Tag Archives: life lessons

About Happiness

It took eight years and a Wallace Shawn play for me to appreciate Ella, the last woman I dated before I met Barbara.  It turns out that Ella, with Wally’s help, taught me two important lessons:  First, that there is value in seeking out the remarkable rather than making do with the mundane; and, second, that it is essential to happiness for each of us to find our own “remarkable”…which is not always what we expect.

Ella was an icily beautiful and shamelessly mercenary Russian woman who knew exactly what she wanted:  A wealthy man who could make a better life for her and her daughter.  And by better life, she meant a fabulous life.  One night at a restaurant, she asked me to assure her that I wanted the “five-star lifestyle” she craved.  “You know what I hate?,” she lamented. “Cheap men.  Men who want discounts.  Men who use coupons.”  I hastily tossed my Groupon under the table; soon, she followed.

Because, the fact is, I have never wanted a five-star lifestyle (or even a life that could be called a “life style”).  If Barbara would go along with it, I would happily eat at diners, stay in roadside motels, and entertain myself with whatever diversions are available at the discount ticket outlets.  I drive a fourteen-year-old Camry.  I cringe at $100 theater tickets and $40 restaurant plates.

In fact, my cheap manliness has gone deeper than clipping coupons.  For most of my single life, I dated whatever women happened to be available, interested, and more or less suitable.  I approached dating the way most shoppers approach buying a vacuum cleaner:  Of the five models on display, that one looks good enough, and lo, one more shopping chore is done.  Similarly, for almost my entire work life I’ve taken jobs that demand little creativity or emotional investment, and provide no particular satisfaction.  I’ve taken a similar approach to clothes, cars, food, and the other pleasures of life.

So, maybe I am the “cheap man” that Ella despised…or, maybe, there’s some other reason.  As to which, cue Wally Shawn.

A few weeks back, Barbara let me know that she was dying to see Wallace Shawn’s play, “The Designated Mourner,” in its short revival at The Public Theater.  I flinched when I saw that tickets were $90.  What could possibly make 80 minutes of theater worth $90? Isn’t there a movie version on Netflix?  Won’t it soon be produced in some nearby community theater?

Nevertheless, the dutiful husband, after I found that the entire run was sold out I stood in the lobby of the theater for five hours to get wait-list seats.  And, for my troubles, I learned two things.

First, The Designated Mourner was a pretty remarkable experience.  To be crass about it, sometimes 80 minutes of remarkable theater at $90 can be worth more than a whole week of run-of-the-mill entertainment selected from the discount lists.  I’m guessing that the same is true for remarkable music, remarkable bottles of wine, remarkable restaurants, and so on.  This is in keeping with the moral I gleaned from Anthony Bourdain’s latest book, “Medium Raw”:  If need be, go hungry for six days out of the week, and spend all your money on one transcendent dining experience on the seventh.

(Notice any resemblance?)

Perhaps I am late to this life lesson.  I scoffed at Ella’s “five-star lifestyle,” but really, she was saying only that she preferred the remarkable, the memorable, and the precious over the mundane.  And, although Barbara’s day-to-day tastes are more modest, she also has tried to pry into my hard head the message that we must not be cheap men and women when we are presented with the occasional remarkable piece of clothing, remarkable chance to travel, or indeed remarkable friend.

Second, I learned something from Wally Shawn’s character in the play.  Jack is an admitted “lowbrow”…someone “who likes to take the easy way in the cultural sphere – the funny papers, pinups. You know, cheap entertainment.”  He pretends to be a highbrow – “you know, saving the Rembrandt from the burning building rather than the baby” – but finally embraces his true lowbrow tastes (including lavishing attention on a bag of pornography, which he refers to as his “Experiment in Privacy”).  Jack’s quest is to find his own definition of “remarkable.”

In other words, it is one thing to be willing to hold out for what I really want, rather than settling for what is merely easy.  But, it is another thing entirely to recognize what I want in the first place.

Like Jack (who confronts his own Lowbrowness after he leaves his wife and loses all of his friends who “can read John Donne”), and indeed like the Wallace Shawn character in “My Dinner With Andre” (who waxes elegiac about the pleasure of finding that no roaches are swimming in last night’s cup of coffee), I will soon need to ask myself the hard questions about what makes me happy.

