Bill Cosby Is Glad He Was Born, and So Are We
Beliefnet sits down with the charismatic comedian for a life lesson in Twitter, beating the odds, and above all else, thankfulness.
BY: Ash Greyson
Beliefnet: You seem to be at your best when talking about family issues, is this book more comedy or parenting/life lessons? As an author, how do you approach writing?
Cosby: Listen young man, in September of 1960, I was blessed, and I’m not saying blessed in the every day religious way, when Temple University accepted me after scoring 500 on the SAT. I was 23 years old and they put me in remedial, I was the happiest remedial person on earth. The teacher gave us an assignment, it was the first time I ever put an effort into anything, I turned it in on time, again for the first time ever. When he passed out the papers, he did not return mine, he read it out loud. It was about pulling my tooth when I was 6, it made me so happy to have done something someone else was proud of. “Procrastination (the Perfect Point)” was my second paper and I wrote about how hard it was to write the paper, because, the second I wrote something down, it was no longer perfect, as long as I did nothing, it remained flawless. That was the beginning of my career. My inspiration was just to know that I could connect with people. Later when I read Mark Twain essays, I realized that he was not trying to show off, he was hilarious and a great American writer. I thought to myself, “I can do that.”
Beliefnet: In the author notes you refer to your youth and say, “I was pitiful” what do you mean by that?
Cosby: I managed my life to the point that at age 19 I was still in high school. I decided I was too old to be walking down those hallways. When all my peers graduated and went to college or got married, I was left with nothing in the neighborhood so I joined the Navy. I did not manage my life well at all. I was not arrogant, just pitiful.
Beliefnet: Is that why you are so passionate about helping young people?
Cosby: When I decided that I wanted to go to college, I wanted to be a school teacher for 7th and 8th grade boys because I felt that was an important time for them. I had gone astray at that point in my life and really wanted to help keep them from making the same mistake I had made.
Beliefnet: You say you picture hell as a place with a lot of laughing but nobody is having fun, what do you mean by that?
Cosby: You can hear the laughter but there’s nothing funny. When you don’t understand something, you often laugh. It’s not fun, it’s awkward, it makes you feel terrible, “are these people laughing at me?” To me, that is hell.