07/24/2013 05:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Inspires Me: Leonard Cohen

Customer service can really be corrosive, and it gets worse than the usual trolling and abuse. However, singer and poet Leonard Cohen really helps me get through the day, with a small but substantial assist from Dr Stephen T. Colbert, DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts).

Shit rolls downhill. That's the life of a customer service rep, and I've had that pleasure for over 18 years. (I continue to do customer service, one reason being to remind me about this.)

However, if you survive the first year or so, you can cope with trolling and verbal abuse since you can see that the vast majority of people are pretty reasonable. There are very few trolls or other bad actors. Unfortunately, the really bad actors get really good at telling a good story for their own profit or power. That means they appeal to the goodness of most people, and misinform them to give you a hard time.

Dealing with that gets old really fast, and often a customer service rep must absorb that criticism and wait, maybe years, for others to address it. Meanwhile, when this is happening, you need a hand just to get through the day.

My deal is that there's this guy, Leonard Cohen, who's been a real influential poet and singer for maybe 50 years. He's my rabbi, in the sense that a rabbi's a teacher and spiritual leader.

His music is pretty much my liturgy, prayer really, and it inspires me in a way to get through the day.

In context, my favorite Sunday School teacher, Dr. Colbert, reminds us that "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God."

I feel that joy in such prayer; that really helps out, and here's what's most effective from Leonard.

I can't run no more

With that lawless crowd,

Not while the killers

In high places

Say their prayers aloud.

But they've summoned

They've summoned

A big


They're going to hear from me.