Friday, January 27, 2012

What I've Learned

Esquire runs a feature called "What I've Learned," where they provide the first word or two of a sentence and then allow the subject to fill in the rest.  My version of this feature:

What I’ve Learned: Scary Lawyer Guy.  Early 40s, divorced, attorney and aspiring raconteur:

Masturbation is still enjoyable, but like all other bodily functions, becomes messier as you get older.  In fact, everything about life gets shittier the older you get – not only do you creak and make weird noises, but you can’t stay up as late, eat certain foods or expect to sleep through the night without waking up at least once to take a piss.  I’d rather have 60 relatively well functioning years and drop dead than tack on another 20 where I end up crapping in a diaper and gumming my food.

A warm robe is essential during the winter.

The thing about marriage is you cannot appreciate its depth and complexity when you get into it.  You wake up 5 years later and it is like you and your spouse have merged into one super-being that consolidated your personalities, attitudes and thoughts into one organism. 

People tell us who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be what we want them to be.  This is one of my favorite lines from Mad Men because it captures an essential truth.  The tension in our interpersonal relationships comes from our willingness to give people a second chance while knowing it may not work.  We need to believe people are capable of changing even though experience tells us otherwise.  The bromide that “second marriages reflect the triumph of hope over experience” is pithy, but false.  The divorce rate for second marriages is higher than it is for first marriages, and third marriage divorce rates are higher than second marriage divorce rates.  Not only do people not change, it does not seem like they learn either.

Social media is not something I immediately embraced.  I missed MySpace entirely and made an affirmative decision not to use Facebook; however, I fucking love Twitter.  It’s a combination real time news gathering website/millions of people collectively experiencing events living room/snark vortex that is both endlessly educational and amusing.  I did not fully appreciate Twitter until the night the President announced Bin Laden had been killed.  My Twitter feed was “blowing up” for about an hour before the President spoke, first, with very vague (and slightly frightening) tweets about a “major announcement” that morphed into the leaking of the story online (even before the news channels, all of whom had gone wall-to-wall with coverage but held off on disclosing the information).  That’s when the light bulb went off for me.  What began as a place to tell people you just ate a shitty hamburger morphed into a place where you found out we put a bullet in Bin Laden’s head.

In writing good ideas are just as important as good editing. 

It’s only money was one of my dad’s favorite expressions.  I never gave it much thought when I was younger, but now I think it is complete bullshit.  Money does not guarantee you happiness, but your options and world are far more limited without it. 

It's not a bad thing to admit you are wrong.  In fact, the opposite is also true.  If you cannot admit when you are wrong, you are not going to be successful in life.

When I meet someone, I can size up whether I am going to like them within 10 seconds.  After that, it's either "thick as thieves" or "have a nice day."  Always has been, always will.

Elvis is endlessly fascinating to me.  He was an icon in a time before the Internet, before TMZ, before pop culture became ubiquitous.  He was worshipped but was incredibly insecure.  He was an addict but was obsessed with the youth counter-culture.  You read about that meeting with Nixon and find out he was basically stoned out of his gourd and showed up at the White House unannounced and wonder what that would have looked like in 2012.  His downfall was incredibly sad because even with all the adulation, he was a very lonely person and he died on the toilet.  What could possibly be worse than that? 

American Idol and the whole reality genre, has a reasonable half life of two seasons.  After that, it's just the same shit over and over.
I really don't have many close friends.  In life, I've found that a few meaningful friends were far more valuable than a roomful of acquaintances.  Some people need people around them, I've never been one of those people.  My own company has always been a-ok with me.

I am a lawyer and proud of it.  I've never taken a job for the paycheck except when I absolutely needed to and thankfully, that's only happened twice in the last 15 years.  Otherwise, I've been blessed to do work I love and to help make a difference in other people's lives.  There's nothing more rewarding than that.

Having kids is an enormous investment of time, energy and commitment.  If more people knew what "having kids" meant, I think fewer people would have them.  I never had them because I was always worried I would fuck up raising them and they would end up being all screwed up.  It depresses me to see how many bad parents there are in the world.

If you go to a suburban maxi-mall at about 10:30 on any weekday, you'll see a lot of those parents.

When they were giving out brains, dad only got half a serving.  On the other hand, when they were giving out "never say die" stick-to-itiveness, he got a double helping.

I don't know much about women and the older I get, the less I know.

Andy Warhol should have lived to see reality TV just so he could say "I told you so." 

I have no filter around people I trust and no desire to share around people I don't know or like. 

When I hear the first licks to any song on Appetite For Destruction I am immediately transported to my freshman year of college.  That album was the soundtrack to my first year away from home and I still love it.  One of the five greatest rock albums of all-time. 
You can't control what people think of you.  You can only do (and act) in the way you think best.  The older I get, the less I care about what people think about me.  *That* is one of the nice things about getting old.


  1. By the sound of it we come from a very similar place. Love your insight, wit, honesty and prose. There are a lot people in the world that have very similar viewpoints, thank fully there are ones like you to articulate them.