Thursday, November 17, 2016
David Letterman's Questions
The article “He Shops at Target These Days” found in the New York Times, October 23, 2016 referred to former talk show host David letterman. Erik H Erickson’s Childhood and Society published by WW Norton and Company, Inc. provided insights into some of letterman’s current psychological issues .He had been with CBS’s “Late Show” for 33 years. Erikson postulated that the human personality unfolds according to predetermined psychosocial crises found in one’s life cycle. The emphasis here is about and limited to the psychosocial, while the task is about the ability or potential to acquire human strength. In May 2015, David Letterman, age 69, left the television world. For the past year and a half, he had been living a relatively normal life - even shopping at Target. He commented that he had grown a beard and that for him “A beard is a good reminder to me that that was a different life. I’m hopeful that I will either find something else, or something else will be presented to me.” Some might say that letterman is in retirement, and now what? Some might say that he had influenced prior generations. Some might say that he has vitality left, and is not yet ready to pull the plug. Letterman went on to say that he doesn’t miss late night television “I’m a little embarrassed that for 33 years it was the laser focus of my life.” He added that he was in combat with his one-time friend Jay Leno over succeeding Johnny Carson and that “it took a lot of energy and it probably would have been better expended elsewhere. Now it just seems like really, that’s what you did?” Further, the knowledge that he was not passive in the competition, and that there must be something wrong with him. Not only that, he said. “Maybe life is the hard way, I don’t know. When the show is great, it was never as enjoyable as the misery of the show being bad. Is that human nature?” Even with super ratings; surpassing Jay Leno; experiencing an enormous amount of applause and adulation; working five days a week; being a celebrity; living an upper-class lifestyle, his TV career did not provide him with enough significant emotional or intellectual meaning or supplies. Sad but true. Currently, he is dealing with what Erickson called approaching the stage of Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Briefly in this stage, Erickson described despair as the overriding expression and the feeling that the time is now short, too short for the attempt to start another life. Letterman is not there yet. He still has time to act and to be. It’s important that he use this time of its life prudently.