If you have somehow not yet seen the video of Susan Boyle which has been making the rounds all week, I request that you stop reading right now and go here. My words can wait, you need to experience this without me spoiling it for you.
Miss Susan Boyle, never been married, never even been kissed. She lives with her cat and is currently unemployed. A situation which I sincerely hope changes very soon. Her story is quite similar to British tenor Paul Pots who also wowed the audience during the show "Britons Have Talent".
Susan is also nothing special to look at. Upon first glance she is downright frumpy. Simple but elegant dress, lower class accent, 'can't do anything with it' hairstyle, eyebrows that Andy Rooney would be envious of. In short, the "everyman" or "everywoman" as it would be.
Yet she got up onto that stage, faced dingle-head Simon Cowell with barely noticeable trepidation and sung her heart out. You know what? She's good. She's very good. Her song choice is a hard one, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misarables.
What a fitting song title. She was truly living a dream up on that stage, a dream of singing in front of large audience that thanks to cheaply made "Reality TV" - and the lovely side effect of the Internet, namely "going viral" - she has had the chance to live it out.
But the story behind the story is this evil little side of all of us who see a person like this get up in front of an audience and expect a William Hung moment. How could this person with no polish, none of the things we expect from exceptional people stand up there and say that she wanted to be famous? Who does she think she is?
Deep down, in places we don't like to think about, we are all this way. We might have admired her pluck, but we were ready to laugh at her, we were expecting a healthy dose of schadenfreude. May the laughter start, come on... the producers of this show wouldn't let us down.
As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. Talent doesn't always come in a pretty package, it just IS. Society has pre-conditioned us to believe that only the beautiful can have talent, only the the perfect can rise to the top of the heap. So when we see someone like Miss Boyle on the stage it is only natural for us to summarily dismiss her as a plump, decidedly unfashionable "nobody". It is a human trait which I generally find disgusting.
I love it. Here is an average person with above-average talent and the guts to stand up and be heard. She may not be stunningly beautiful, but what she does have is spunk, and lots of it... and the talent to back it up. Oh, and she has LOTS of viewers, 20 million views and counting on the original YouTube clip. All of this is a prime example of a human trait I cherish... our love for the underdog.
Thanks Susan Boyle for your dream. It reminds us to ignore our own nagging doubts and pursue what we want most... no matter how big or little it is.