Wise people like Barbara have a finely-tuned instinct for happiness:  For her, it’s family, beauty, deeply creative work and a successful rhubarb pie.  But, I’ve never really considered what makes me happy.  Oddly, it’s never been important to me.  I spend hundreds of hours organizing concerts (and, before that, threw myself into community theater and songwriting) :  Does that mean that my happiness is in creating entertainment?  I get an undeniable thrill from bicycling across gorgeous landscapes:  Should I seek out more adventure travel?  And, is my lowbrow enjoyment of diners, motels, reality television, Lee Childs potboilers, folk music, and Rutt’s Hut deep-fried hot dogs real happiness, or just my Cheap Manliness?

Given my current plan to downscale my work life in about four years, it’s time to ponder the Remarkable (no matter how unremarkable), and my own happiness.  I’ll consider this my own Experiment in Privacy.

Leave a comment

September 3, 2013 · 9:26 am

My Old Man

Father’s Day is set appropriately in mid-June, that tail end of Spring lousy with baseball, beer, and boozy screen-porch sentimentality.  Everyone, it seemed, was jostling last month to deliver an encomium to his Dear Old Dad.  I, though, am a wallflower at that orgy.  I have nothing at all to say about the wonders of growing up with a Pop, or even about the sadness of losing one.  My father, y’see, chose to go 1500 miles away and to pretend that I don’t exist.

If you listen to Steve Goodman’s brilliant song “My Old Man” or read this week’s Richard Ford essay “The Song Of The Suburbs,” you’ll get the impression that growing up with a father produces a lifetime of stories.  Not true for me.  Because my dad left when I was seven, I have barely a cocktail-party anecdote.

I remember him mostly as a self-invented “character”:  A jocular, impenetrable, and always larger-than-life fellow who cultivated a drily-amused plummy voice, a jazz hipster wardrobe, and an inventory of scripted “bits” that spared him from any sort of authentic connection to other people.  I’m sure that women (and apparently there were several during his marriage to my mom) saw him as charming, dangerous within acceptable limits, and maddeningly aloof.  My impression is that he lived his life as though rules did not apply to him, which (as we know from “Mad Men”) can be irresistible.

There is no way that my parents’ marriage was ever going to last.  She married him for the exact reasons that he was not marriage material:  He was rakish, unpredictable, and spontaneous.  She was ostentatious, self-absorbed, and brittle.  Their marriage must have felt like the closing act of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (or Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, or hell, anything starring Elizabeth Taylor after National Velvet).  For as long as they could live the edgy life, taking daring cross-country drives chasing nonexistent jobs or mingling in the nightclub culture of Batista-era Miami Beach or working as a bandleader at the Borscht-Belt Catskills hotels, there was enough bubbly high octane in their marriage to keep it going.  But, by the time Fidel took power, they had two babies and a suburban apartment in New Jersey.  The party was over.  After a series of false starts, my old man left for good.

There is nothing remarkable about parents getting divorced.  The unusual part of this story is that my father left and never looked back.  He didn’t simply disappear, as fathers sometimes do.  He moved in with and married his girlfriend, left for Oklahoma and, for almost fifty years, has simply chosen not to acknowledge my existence.

I’ve always known my dad’s address and his telephone number, and he’s always known mine.   Perhaps five times in those fifty years, I’ve been in the Oklahoma area and have gone to visit him.  Every time, he’s been studiously polite and thoughtful, the way you’d be if a business associate came calling.  He takes me to dinner, introduces me to his wife’s family, gives me little gifts to take away with me.  And, every time, after he drops me at the airport and promises to stay in touch, he forgets that I ever existed.

I thought of my dad on the day George Carlin died, June 2008.  George’s  on-stage voice, with its carefully-cultivated tone of knowing bemusement (“Why is it that someone going slower than you is an idiot, but someone going faster than you is a maniac?”),  reminded me of my father’s way of talking.   So, after maybe five years of silence, I called him.  I told him my latest news, which produced no reaction at all.  I asked him about his life, which elicited one-word responses.  After a short and awkward call, we hung up and he promised to send me his email address.  He never did.  He has not contacted me in the five years since then.

My old man is 83 next month.  I don’t expect I’ll ever speak to him again.  So, what have I learned from a lifetime of fatherlessness?

