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July 19, 2006 |

Post to the Host:
I've seen the movie twice, the second time last week with my two daughters, 16 and 24. Minutes into the movie, the 16-year-old was busily returning text messages to relieve her boredom. The 24-year-old seemed halfway interested. Then something happened. The song that Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin sang, "Goodbye to My Mama," caught us all by surprise, even me, though I had seen the movie the week before. This month is the 3rd anniversary of their mother's death from breast cancer after a valiant 6 year battle. After that song my 16-year-old actually paid attention to the rest of the movie. It meant a lot to me. Thank you. Do you ever think about the impact your comments have on people?

Jerry P.
Arlington, Texas

I think about it a lot, Jerry, usually in dread of boring people to death. I imagine standing on stage and pouring my heart out and kids in the audience text-messaging their friends, YOU CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT A SNOOZEFEST THIS IS. This past winter, I had many many such moments, teaching a course at the University. You stand up in front of 140 young people and you're dancing as fast as you can, being witty and bold, and you look back to the fifth row and there's a guy giving you that Look that says, Who are you and why are you saying such stupid things? It's disconcerting. But then I figure, hey, it's my job to keep going and it's their job to tune me out.

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