The book club I am involved in at Seymour Community High School had its inaugural meeting. Our book of the month for January 2012 was When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub. An engaging autobiography of a man who was Brooklyn born and Bronx raised and never took “no” for an answer. A self-made millionaire who continued to climb the ladder of behind-the-scenes show biz success as an agent for rising star after rising star and to finally becoming a movie producer, Weintraub’s stories made me laugh and, at times, sent pain through my heart for a man who had given way too much of his life to his unquenchable thirst for money, success, and fame and neglected his children and his wife. The narration delved into Weintraub’s intimate relationship with several famous (and infamous) Hollywood artists, musicians, and actors including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and John Denver.
While the lifestyle Weintraub created for himself and for those in his inner circle did not completely resonate with us, our book club found an appreciation for someone who was willing to persistently follow his dream despite the setbacks. A couple members of our group couldn’t help but think of how lucky this man was that things continued to work out even when it seemed he was doomed to fail. A few of us agreed the book was pleasurable to read because it didn’t require too much deep thought or consideration; we could go to bed after reading a chapter or two and not be compelled to ponder the depths of existentialism. A few of us found Weintraub to be arrogant, quite superficial, and self-serving. Still, however, there were anecdotes which intrigued all of us.
Our first meeting EVER went well. I was happy to be among a group of colleagues sharing in a discussion about a common topic beyond the scope and sequence of our profession as educators. I look forward to many more of these opportunities with this rich resource of people I work side-by-side with each and every day. With the collaboration of wonderful people, my cup has been (re)filled.