Wonder what the picture above has to do with obits? Well, “stay tuned.”
I apologize for becoming such a procrastinator as far as my blog is concerned. The fault lies with deadlines. Or, more correct, the lack of deadlines. When a person works full time, deadlines are what drives us. As for me, I used to have to have a TV show ready (or not) to go at a the will of the clock on the wall. This “deadline” does not exist when you are writing a blog (You can write anytime you like, or not at all, if you like). You can let a blog just sit there and no one cancels your show. Although, it really makes for a dull clique.
The picture was taken about 30 years ago when Barbara and I were on vacation in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, Bora Bora. It was like I was on my own deserted island in the south pacific. Glorious! If you could back up a bit, you would be able to see Barbara taking the picture.
But, even then the deadline loomed. In two weeks, Barbara and I would be heading back to the real world of deadlines and our Marlon Brando experience would be a thing of the past. But I will always have this picture.
I was 50 years old and looked great. Advice: when you know you are lookin’ good, make sure someone is around to take your picture so you can not only seize the day, but hold on to the moment.
Have you noticed that deadline has the word “dead” in it? Also, it draws a line that signifies, “Stop, you have reached the end.” Time has run out.
In 2003, I wrote the book “Stuff Happens” with my dear friend, John Alston. Every now and then I take my own dog-eared copy out and review what one is expected to do when stuff happens. I first review the motto of the book? “It isn’t what happens to you that is important, it is how you respond to what happens. And, how you respond depends on how you live your life.” Words to face deadlines with.
Here’s an exercise for you:
Go to a cemetery (in the daytime please and skip the dead cat). Note that on the gravestones they have a name and a couple of dates. For example “Charles Swindoll, 1840-1932” and between those two dates there’s that tiny little dash. That dash (-) is supposed to represent Charles Swindle’s entire life. 92 years. What a put-down. That infinitesimal dash says nothing about the people he helped and nurtured. It says nothing about the children Mr. Swindoll might have raised or sired. It tells nothing about how he lived his life; the kind of person he was. Here’s the big question:
WHAT WILL YOUR DASH STAND FOR?
That brings me to the subject of this blog, “Deadlines.” Do you read the obituaries in the paper? Of course you do. Obits are interesting and sometimes very enlightening to read. What some people have accomplished in their lives is fascinating copy. Don’t you find it kind of sad when you read a tiny little obit about someone? That’s telling you that this person’s “dash” meant so little no one wrote anything down.
Don’t let this happen to you. How you ask? Easy. We call it
Yes, that’s right. You write your own obituary. NOW!
Come on. This is going to be fun. Take out a piece of paper and start right now. Gruesome? No way. This is life we’re talking about here. Not death (however there is a deadline of sorts). Start out by listing the people you love and who love you. Note the accomplishments you’ve made in your life no matter how small. Married? Raised kids? Job’s you’ve held. Charities you’ve worked on. Anything. Do you consider yourself a good person, a kind person? Write it down. If you feel your list is too short, add the things you want to accomplish in the rest of your life. Write it as if you have already done it. That’s OK. That is if you start doing it. If you want your dash to mean something, you have to start now. Then all during your life, take out your Do-It-Yourself-Obit and check how you are doing. Got the idea?
Start it now. Today. This minute. Do it whether you are young or old. What you are doing is writing about what you wish to be, and than doing it so it will become the true you. What you want your life to be, and then “living” that life. You are just filling in your “dash.” It’s in the book!
Had I done this earlier, I would have written stuff like. “Lloyd always wanted to go to Bora Bora and he did. I would have written that he (me) was asked to be a guest host on The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson. Now, don’t laugh. That one really come true. I never was a guest host, but, I was ASKED.
Would you believe that I never saw this telegram? I found it years later in my agents file, unanswered. Am I kidding you? No. Stuff happens.
Now, writing you own obituary mean you must pick out the picture to go with it. Pick it now or someone might use your driver’s license picture, or your latest mug shot. Another exercise for you (no pun intended). Work on keeping yourself in the same shape as your picture. And work to stay as happy as you look in the picture for the rest of your life. Pictures don’t lie.
I’m just starting my own Do-It-Yourself Obit. OK, so I don’t practice what I preach. You can help me. I’m working on a very funny, but life long obit which will include a lot yet to happen in the future. I need your input.
First help me pick the picture. I will then write my obit in a future blog and just like the Wikipedia, you can make any changes you like. YOU CAN CHANGE MY FUTURE. You just might make me a better person.
Pick the picture you like and tell me why you picked it.
I like this one because, it is the most recent picture. It is from a clip of a new soon-to-be- released surfing documentary by film maker Tom Duncan.
This was taken for the back cover of Stuff Happens in 2003. I like it because it is kind of rakish. The photographer was Tama Rothchild.
This is the thumb of former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn doing an impression of me. My favorite, but for an Obit? You be the judge.
Hey, what are blogs for?
Incidentally, there is a deadline for this.