Had lunch with Len Blum, screenwriter of such films as Howard Stern's Private Parts, the animated hit Over The Hedge and Steve Martin's Pink Panther, among others. Len is also the husband of Heather Munroe-Blum, the Principal of McGill University, which brought up the subject of the last time I guest-lectured at the school in October.
Coming home, so to speak, to my old Faculty of Management on Career Day, I expected to be feted in the school's Exec Lounge on the 6th floor, or in the main auditorium on the entrance level. Instead, I was a little bummed to find out I was sequestered in the last room in the building, tucked into a far away corner in the basement.
But after entering the room, filled with motivated, interesting and interested students, I realized that I had lucked out.
The basement is where "the coolies" hang out. It's where the exciting, close-to-the-edge stuff is born. When I was a kid in my parents' house, that's where my room was. It was filled with posters, albums and all sorts of junk. I was able to be me, without pretense.
So back to McGill. We had a rollicking time for 90 minutes, and neither I nor the students wanted to leave. Meanwhile, up in the auditorium, a packed room fell asleep listening to a blue-suited captain of industry drone on.
Wanna create Surprise? Don't just accept going where others won't...seek it out. Take the plunge into life's basements.
(And speaking of Surprise, one of the best reactions I ever had at a speaking engagement was at said McGill event, when one of the students asked as I started to settle in: "Uh, where's the real guy?")