Sitting hear, listening through my headphones, to some of the best crooners on the Planet. Old School, New School, neither applies to these gifted few. No one teaches master classes in phrasing, lyric and delivery like they do. At one time or another, everyone looks to them as an influence.
Earlier, it was Bette Middler singing Rosemary Clooney. Right now, it’s Mel Torme rippling through Blues In The Night. But no conversation of the greats can go long without talking about the Chairman. Mr. Frank Sinatra.
A real hallmark of Sinatra’s status is when I consider how many of his hit songs were tagged as ‘signature hits‘. Night and Day; One For My Baby; Autumn in New York; My Way and without any further adieu, Mr. Frank Sinatra, singing New York, New York. Are you kidding? All of them signatures from the same hand; signature sounds.
Which brings me to a guy I used to work with/for. There are very few who taught me more about how things work in the operation of a business than Mr. Swinton. Though I’ve since lost sight of him, I remember his penchant for humming as he went through his day. While he was no Sinatra, he really did have a nice voice. And when you overheard him humming? It was actually sort of cool to be there for it. But what really struck me wasn’t the frequency (or not), but rather, his play list – it was as eclectic, as it was deep.
One day, we were at a pause in what we were doing and I asked him about it. ‘David (I felt funny calling him that even though it was his wish), you’re an accountant by trade, but I hear you do your ‘do-be-doo’ and I swear it was Sinatra…why did you become an accountant?‘ He flashed a quietly benign smile… “It’s not Sinatra. It’s my camouflaged way of reminding myself of what I need to do without it being publicly obvious”. Uh? The enormity of what I was about to learn still blows me away.
“When I need to be certain I’m making the best decision, humming my doo-be-do is actually my soundtrack shorthand for what I do, needs to come from what I’m there to be. What is my mission here?”.
Without making a big deal about it, a much older man was taking the time to tick off for me, the younger, his short list of stressful situations and – the kind of humming he’d add as a backdrop responsive to what needed to be done in the situation he was in. Not only was it cool to think of having an emotional juke box in your head, but I remember being frozen in time, stunned at the sheer and simple brilliance of the efficiency it belied. And the bonus prize? David, making the time to talk with me, Dan.
In a tough situation – with big personalities each wanting you to do what they wanted – who better to channel than Sinatra? Cool and filled with style, both worn over a tungsten clarity one sensed better approached with both respect and/or caution. There’s a reason they called him Mr. Sinatra.
For me the real payoff came a few days later as I was coming out of the elevator and heard David humming ‘do-be-do’ as he stood there for waiting for his ride down. Knowing the inside joke, I turned, tipped my head/hat as I walked by him. All I said was, ‘Mr. Swinton‘. He smiled. Neither one of us said a word more. We didn’t need to. Signature moves.
There was a well-regarded holy man who lived in the hot and dusty plains of his country. His reputation for sage counsel was of the highest order. People from far and wide made appointments to have the holy man listen to their issues. Locals were more than willing to proudly bring up his name in conversation. At one point or another, nearly everyone had seen the holy man walking, at one time or another……everyone knew who he was. Not surprisingly, there always seemed to a small group of students gathered outside his gate, each hoping to present themselves to learn about Life sitting there with the holy man. In another show of what was thought to be his greatness, he’d make appointments to meet with the young disciples as time and, his heavy travel schedule permitted. What can I say? Everybody loves a holy man.
Anyway, a student shows up at the holy man’s house and requests to speak with him. “I’m sorry sir, but you must have a prior appointment. The holy man is not at home today.”
What does the student do?
Instead of admitting he’d been trying to cut in-line, he takes offense.
He starts yelling in front of the small crowd, going on and on about the holy man not having the respect of keeping his appointment. So after a few minutes of this (and maybe sensing he was losing his audience), the young man grabs a brush and a pot of paint from one of the onlookers and writes two words, which in medical terms, describe the one thing each of us have. Tagging accomplished, he was already relishing how he’d embarrass the holy man a week or two later. He would return triumphant and confront the holy man for the insult to his dignity – and, have the added bonus of doing so in front of an audience.
Soon enough, the day came as the student drew near to the house when he suddenly found himself face-to-face with the holy man on his way out the very gate the young man had used as his tablet a few weeks earlier.
Noting the red-painted words were still gracing the panel, he heard the holy man kindly say: ‘Oh, hello young man. How can I help you?
“Holy man. It was 2-weeks ago today when I traveled long distances in order to meet you and you weren’t even here to receive me. No one treats me like that!”.
Without missing a single beat, the holy man said: “Oh, I remember you. You were the one that autographed my gate when I was out. I’m sorry I missed you, but just call for an appointment and use your name. They know who you are.”
For all of our technology, not much has changed. We do the same thing every day. ATM’s, swipe machines, letters home from school, restaurant tabs, memos, parking tickets…we sign things all day long. All of which got me to wondering: How much of what I do comes from guessing what I think someone else wants to hear? And another question. What does the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of what I do have to do with my happiness? I wondered (for quite awhile) about how much of Knowing sources from the ‘Being’ part?
