Dealing with Larger than Life People

This is the title for one of the Chapters in my forthcoming second book, The People Zoo. I have had both the pleasure and, at times, the frustration of dealing with some fascinating people. These ranged from my private company Donn Corporation’s founder and owner Don Brown, to my boss and mentor Gene Connolly in the public firm of USG Corporation. Some of the stories in this Chapter will illustrate what I learned from these people.  Some lessons were good and others, not so good, but all were unforgettable and valuable to my development.

But larger than life people have been around a long time. So, I start this Chapter with a link to those who came before us; the First People of our nation.

The First Peoples’ Cultural Heroes

Professor Larry Zimmerman is an author, anthropologist and a leading expert on Native Americans. He writes about how, after the Great Spirit created the world, other powerful figures described as cultural heroes gave people the objects and skills needed for survival. They transformed their surroundings and themselves, sometimes in human or animal form. The Raven gave light; the Spider fire.

These types of myths or folklore can be found in every culture over time, not just our First People. From Aesop’s Fables to Beowulf there is a long history of heroes.

In our time, Joseph Campbell explored heroes and myths in several fine books.

These cultural heroes of our First People were thought of as being above normal humans and often having a supernatural ability. My grandson Connor, who knows all the Marvel and DC Comics heroes, would have appreciated these century old, first edition ones! And just like some of our modern superheroes, the ancient ones often had flaws.  In fact, a First People hero like the Raven, might exhibit a dark side and use deception or evil to get things done! This caused them to be more like the rascal Tricksters who usually acted solely for their own benefit. But this dual nature of good and evil also made the heroes more relatable to their human First People counterparts. After all, even Batman crossed the line when confronted with Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight!

So, our First People’s heroes were not always perfect either but were always really interesting.

And, hopefully, you will find the larger than life characters in my new book interesting and entertaining as well!