Joe DiMaggio was a idol to many. One of the all-time great baseball players for the New York Yankees, he was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe, and was seen throughout his nation as a strong and silent type, a classic American hero.
Paul Simon used his name in his famous 1967 song Mrs. Robinson – to imply that there was no-one like Joe left to look up to in modern Amercan life.
“Where have you gone JoeDiMaggio –
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you – woo woo woo
What’s that you say Mrs Robinson –
Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away – hey hey hey, hey hey hey”.
The truth, as usual, was far more complicated. According to the seminal book on his life – Joe DiMaggio – The Hero’s Life by Richard Ben Cramer, DiMaggio in reality lived a life full of not very heroic acts, was constantly beset by worries about money, about his place in history, and was cruel to many in his family, many of his friends and indeed many strangers.
He was notoriously quiet in company – in part because deep down he feared he had nothing interesting to say, but also because he figured this silence would add to the image of the hero.
And he got away with that, because he was Joe DiMaggio, and he was happy to let his actions on the baseball field speak for him.
But not all of us can be all-time great sportsmen, or even all-time great musicians. Some of us have different talents. But equally we don’t all have to aspire to influence a nation like DiMaggio did. You can help someone in your family, motivate someone your team at work, inspire someone in your local community.
But you won’t do it by being silent. Silence is overrated. Share what you have.