of seriously baggy warm up pants – and it’s stunning.
She’s sunshine on a rainy day. Hell, she’s sunshine on a sunny day. She gave a damn about me right after we met – and doesn’t care about my job, my car or my shoes. Okay, she might care about my shoes, but only if they’re cool or not – not how much they cost. She’s the first person since I left the Navy to give a decently cool nickname – and I smile each time she calls me “Glenndo.”
She sees other girls who have leveraged their looks for freebies and is jealous, despite the fact that she’s far too principled to ever do the same. She sees the attention foisted on girls who wear their sexuality like a garish new accessory – and wonders why, when it seems so transparent and silly. Subtlety is mostly lost on the boorish and drooling masses – that’s what makes it attractive to those of us who notice. Trust me, love, the guys who you want to notice, notice (and we want no part of those girls who have had more hands on them than a public toilet flushing handle).
Too often self-help gurus peddle us platitudes about us all being special, when that’s hardly the case. And I hate people who toss around that sort of compliment casually. Truth is, there aren’t a lot of special people around. Most folks are devastatingly simple. Most people have a couple of directions, a handful of motivations, and the best thing in their life is their TV viewing schedule or their party calendar. Of course, the majority of them couldn’t read this far into an article to save their own life – so I hardly run the risk of offending. The thing is… Whitney is special.
And, maybe, just maybe, if I tell enough people… she’ll start to believe it herself.