Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Meaning Of Life

This month Esquire magazine has noteworthy stalwarts from all walks of life pontificate upon what they have learned so far. I have always fantasized about being featured in just such a profile. But no one's called yet, so I figured I would simply do it myself. They have Clint Eastwood, you have me. I have tried to not think about these answers too much:

  • Don't think about things too much.
  • If you're going on a date a bar is typically the best place. The girl doesn't drink? That's a problem.
  • We got the best baby in the baby factory.
  • No matter how much Randi and I argue, few argument are so bad that some love and, uh, romance won't make it better. Typically more of the latter leads to less of the former.
  • The one thing I've written that makes me the most proud? I wrote a piece for NPR's "Marketplace" in 2000 about the problem of people flaring natural gas in Nigeria. I hadn't even been there, but I interviewed a journalist, Greg Campbell, who had. It was his story, but I told a few more people about it. How the burning gas destroys lives and the oil companies don't do anything about it. I also interviewed a native villager in Alaska, Rosemary, who talked about how the same thing happens in Prudhoe Bay, despite the fact that it's illegal. I don't know if it changed anything, and I didn't do all that much original reporting for it, but I feel this story did more to make the world better than anything else I ever wrote. And I am comfortable with that.
  • Comedy happens when you get normal people to see things as fucked up as you do.
  • When I start to worry about other people the writing goes straight into the crapper.
  • Want to become decent at guitar? Play every day for 15 minutes. After a year, or so, you'll have it.
  • Greatest thrill with my clothes on? Birth of my daughter. Second? Playing music live.
  • Greatest challenges left: standup comedy.
  • What else to do: more sketch comedy.
  • Experience is the process of recognizing a mistake as you make it again.
  • I may not always be the best husband or worker, but every day I get a new chance to be the best dad I can be. That means a lot.
  • The best gift I could ever give Stella Rae: self confidence.
  • The one trait I wish I had more of: self confidence.
  • There was only one Hunter S. Thompson and he committed suicide.
  • Everyone in America should be a waiter or waitress for one month. We live in a service based society. These people work hard. Tip them well.
  • The greatest job any journalist can have, besides journalism, is doing sales. Being sympathetic, earning people's trust, making sure that trust is justified, listening, ensuring that every transaction is a win-win, these are the salesman's tools. They are also a journalist's tools. Of them all the ability to listen and make every interaction worthy of the other person's time is the greatest thing a journalist can do to develop sources. Always give the other person something, even if it's simply a good conversation.
  • Taking improv classes helped make me who I am today. If I am in a high pressure situation I simply relax, and remember that I have been here before, and I perform. It comes in handy in countless ways. When I am on TV or video I simply fall back on my improv training. I relax, I listen to the other person and I speak with confidence. I also create a character: The Smart Guy Who Knows What He's Talking About. I may not always feel like that guy, but they don't have to know that.
  • I would rather be engaged than be happy.
  • Having said that, the greatest thing we can do to be happy is use the talents god gave us, as much as possible.
  • I tell those I love that I love them, also, as much as possible.
  • But I am extra careful to let my wife, daughter and mother know it all the time.
  • When I'm in a hole the best thing I can do is to stop digging.
  • I believe in forgive and forget. Short memories equal long relationships.
  • The older I get the more confident I feel. Why? Because I no longer care.
  • Never write anything online that you don't want exactly the wrong person to see. Because somehow they will see it.
  • It's easy to forgive others, harder to forgive yourself. But it's just as important.
  • Ever wonder why there are so many noteworthy Jewish writers, comedians, artists, critics, scientists and thinkers? Two reasons. One is that we, as a people, believe deeply in education. That's well known. The other may not be as well known. It's because we're permanent outsiders in every culture we have ever been in. It salts the way you view things.


alexlady said...

i'm assuming by 'engaged' you mean 'present in the moment' and not 'giving polygamy a whirl'?


David Serchuk said...

Hi Alexlady,
I think I have my hands happily full here with one wife and one baby. So, in other words, yes!


Sabrina said...

Great List! I wondered about the "engaged" to...LoL