It would be too easy to talk about how I never learned how to be a man because I never had a father.  I do suspect that boys watch their dads closely, and adopt or reject their fathers’ values and manner.  So, it’s true that I never watched my Dad avoid a brawl, or copied my Dad’s way of shaking hands, or had anyone to teach me how to tie a Windsor knot.  But, if that is the only effect of fatherlessness, it’s awfully easy to overcome.  We parentless kids know full well that we haven’t learned the ways of the world.  We become as intensely observant as someone who’s lost his sight or hearing.  And, we learn.  It’s not as though I’ve gone through life with my neckties untied.

No, the lasting effect of my fatherlessness is the same as the lasting effect of my motherlessness.  When a parent chooses not to be a parent (or is an alcoholic, or mentally ill), the only way that the child can hold his world together is to excuse the parent and blame himself.  To blame the parent means accepting that the parent can’t be relied on; that the child is completely on his own; and that all that is left is anger and despair.  I found it far easier to believe that my parents were blameless, and that they chose not to parent me because I was so unlovable as to be not worth parenting.

Over a half-century, I’ve learned how to shake hands and tie a Windsor knot.  I’ve mostly gotten over my lifelong conviction that I must be unworthy of love (and of the parentless kid’s constant sense of cluelessness in social situations).  But, most of all, after many decades, I’ve given up on contacting my old man and believing that I can convince him to be my parent.  And that is the most important Father’s Day gift of all.

1 Comment

July 12, 2013 · 5:14 pm

Work, Family, Love, Sex and Surrender: The Five Lessons That Changed My Life; Lesson 3 (continued)

So, like I was sayin’:

With apologies to Tolstoy, what I learned from my dating years is that there are a thousand ways for love to be wrong, and only one way for it to be right.  Here’s what I learned about both.

First, as to the thousand ways that romance can be wrong.  I’ve been reading recently another WordPress blog , written by a single gal who catalogues the different romantic “relationships that aren’t.”  She describes the guy who “doesn’t want a relationship” but sticks around for the sex ; the guy who acts like a boyfriend but won’t commit;  the gal who allows herself to be taken out on dates but isn’t interested in a romance.  I’m sure that more examples are coming.

Fact is, these are only the tip of that very cold iceberg of false romance.  The book “He’s Just Not That Into You” lists dozens of other ways that men (the topic of that book) hem, haw, tap-dance, dissemble, clam up, and practice passive aggression, benign neglect, and truthiness when they are in romances that are too wrong to commit to but not wrong enough to leave.  Although the tone of that book is breezy and witty, I didn’t smile during the twenty minutes it took me to read it.  It was too depressing to recognize all of my tricks, which were called out by some pop-lit self-help book, and to know therefore that roughly four hundred million other men had pulled those same tricks in their dating lives.

Yes, I had done it all.  I’d done the “sweep her off her feet though you barely know her” trick, just to keep a gal pinned like a specimen butterfly while I decided whether I was interested or not.  I had kept my distance, metered my calls and emails, gaslighted, and tried to maneuver my partners into breaking off with me first.  I was never interested in one-night stands — after all, I fancied myself a gentleman who was looking earnestly for true love — but instead I did something even worse:  I stayed in lukewarm false romances for years at a time, giving well-meaning and earnest women every reason to believe in my love but never actually offering love.

And, I could have continued these masquerades for decades.  Why?  Because the decks are stacked in favor of us guys.   It is, as Bill Clinton would say (and he would know), simple “arithmetic.”  Here’s why.  Assume that what Mehitabel wants is a committed relationship and marriage.  She and Archy meet cute and begin dating.  Shortly, she and Archy are sharing a pillow, and she is writing “Mrs. Archy” over and over on foolscap.  Yet, for at least a year or two, perhaps longer, Archy isn’t expected to decide if Mehitabel will become Mrs. Archy.   Any time he wants, Archy is free to leave the romance, so sorry it didn’t work out, hello I must be going…and no one can criticize him for it.  For some guys, this is a pattern to be repeated just about as often as an oil change or a haircut.  They get the thrill of the chase, the swoon of new romance, the blueberry-muffin phase (“YOU like blueberry muffins?? I Like blueberry muffins, TOO!!!”), and then the easy exit with absolutely no repercussions.

Based on the gob-smacked tone of the above single-gal’s blog, you would think that this pas-de-deux is a matter of complete mystery to women.  This leads me to believe that we genders really don’t know one another too well at all.

