“Now, I’m always careful about drawing too many easy parallels there, because sometimes there are CEOs who come in and start explaining to me how I should be running the presidency. And I sometimes have to stop them and say, ‘All right. One, I appreciate your advice. But imagine a situation in which half your board and management were actively trying to get rid of you and prevent you from accomplishing anything. And you had 2 million employees, and you couldn’t fire a large portion of them. And your competitors weren’t simply promoting their own products, but were continually saying how your products were the worst that were ever invented and will cause a civilizational crisis. If you pull that all together, then you’ve got about half of what I’m dealing with on a daily basis.'”
I remember the first time I got to see a professional basketball game in person. We were way up in the nosebleed section. We watched the players race across the floor and it felt surreal.
These giants of athleticism smashing into each other. The speed they moved and the fluids movements were like a dance.
A finely choreographed ballet of baskets unfolded. It was a blast.
Later, I saw another game. This time I was closer. I could see the players better. They were closer and it was more real. And they were human.
From afar, these people were a mysterious persona a mile high standing billboard tall. Up close, they were human. Big, bulky humans but humans.
That’s why I’ve never had a sense of celebrity worship. They’re just people. They do a job. They do it well. But they still get up in the morning feeling sick. They still have to put gas in their car and shop for groceries.
They still eat and sleep. They’re flesh and blood.
I started thinking about this during the follow-up with Marc Maron after his interview with President Obama.
When I listened to his interview I was struck by the humanity. This was a carefully orchestrated press appearance. This was two guys sitting in a garage talking about their lives.
In the follow-up Maron talked about how human Obama was when he was there. He said, here I am sitting there looking at his mouth. Looking at his eyes. His face. He sat right across a desk from The President.
He is human.
When they took pictures afterward, they shook hands and wrapped their arms around each other. Just like you would with a friend or family member.
It’s worth your time to listen to the interview with President Obama. It’s a humanizing look at a man we often see and hear from in our best and worst times. But he’s an imperfect man full of fear and courage.