Thursday, May 5, 2011

What I've Learned

Esquire magazine isn't nearly as good as it used to be. However, they bestow free subscriptions on me every other year. Must be some sort of marketing ploy. Once a bastion of exemplary writing, now the mag foists upon its audience articles on fitness, thin actors and how to effect stimulation in the boudoir.

There is some redemption, after you get past the ads containing cologne samples (and it ain't Old Spice) and trousers the width of pipe cleaners, you get a smidge of reflection. It's called “What I've Learned.” Simply put: These are gleanings from some fairly bright people; I treasure them.

I fully realize that Esquire is not going to call me out of the blue and ask for my brain effluent. So I thought I should write it here, for all seventeen of you to read. And glean.

I miss my dad, but it was lovely to have my mom for another 31 years.

Marriage was not my mรจtier, but I have Dennis, Grace and Eleanor. I am rich.

Very few of my friends or loved ones can grasp that I had to drum.

Almost all of the famous people I have ever met are nice folks. Really.

It's what you do, not what you set out to become.

I worry that a few years down the road, there is going to be a dearth of musicians, dancers, sculptors and writers. We have enough MBAs, I think.

Too many kids get A's in school, trophies just for playing, and useless awards in general.

I don't know if America is the best country in the world. I like living here.

Have a drink. Don't get potted; enjoy a fine sip and splendid conversation.

My great-uncle Joe Kurtz told me to accomplish everything I wanted to in life, and then get married.

Some people I know bemoan their Catholic upbringing and education. I celebrate mine. Thank you Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Jesuits and Augustinians.

I think I've learned to listen to my daughters better. This has enriched my life. Dennis tells me things in his own way.

If you do something in mediocre fashion and work hard at practicing mistakes, the worse you will become.

An acquaintance of mine gave me this hypothetical: “If you got arrested at three in the morning, how many people could you call who would help you immediately?” I lost count.

It's a cool thing to turn on the radio and, almost every day, hear a friend of mine or someone with whom I've played.

It's never too late.

There is nothing like that first kiss.

A good (and famous) friend of mine still has his wonderful parents. They have been married for over fifty years and still hold hands.

Food is good. Cooking is better.

I hope my stories are getting shorter.

I think you become the characters about whom you write. The past few months, I have been a twelve-year-old girl; a priest, a grandmother and a young stud.

I would love to hear the work of a new, gifted songwriter.

Most of my heroes are ordinary folk.

I haven't slow-danced in a while. I miss this.

I look at my right hand and think of the other right hands I've touched: Wonder, Hanks, Travolta, Christie, Browne, Brown, Rundgren, Willis + Moore, Close, Midler, Carvey, Shandling, Bongiovi, Ronstadt. But the homeboys like Ratzie and Nealon matter the most.

Did I say have a drink?

Greg Maddux is my favorite athlete of all time. I know some of you won't understand this.

I don't know why I remember so much. A magazine article once dubbed me “Mr. Junkbrain.”

Life is too short to eat at T. G. McAppleChili's. One of the things I like least about our country is the mere existence of those "food" chains.

What I have enjoyed most in my travels is seeing how other people live.

Roy Baker was the smartest person I have ever met. I think about him often and miss him greatly.

One of the most inane sentences I have ever heard is “That could have been me.” Second place: “Don't you know who I am?”

There isn't a wall so high or long that you can't find a way around it. Or over it.

Hail all dedicated teachers.

Enough. I have to go learn some more.

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