I dreamed of Bernie Mac last night. This is - was - a man who changed my understanding of men, of what it is to BE a "man."
What a fortunate woman
I watched an interview with Mr. Mac during the falderol leading up to the release of 2007's "Pride," a poorly directed film of a inspirational story taken from real-life. The (vacuous? bored?) interviewer asked Mr. Mac "Why no Speedos for you?" Now I was annoyed by the interviewer, and I seemed to see a flicker of annoyance cross Bernie Mac's face, too, but he didn't miss a beat. He leaned forward, looked the woman dead in the eye and said "You're dealing with a man here, understand? Not a boy, a man" then he leaned back, rolled his cigar, and said "No. No Speedo."
I can't explain it, but his words were like a spear, a laser to the most intensely female part of my being. Beyond being rocked by the sheer Lionesque intensity of the man, with those few words he opened my eyes to the emotional depth of what a real MAN, and correspondingly, a real WOMAN is all about. About how it's about taking responsibility for yourself and for others, maintaining an integrity of person based on a set of values and principles that are borne of experience and careful judgement.
I loved watching Bernie Mac. He was brilliant (and underrated) as the Store Security Chief in Bad Santa, terrific but underused in the Tour d'Force Oceans 11, 12, and 13 movies, amazing in his reinvention of iconic Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with Guess Who, the entire reason for seeing The Kings of Comedy, and ground-breaking in The Bernie Mac Show. But he had me from the day of the Pride interview forward...I simply swooned whenever I heard his name, and I cried when I heard this MAN was gone from my world. Bernie Mac was a Force of Nature, and he made the world a much better place for having been here.