Freud, notoriously, considered women to be “a dark continent” and moaned “what does woman want?”  Maybe he was snorting some powdery substance at the time, because I don’t really think it’s all that esoteric.

If you ask me, Sigmund, it’s like this.  Our primitive brains (in men, this is known simply as “the brain”) point us to mates who can produce and raise children.  That translates to women preferring men who are physically strong, tall and fit, and who also have certain character traits that mean Husband And Father Material:  Responsibility, compassion, courage, and a certain James Bondian element of cool mastery (or at least the ability to fix a flat tire).  To a certain extent, it’s still a jungle out there for janes, and women therefore appreciate men who have some Tarzan qualities – they hold fast to their values, believe in family, make plans, honor their promises, can change a fuse, are generous to others, and give some a sense that they know how to give their hearts to someone.

And, as is only right, this brings me back to Barbara, the true romance that taught me the real from the false.

Here, alas, the only lesson I can offer sounds like it could have come from my Aunt Tillie: “When it’s right, it’s right.” My single friends vent to me about the problems with their latest romances: He’s balancing the good in his romance with the bad and trying to decide where the balance tips; she has major misgivings about whether he is the guy for her but wants to give it some time; they are “redefining their relationship.” And, my feeble response is, “when it’s right, you won’t have those questions.” But, it really is that simple. When it’s wrong, a romance is confounding, unsatisfying, and constantly unsettled. When it’s right, a romance is easy, obvious, and firm.

I have no insight into how to find that true romance. I plainly stumbled into mine, fresh from three years of a false romance with a gal I’d expertly kept at arms’ length and an exotic short entanglement with the mendacious Russian. I don’t know whether some stormy relationships, full of conflict and apology, might be true romances. It happens that Barbara and I are by our nature not fighters, so we tend to compromise easily and to approach our disagreements as practical problems that we need to solve as a team.

Really, after all of these 2000 words, the Third Lesson That Changed My Life is the dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers insight that unhappy romances are each unhappy in their own way, but happy romances are all alike. It’s just that it took me so many years of not knowing that I was unhappy, of believing that I could somehow alchemize right out of wrong, and of having no idea of what I was missing, that I’m thinking there’s a value in telling the tale.

Leave a comment

Filed under dating, life lessons, love, relationships, romance, Uncategorized

Work, Family, Love, Sex and Surrender: The Five Lessons That Changed My Life — Lesson 3

It took me fifty years to learn the difference between love and the thousand bad compromises that masquerade as love.   I know, because over the decades I was involved in just about every variety of those sort-of-love relationships.  Usually, I sailed through those romances with my emotional bags pre-packed.  And, almost always, I left my partners half-destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn…well, at least, stunned and mystified at how a romance that seemed to be so solid turned out to have no foundation at all.

But, to me, there was nothing mysterious about it at all.  Here is my confession, and the lessons I learned.

The unusual part of this story is, I was 35 years old when I first went out on a date.  Not that I had been the world’s first Jewish priest, the celibate Father Moishe.  Rather, my romantic life until age 35 had never involved dating.

Back when we hippies roamed the earth, I’d married a gal I met on a commune when I was 16; she was the first girl I’d ever kissed.  And, when that marriage broke up, I fell naturally into a romance with a coworker who was a close friend.  So, when that coworker broke off our engagement a few years later, I was that rarest of creatures:  A 35-year-old man who had never been single, never had dated, never had experienced that odd tarantella by which two strangers somehow become lovers.  No Improvised Explosive Device, left at a crowded roadside market, could have possibly been more dangerous.

On the one hand, I was fascinated by the courtship process.  It was completely new to me.  And, it was more than a little bit scary.  I wanted to do it right, and I went at it the way a general plans a military campaign .  Like some hirsute Carrie Bradshaw, I gathered my single friends around me and we talked endlessly about our searches for love.  I kept a diary.  I was thoroughly insufferable.

On the other hand, and for no fault but my own, I was incapable of accepting love.  My childhood had taught me that the flip side of accepting love is experiencing abandonment and disappointment.  I had become very accustomed to finding love, praise, and support in ways that did not require me to be vulnerable.   When it came to romance, I had become expert in allowing myself to feel loved but holding myself aloof, distancing myself just enough that I would never risk disappointment.  As I said:  Dangerous.

