Grrr! Forgiveness; The Real 'Donnie Brasco'

Forgiveness | The Real 'Donnie Brasco' | Your Grrrs

This Grrr! Column Is About Forgiveness

I know it's easier to say than to do, but as terrorists are busy blowing up innocent civilians who pay their taxes, work hard to provide for their families, thrive on freedom and love their fellow men, it's time to look at the person who has hurt you the most in your life — and forgive them their trespass against you.

I'm not talking about the lower-than-life terrorists here. They can burn in hell for all I care. And I'm not talking about the Oblivions who are the source of daily Grrrs — they'll never go away.

I'm talking about the husband or wife whose eye wandered too far one night. I'm talking about the father or mother who disowned their child because they married the "wrong" person or have the "wrong" political or religious beliefs. I'm talking about sisters and brothers and the college roommates who haven't spoken to each other for years and can't even remember why.

It's high time we remember where we came from and who helped us get from there to here.

Each and every one of us in America is lucky to be in a country where freedom is a given.

Sure, things aren't always grand. We question our leadership at times. We question our lives' paths at times. But at least we have the freedom to choose those paths.

And right now, the path to healing whatever ails you is to forgive, and to love your family, your closest friends, your co-workers and your neighbors.

With that choice you will find peace within. It's really that simple.

You can even start this process by focusing on the thing that worries you the most.

Is it credit card debt that keeps you up at night? Believe it or not, financial freedom will do wonders for your health.

Is it the bottle of wine that you can't seem to avoid? Cutting down on alcohol, and on eating for the sake of eating, will not only help you feel better physically, it will also help you feel better about yourself.

I don't mean to sound preachy, but I noticed recently that most of the problems I have with my life have to do with me, and only me. I can choose to love unconditionally, or I can choose to nitpick all the way to my grave.

I choose the former from now on.

But that doesn't mean I'll stop Grrring the little things that drive us nuts day in and day out. The little things are fun.

It's the big things that are hard to deal with, and that need the most attention.

The Real 'Donnie Brasco'

So I went to a book signing for Robert Cea's "No Lights, No Sirens" over the weekend, and none other than FBI legend Joe Pistone (search) showed up to promote his new book, "The Way of the Wiseguy."

Pistone, you may recall, was immortalized by Johnny Depp in the Al Pacino movie "Donnie Brasco."

The signing was packed with cops and robbers and Mafia aficionados who bounced questions off the two grizzled veterans.

Cea reiterated that he makes no apologies for the rules he broke while locking up criminals, and Pistone recounted some of the antics of the organized-crime families he dealt with while he was undercover as a Mafia "associate."

"Me and Lefty [the Pacino character in the film] were driving up Third Ave. when a taxi cut us off, not once but twice," Pistone writes in the book. "After the second time, when we stopped at a light, Lefty got out, retrieved a tire iron from the trunk, and smashed the guy's front window.

"Then we got back in the car and drove off. The guy cut us off, Lefty smashed his window. Makes perfect sense in the world of the wiseguy," he writes.

That is one of the more tame stories in "The Way of the Wiseguy," but as with all Mafia books, this one has plenty of amusing anecdotes as well.

Pistone still has a contract on his head — although I was unable to verify that with any members affiliated with the Bonanno crime family — the "family" he infiltrated as "Donnie the Jeweler" — but Joe said he doesn't think any capos "are waking up in the morning wondering how to get me."

"What guys like Robert [Cea] and Randy [Jurgensen, the NYPD detective who was a technical advisor on "The French Connection" and "Cruising," and who was also present at the signing] are worried about is the guy who's trying to become famous. The wannabe gangster looking to make his mark," said Pistone.

Pistone also couldn't say enough about Depp. He said the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" star is not only a great actor, but also a great guy.

All three of these former law-enforcement public servants have since moved on to the world of television, books and movies.

Cea's book has been optioned by "Godfather" producer Al Ruddy for a film; Pistone just sold a script to A&E based on the life of a Mafia princess; and Jurgensen and Cea together have a book deal to write the "French Connection" detective's story.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the weekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on