Just when I was feeling pretty good about my charity efforts, I hear Madonna is bringing electricity to the South African village of Malawi.
Damn, she’s always doing stuff like that to me. I mean, we started out pretty much the same. We both had pleasant, but reedy voices. We both had a slight gap between the front teeth. She could act, sort of. I could act, kind of. So why the wildly divergent results?
Driving ambition and mental fortitude. Love her or hate her, Madonna started out with very few apparent gifts; she parlayed a cute face and hardly any talent into millions and millions of dollars. So rich, she can own estates all over the world and still have plenty left to bring dental implants to every Walmart checker in the entire United States.
I always wanted the world to beat a path to my door. Which can happen, if you give it a reason to make the journey. But I never got that far. I never made it to the concept stage – the why should it, as it were.
It’s worth wondering what three of the most successful women in the world -- Oprah, Martha, and Madonna -- have in common. They didn’t come from money. None have what you’d call a true talent. They didn’t invent anything.
I think what they share is the empire-building gene. Each took a good hard look at their abilities, picked their strongest suit, and used it to lay the foundation. Chatting, scrambling eggs, singing – it could have been anything, just anything, and they would have run with it.
I see the Madonna arms as a metaphor. Yahoo and Google were screaming a few weeks back about how masculine her arms look, devoid of softness and curves, just ropes of muscles and veins pushing against the skin. And it is true, she does look like she wrestles alligators for a living. A woman who rose to the top in the music business, guided her own career, continues to run her own show, own her own labels? I’ll bet she has wrestled an ocean full; I’ll bet it’s her favorite sport.