Tuesday, January 21, 2003

'I work seven days a week' -- Al Hirschfeld 1903-2003

I have to admit, that I was never a big fan of his work, although I can easily recognize the enormous talent and craft he had.

What struck me as inspirational about him (and only recently, as in last week), was that I saw a show on aging and the relation of mental and physical prowess with work. They showed a lot of ordinary seniors who were 80 and older working part time at a factory; they proved their point eloquently: people who never retire never slow down. They never get old; the body merely wears out.

The report then went on to cover an old interview with Hirschfeld, and the interviewer was astounded to hear that here's this guy who was 80 (at the time of the interview) and was not only still working, but still a hugely successful artist. When asked why he wasn't retired, Al replied something like "why retire, when I love what I do? This isn't work."

So I guess what I'm trying to get at in my long-winded and verbal sprawl here is that he did affect my life in a positive way, even though I'm not a fan (although I am an appreciator) of his work. He taught me that I don't ever have to retire; that I'm going to continue doing what I love untill the day I die, just like he did.

Namaste, Mr. Hirschfeld.

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