Comedian and actor Eugene Levy is known for portraying many characters in his long career. One of the most popular has been his interpretation of Ricardo Montalban, the late great Mexican-American actor. Montalban is best known as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island and as Khan on Star Trek. One of Levi’s funniest impersonations of Montalban was on the SCTV program, the “Ricardo Montalban School of Fine Acting.”
In the Ricardo Montalban School of Fine Acting aspiring actors are taught to stand proudly, roll their tongues with a strong Spanish brogue, and use the mannerisms of a stately caballero. Of course Ricardo Montalban does all the instruction himself. He applies his personal style to every venue of acting: theater, television, movies – even breakfast cereal commercials. He even applies his personal style to mime, in which Montalban directs the actor to execute his gestures “strong and bold”!
In other words, all Ricardo Montalban is doing (more correctly, Eugene Levy’s incarnation of him) is to replicate himself in other actors, using himself as the ideal of what an actor should be. Then, on graduation day, all the young actors appear in the classic white suit of Montalban’s iconic Mr. Roarke, strutting about with his same mannerisms and proud stride.
You know, every time I hear someone pontificate on the “ideal” Soldier, the ideal NCO, the ideal commander, the ideal parent, the ideal spouse, the ideal Christian, the ideal human being, or even the ideal chaplain – I think of Eugene Levy’s impersonation of Ricardo Montalban. Almost invariably, what constitutes the “ideal” is the presenter himself. He or she is the standard upon which we should all pattern ourselves.
But there is no ideal pattern. Just look at creation. The incredible variety and diversity among animals and plants demonstrates God’s distain for assembly-line mass production. God even implements variety among the simplest things. I recently read an article in which scientists affirmed the old conviction that, among the trillions and trillions of snowflakes, no two are alike. If this is true among simple snowflakes, then how much more among complex human beings? Even “identical” twins have dramatically different personalities and attributes.
And with this diversity, God has created symbiotic relationships between totally different species, genera, phyla, and kingdoms. By His own design, God has made an interdependency, between plants and fungi, between complex life forms and bacteria, between insects and plants and animals. There seems to be no end to the examples of symbiosis in God’s creation.
In the same way, all of us have different gifts, talents, attributes, and strengths – to perform a vast variety of roles, jobs and tasks. It takes all of us to get the job of living done. All of us have a contribution to make. All of us need each other. None of us can do it alone, nor are we meant to. None of us can say to the other, “I have no need of you.” Nor should any of us feel the need to be “like somebody else.” Nor should we ever feel that our gifts and contributions are invalid because they are different from “the ideal” (Check out 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
There is no ideal. God has made us all different and all dependent upon each other. He purposely made us so that we all have certain deficiencies and certain gifts. We all help complete others and others help complete us. Thank God for the gifts you have and the contributions you can make. Also thank God for – and be appreciative of – the people around you. God has surrounded you with them to help complete you and to help you complete the mission. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling inadequate. Just reach out to others, and God, for help.
Dear Father in heaven, thank You for the way You’ve made me, that I am custom-designed by You and have no need to be like others. Help me to appreciate the contributions and ideas of others as well, that we might cooperatively get the job done. Amen.