Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Only Put Off Until Tomorrow…

…that which you are willing to die having left undone. I shared this little gem with you in a past post (“The Vitamind,” December 15, 2010), but it really hit home during Spring Break when we discovered we had waited too long to do something we had thought about doing but never acted upon.

For years we had seen a river tour advertised in the lake area of the Hill Country that sounded interesting, a boat tour that went down the Colorado river to see waterfalls and eagle nests. Since the water at Lake LBJ was still too cold and the wind unpleasant, we signed up for the tour. When I made the reservations, I asked about the water level affecting the tour, and either didn’t ask the right question or didn’t listen closely enough to the answer, because what we saw was the remains of a small town that had to be abandoned when they dammed the Colorado river to make Lake Buchanan, rather than the full river tour, which was inaccessible, what with low water and all. While the boat ride was pleasant enough and the town's history lesson interesting, this was not what we paid to see.

A few things that we did see were these:









Now, considering that it will take years, years, of good rainfall, if that ever even happens, for the river and lake to fill up again, our procrastination has made the chances of taking the full tour slim and none, considering my advancing age and all, Ha. And this is not something that will be high on my list of regrets of things I didn’t accomplish in my lifetime, but it does hammer home the consequences of putting things off.

So my unsolicited advice to you is to stop putting things off, whatever they are, large or small,  and git ‘er done, to borrow a phrase from Larry the Cable Guy.

Don’t fill your bucket list with regrets.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Philosophical Q and A

Lately I have noticed articles and interviews of  celebrities that include a list of open-ended questions. What do you appreciate more as you age? More women should… What do you cherish more than anything else? What is more important to you today than it was 20 years ago? What is worse than failure? What’s your advice on aging gracefully? And so forth, but you get the idea.

I read these things and most of the answers sound thoughtful and insightful, and  suddenly these people who are famous for acting or singing or misbehaving enough to make the news come off as modern-day philosophers who have gleaned all this wisdom and insight that I have seemed to have missed while going about the everyday business of my mundane little life.

But, wait a minute. What makes them so smart?  Why can’t I come up with stuff like that, really profound, life-changing words of wisdom? I don’t know. Can I? Well, let’s just see.

What do I appreciate more as I age? Actually waking up each morning? Well, yes, but being healthy is what allows that to happen, and being healthy I do appreciate. All the clich├ęs are true-we really do take good health for granted, and if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. You’ve heard that all before. It’s true.

More women should…be willing to strike out on their own and do things they want to do. Can’t find anyone to take in a movie with you? Go anyway. Want to climb a mountain and everyone thinks you are nuts? Do it anyway. Run naked through the bad part of town? Rethink that one.

What do I cherish more than anything else? This one could easily be confused with the first question, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Loved ones are a given, but what about other things,  like the freedom to make my own choices. All the blessings I have been so graciously given. The comfort of a warm bed. The water heater. A sense of humor. Chocolate with pecans and caramel.

What is more important to me today than it was 20 years ago? The fact that I live in a democracy-and Texas- even if neither is  perfect. The love and the family legacy and the gene pool graciously given to me by my parents.

What is worse than failure? Not taking responsibility for your failures and therefore not learning from them. Don’t waste those mistakes! Look upon them as character-building opportunities, because, trust me, we all make them. Mistakes, that is.

What is my advice on aging gracefully? Laugh a whole lot and look upon aging as a privilege-not everyone gets the chance to age, you know. And get a pet; they make life so much more entertaining. And if those ideas don’t work, get a face-lift.

Okay, so I just reread my answers. Not earth-shattering, but not bad. You could do worse for advice to live by. At least give one or two a try. Get a cat, take a warm shower, and curl up with the cat and  a box of Millionaires. Not a bad plan, I must say.

What would your answers be?





Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street-What Were They Thinking?

I thought I needed to see this movie the other day, Oscars coming up and all. It’s nominated in five different categories, you know: lead actor; supporting actor; adapted screenplay; best director; and the biggie, best picture. Best example of well-acted glamorized pornography, however, was not listed. All other nominees would pale by comparison to this three-hour repetitive, out of control extravaganza of fornication, drug use, really offensive language, and repulsive, obscene situations.

The movie is based on the career of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, so I guess the obscenities, the ridiculous amounts of cocaine and Quaaludes abused in the movie, the total disrespect for the law and middle-class work ethic, and a disregard for people’s feelings were the core of this man’s unconscionable life. His real drug, however, was money, and he must surely be the poster child for what happens when one sells his soul to the Devil.

Now before you label me a prude and a victim of a giant generation gap to not appreciate this movie, I assure you I am not. I am also not an expert on pornography, but but I do know what a movie done in good taste to prove a point looks like, and this wasn’t one of them. I also realize there are all kinds of stories to tell in movies, and we enjoy freedom of speech and all that, but honestly, does this story really enrich our lives? I promise you, there are more pornographic scenes in it than in what is normally labeled pornography. And the drugs? After Belfort is caught he loses his drugs and makes the comment that life without drugs is so boring he wants to kill himself. Do young people really need to hear this? The conspicuous consumption of goods speaks for itself.  I was disheartened by their willingness to dupe hard-working people in search of a little extra money and then their mockery of the victim’s trust in them after the deal was sealed. And outsmarting the FBI was just a game to them. DiCaprio and Jonah Hill create truly despicable and unlikable characters; unfortunately they do such a bang-up job of acting they may be rewarded with an Oscar. The Catch-22 is that they really did act well enough to bring these unpleasant characters to life, and in the world of acting, that deserves an award.

I knew this movie set the record for use of the f-word, but that didn’t bother me the way the rest of the movie did, which means, I guess, that the rest of the Catch-22 is that if I have this much of a reaction to the movie, all the people involved will feel vindicated and pat themselves on the back for a job well-done. But the final effect for me was that it made the movie seem less a cautionary tale and more a celebration of that kind of lifestyle.

Jordan Belfort actually appeared in the final scene of the movie, and I can’t help but wonder how much of it was the real deal and how much was Hollywood. As far I as could tell, he really didn’t pay for his excesses. He seemed to remain incorrigible, amoral, and still willing to charm people to do what he wants.

And yes, I did sit through the whole thing. I think it is unfair and uninformed to criticize or censor something without knowledge of the whole issue. And besides, in this case, I wanted  to see if this guy finally had to pay for all his excesses, which I am not sure he really did.

Unfortunately, if you choose to make your own evaluation, you will have to sit through the whole thing, too, and the powers that be get to pocket the money. So maybe you could wait till it comes out on Netflix or Redbox and not pay quite so much for the ticket. Be prepared. You have no idea what you are about to see. And put the kids to bed. Especially the teenagers.

Embarrassment is a given.