On the edge of getting caught up in the maelstrom of circular logic, I became aware of mentally hearing humming coming from the back porch of my brain. All these years later, it was Mr. Swinton David humming, “Do-Be-do-Be-dooo…”
I remembered his example: Fix your sights on who you are, your Being. Do that a few times, maybe even a few times in-a-row, and watch the odds of your subsequent decisions (and reactions to them) being effective ones, go WAY up.
Who are you and what you stand for? Be it, Do it and you’ve signed it. Don’t? This will not come as a surprise to the calligraphers among you, but you’re signing that one too. No one gets a waiver on this one. Everybody signs. But unlike a painter, we don’t get the privilege of waiting till the end before we sign our name. My discovery was the sooner I acknowledged I’m signing my Life’s work every day, the faster the way I tried to lead my life every day changed. And soon, some of my choices started looking downright wise. Why?
Because I’m committed to be coming from a basis of Being instead of randomly setting off dangerous fusillades of frantic ‘doing’.
And when I don’t?
Life has a way of blowing up all around me. ‘Why did you do that?’ I don’t know. ‘You don’t know?’ Shoot, then aim. Causal. You see my point? In remembering Mr. Swinton’s humming, I’ve been re-gifted with a fun and enjoyable way to keep his insight relevant to the minute-by-minute stewardship of my own Life.
This week, I’m going to be taking a minute or two to look at other forms I use to sign my work. Gravitars, icons and screen names are all evidence of this deep identity water swirling through all of us. Meme’s, acronyms and nick names all signal the world what we think our name is worth. Not by what we say, but by what we do; what we attach it to.
The holy man knew what the two-word tag said, but more importantly he knew the person by the way they signed it. ‘What you’re doing is yelling so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying…’ Sounds like a case of counterfeit forgery, right? Sorry, but that’s not what I signed up for.
I want my name to count for something. I want to know that whether I’m humming ‘Do-Be-do-Be-do’ or ‘ummm-bop’, I’m doing something worthwhile. Sometimes I need to remember it’s more about penmanship than it is the words.
Sometimes it isn’t the lyric, but the Voice inside their song. For your own reasons, please join me this week in being a little ‘do-be-docius’. That’s who I really want to be. It’s who I work on being.
Mr. Sinatra. Thank you.
“So from inside the Savoy and until next week, this is Dan. Signing off”.
Ed Sheeran met a homeless girl whilst working in a shelter.Her name was Angel & she was a drug addict on class A (hard)drugs (hence the A team)She turned to prostitution in order to fund her habit but overdosed & died.
Most of Ed Sheeran’s songs are true events that he experienced. (Official Video) “A Team” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAWcs5H-qgQ Mr. Sheeran performing the same song on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: http://www.cambio.com/2012/10/04/ed-sheeran-on-ellen-degeneres-the-a-team-grade-8-video/
SHEERAN BIO: Edward Christopher “Ed” Sheeran (born 17 February 1991) is an English singer, songwriter, and producer. Born in Halifax, before moving to Framlingham, he learned to play guitar and started writing songs at a young age. He began recording in 2005 and moved to London in 2008 to pursue a musical career. In 2009, inspired by James Morrison, he played 312 gigs. In early 2011, he released his eighth independent extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project; with it, Sheeran gained mainstream attention. Three months later, Sheeran was signed to Asylum / Atlantic Records.
Sheeran broke through commercially in June 2011, when his first single “The A Team” debuted at number three on the UK Singles Chart. Buoyed by the chart success of the singles “The A Team” and “Lego House”, his debut album + has been certified quadruple platinum in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he won two BRIT Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist, and British Breakthrough of the Year, while “The A Team” also won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
ATTRIBUTIONS, PHOTO and ILLUSTRATION CREDITS: Johnny_and_sal: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Johnny_Fiama; } Big Bird – A guide to the Twitter madness Wednesday night’s showdown inspired – http://theweek.com/article/index/234340/unemployed-big-bird-and-3-other-debate-inspired-memes; Frank Sinatra: Feckless Apes: http://fecklessapes.com/2012/cuckoo-broads-dooks-oils-sinatra.html/franksinatra; Nelson Mandela: http://artshumanities.blogs.ie.edu/2012/07/south-africa-celebrates-nelson-mandelas-94rd-birthday.html; Credit Card Receipt Copy: http://www.e-bankcard.com/totalmerchantcenter/creditcardchargebacks.asp; Martin Luther King: http://divinity.duke.edu/initiatives-centers/black-church-studies/lecture-series;
MEMES: What Is a ‘Meme’? What Are Examples of Modern Internet Memes? By Paul Gil @: http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/weirdwebculture/f/What-Is-an-Internet-Meme.htm; “And Coming Up” from a great collection by Spamusement copyright © 2004-2008 Steven Frank http://spamusement.com/index.php/comics/view/170; Ed Sheeran “+” Album cover art: http://edsheeran.com/ with Ed Sheeran Biographical: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Sheeran
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