How many times have we felt life closing down on us? Every step more and more difficult, to the point we are exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to “throw the towel” but… just not quite that ready. With difficulty and heartache we keep on walking and sometimes we not only manage to overcome the adversity but actually achieve something from it.
This is a short example of someone who got a bad, rough start but never gave up. His name was Charles and was born in South London, from a mother who had severe mental disabilities which led her to occasional work, sometimes as a seamstress or nurse, until her mental condition deteriorated so bad that she went broke and Charles and his brother ended up in a home for destitute children living a life of deprivation and forlong existence. To make matters worse his mother was committed to a mental institution and Charles ended with his abusive alcoholic father who died from cirrhosis of the liver. This left him homeless, without food and shelter and scarce options. He was on his own, managing to survive. At 13 years of age he had two choices: Find a way… or die.
His brother who got discharged from the Royal Navy began working for Fred Karno´s British Comedy Company and got him an audition, he got hired to please his brother and Charles knew, so he worked and worked and worked harder and longer than anyone. Tap dancing, pantomime, body expression amongst other things and took him 10 years of not giving up getting the opportunity that would change his life.
Karno sent some of his comedy company to perform before United States audiences, becoming so popular that toured the country for 2 years and made Charles the star of the show.
Mark Sennett, the head of Keystone Studios loved his act and gave him a contract. The movie “The Kid Auto Race” gave him the opportunity to introduce himself and one the most iconic characters from the Silver Screen, “The Tramp” who brought him fame and fortune.
Movie after movie, people just couldn´t get enough of that beautiful funny character. However, Charlie Chaplin would have never become a star nor “The Tramp” would have existed without living such experiences.
“The Tramp” embodied that childhood, those horrific days of suffering, of no love, no food, nothing. Those dreadful days instilled in Chaplin an understanding of his own needs and hopes that in many ways were no different than others just like him, down on their luck, and in the appeal of “The Tramp” he embodied those needs and hopes that always triumphed at the end.
Two things can be learned from Chaplin
- No matter the hardships you are enduring, face them, embrace them and learn from each one.
José E. Urioste Palomeque
José Eugenio Palomeque-Urioste is a Business Intelligence professional in the area of Research and Development. He began his training process in mass media writing scripts for radio programs, commercials and advertising campaigns. Since then, he has written for newspapers, magazines and mass media in Mexico and the United States, ranging from the professional to the editorial and has written 3 fiction novels that have been presented in numerous forums and literary competitions causing much controversy as to its content.
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