- Liam Payne – I am not a teenage girl, so I didn’t really know who this was, but I did have a manly intuition that one of the boys from that band One Direction was probably named Liam. Indeed, one of them was. And this particular Liam, like the rest of the boys in the band, has taught me that my youthful baldness is probably going to keep me from being in a successful boy band (nothing can keep us from following our hearts). Additionally, Liam Payne has taught me that I am not cool anymore, if I ever was. Tough lessons, but I’m thankful for the instruction.
Liam Gallagher – As the lead singer of the British band Oasis, Liam Gallagher was one of the greatest frontmen of the modern era. What makes Liam so remarkable, though, is that he is equally known for being a total jerkwad of the highest order. And yet, his music sells and he is considered one of the greats. So, what Liam Gallagher has taught me (besides how to rock a sweet Brit accent when serenading the ladies – my wife – with “Wonderwall”) is that if you are talented enough, you can be a total jerk. The corollary to that lesson is that I am not talented enough to be a jerk, so I better be nice. Again, a lesson for which I’m thankful.
Liam Neeson – Last but not least, the estimable Liam Neeson. Just think of the career arc – Excalibur, The Mission, Schindler’s List, Rob Roy, Star Wars, Love Actually, Batman Begins, Taken, Taken 2, Taken 3(yet to be filmed). This particular Liam has taught me most, because I have followed him longest. When I am ready to take my entrance exam in to the League of Jedi Shadows, I know that it will be Liam Neeson who guides me in my tutelage. When I think of his career arc, I think about the wide range of films that he used to make. And then I think about the way he has narrowed his focus. In this, Liam Neeson is teaching me an important lesson about being a grown man – rock what you got. The days of embracing the idea of the Renaissance ideal of broad giftedness are a bygone. Now, we need to remember that it is “ok” to know what you are good at and do it. Liam is not known for his humor. He is known for his certain skill set, and he’s not afraid to use it. There is a great awakening in sloughing off the things which we are not gifted for and embracing our particular giftedness. Plus, if we are lucky, we’ll also get to work with Warwick Davis.
So, to all the Liams in my life, thank you! Day after day, you are teaching me the lessons I need to know to be a better human being. I hope that all of you have some Liams in your life.