I had a job, hair, teeth, and a house.  Heck, I was a trial lawyer, with all my hair, all my teeth, and a really nice house in a snootily upscale town.  And, I was tall, with a droll sense of humor, and with an inventory of fun ideas for evenings out and weekends away.  I was, as they say in the law, an “attractive nuisance.”

I dated for fifteen years.  Fifteen freaking years.  This was not because I had trouble meeting women.  A man in his late thirties or forties who is willing to date in his own age range will have no trouble finding potential mates.  In fact, those years were sometimes a blur of condominium complexes (“I’m in unit 5E; park only in the spots marked ‘visitors’!”) and cute pet cats.  And, as much for my demographics and availability than for my quick wit and dazzling smile, the passing of fifteen years was not because the women were at all elusive or standoffish.

No.  The reason I dated for fifteen years was that I had not the first clue about what I was looking for.  And, for that reason, like Joe Strummer, I was completely incapable of knowing whether to stay or to go.  I never saw a future with any of the women I dated during these fifteen years.  I never even imagined proposing marriage.  Instead, I was happy just to keep company with them, often for years, ending things only when it became inescapably clear that the romance could not continue.

The end of this story takes place, of course, when love clobbered me over the head like a right cross from Daisy Mae on Sadie Hawkins Day.  I’ve written often about why I fell in love with Barbara; but never about how unexpected and eye-opening it was.

When I met Barbara, I was dating a Russian woman from my town with magazine-model looks and an outspoken and businesslike desire for a wealthy man to care for her.  During one of our dates, she confided in me: “Do you know what I hate?  Cheap men!,” and she asked me whether I was willing to pursue a “five-star lifestyle.”  Yet, despite her gleefully avaricious intentions –and despite how completely modest my tastes really are — I was prepared to keep company with her, hold her at arms’ length, until the conflict between her Robin Leach tastes and my Jack Benny wallet finally boiled over.

Meeting Barbara made one thing clear to me:  There are a thousand ways in which a romance can be wrong, but there is only one way it can be right.  As for all of the ways that a romance can be wrong, and as for the lessons I learned from fifteen years of counting those ways….well, that’s another thousand words, so this post is To Be Continued.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under dating, life lessons, love, relationships, romance, Uncategorized

Work, Family, Love, Sex and Surrender: The Five Lessons That Changed My Life; Lesson I

Every time I receive an interoffice envelope, I am convinced that it must be a pink slip.  This is not an idle notion; I have been more or less fired from every job I’ve ever held.  However, in fact my assumption comes from something deeper inside me:  A conviction that I am out of step, unworthy, and in constant peril of being found out.

I suspect that I’m not alone in having these feelings.  For example, when my freshfaced colleagues and I were shown to our first offices in what I now call my “starter law firm,” several remarked that they felt like seventh-graders playing dress-up, who would be unmasked at any moment.

It seems to me, however, that this syndrome has affected me more than most; at least it has been so vivid to me that I’ve noticed it, questioned it, and teased out some unexpected life lessons from it.

But, to understand these lessons (and the other lessons in this five-part blog post) requires some autobiography.  Mine, I’d say, is somewhere between the sympathy-for-the-devil tell-all of Keith Richards on the one hand, and the no doubt insipid rehash that’s about to be ghost-written for Monica Lewinsky, on the other.  (Chapter One:  Where I Bought The Blue Dress).

The unusual aspect of my school years is that I grew up essentially without parents.  My father, a charismatic but self-centered school administrator and dance-band leader, left the family when I was about six.  After a very brief period of visiting us for a weekly outing to a nearby diner, he moved to Oklahoma and broke off all contact with us.  My mother, a drably coquettish combination of Scarlett O’Hara and the Elizabeth Taylor character in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” then turned full-time to the search for a new male companion (though, as a song later put it, she seemed to look exclusively in all the wrong places).  She mostly disappeared from my and my brother’s lives, spending evenings and nights elsewhere, and flitting in and out of child-rearing seemingly as an afterthought.  As a result, we largely raised ourselves, and relied on our grandmother, who lived in another apartment in our Newark apartment building, for meals and a daily fresh set of clothes for school.

My brother and I differ about the benefits of a parentless childhood.  He, the younger and more carefree of us, remembers a Peter Pan life without overseers or rules.  (And, I do remember some of this, including frequent evening gatherings where we and our preteen friends would trash the apartment, without consequence).  But, I was the older child.  Not to be too Freudian, but I remember very distinctly feeling that I was the head of this Lord of The Flies household, responsible to hold it together and, most poignantly, to win my mother back to us and away from her parade of (other) men.  Of course, I failed at this, and that failure left me feeling toxic, impotent, and unloveable.

At the risk of inspiring the strains of violin music, the story actually gets worse.  In a development that would make Tommy Smothers (“Mom always liked you best!”) blanch, my brother eventually found my mother’s affections and was treated like a prince during our adolescent years, while I was shunned.  It was dramatic, and inexplicable.  While I slogged through the barbed-wire, strike-shortened Newark public schools (skipped through the grades repeatedly by administrators who had no idea what to make of me), winding up as a freshman at the Newark campus of Rutgers at the premature age 15, my brother inexplicably was sent to a first-class private high school and then on to Hampshire College, at that time one of America’s most expensive private colleges.

Much later, I learned that in fact we are the sons of different fathers.  I, dark-haired and fat, am the child of the man who left us when I was six.  My brother, blonde and lithe, is the child of one of my mother’s lost loves.  Apparently, this fellow financed my brother’s tuitions, promised (idly) that he would leave his entire estate to my mother, and was curiously invited to my brother’s wedding at my mother’s request.  All I knew as a child and young adult, of course, was that some shameful quality of mine (it was easiest to blame the fat, and to keep the fat on my bones as an easy scapegoat) made me unloveable and disfavored.

Suffice to say that I led the next couple of decades as an emotional cripple – socially awkward, unkempt, abrasive, and clueless.  I had the sense that everyone else had grown up learning a set of social rules that I had never learned; and more, that everyone could sense immediately that I was out of step with them.  What frightens me to this day is that I had no idea that I was any of those things.  This is frightening because, to invoke the philosopher Donald Rumsfeld, I can’t help but believe that there are still things about myself even today that make me unloveable, but are unknown unknowns and therefore irremediable.

So, to the pink slip.

The interoffice envelope is not the only sort of pink slip that I assume is coming.  I expect that at cocktail parties I’ll wind up in the corner.  I expect that when friends don’t call, I’ve lost their affections (and even that, when Barbara stops getting invitations from her friends, it’s because I’ve become part of the marital package).  I expect that at the office I am considered the odd man out, not welcome when everyone else pals around.

So, to the lesson.

Although I still expect all of these pink slips, I’ve learned over time that my expectation (though I’ve never overcome it) is nonsense.

First, I’m now convinced that every one of us to some extent expects these pink slips.  Few of us feel loveable; no one feels he knows the social rules; all of us twist and contort to shield ourselves from our own feelings of coming short.  In fact, however, we don’t live in a world in which we’re constantly judged and found wanting.  We live in a world in which we’re mostly considered with indifference.  Friends don’t call because their own lives overwhelm them.  Invitations don’t come because people (certainly in their 50’s, as we are) don’t get out much.

Second, this pink-slip spectre can be blown away with one strong puff of breath.  Each of us, in our overprogrammed, isolated, insecure cocoons,  welcomes the attentions of others.  If I feel isolated in my office, I sit down on a colleague’s comfy desk chair and ask about his kids.  If I want my friends around me, I throw a party.

Third, because this pink-slip expectation is nonsense, the cosmos tend to contradict it regularly.  For example, a couple of years back I was suddenly rotated off of a panel of judges for a music industry showcase competition.  I assumed that I’d gotten this pink slip because I’d been too outspoken with the other judges, hadn’t been schmoozing enough at the conference, didn’t have the sunny can-do disposition of the lead judge.  Then, last week, I was called by the same organization to come back as a judge, explaining that they wanted me back because they were always so happy with my work.   Similarly, over the past couple of years I’ve stopped getting assignments from a music magazine to write CD reviews.  I assumed that my writing was not to snuff.  Then, in the last few days, I was told that I am considered one of their best writers, and the issue is purely internal housekeeping.  And finally, at work I was asked yet again last week whether I wanted to be made a partner (I don’t…give that honor to one of the young kids whose careers depend on it).

Jonathan Livingston Seagull of course said, “Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your  true  self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.  It is the Law of the Great Gull, the Law that Is.”  I haven’t a freaking clue what that means.  So, here is the First Lesson that has changed my life:  We’ve all had rough childhoods; we all doubt ourselves; and that doubt is bull hockey.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized