Category: Inspiration

How to Be Happy, in Three Easy Steps

1) Surrender all ambitions to make, do, or build anything truly great. Trying to achieve greatness will lead to certain failure for everyone, except maybe Tiger Woods. The odds are so stacked against you — like, I don’t know, 10,000,000 -to- 1? — that you’re going to fail in this lifetime and probably the next...

Sandrine Pecher: 1970-2006

My great friend, traveling partner, and constant source of encouragement, Sandrine Pecher, died Tuesday morning after a nine-month battle with lung cancer. Sandrine had valiantly accepted whatever treatments the medical community could offer, including several different chemotherapies and radiation. Just last week, she told me that new lesions had been detected on her liver, but...

In Anticipation of Labor Day

Thank you to the Dads and Moms, toiling at home or in an office, on a truck or in a field. Thanks also to the Thais and Turks and Filipinos and Sri Lankans, the Malaysians and the Indonesians, the Bangladeshis and the Vietnamese, and of course the Chinese, who make our clothes and shoes and socks....

Happy Birthday, Renice Konik

My beautiful mother, Renice Konik, turns 65 today. She’s now officially a senior citizen. I would suggest, however, that if you didn’t have access to her government-issued identification — or a Web page trumpeting the fact — you wouldn’t guess that this vibrant, vivacious lass is eligible for Social Security (and bargain matinees). My mom...

Respect

To the rich man’s regret, respect cannot be bought. He can wield power, which inspires fear laced with enmity. But he cannot purchase that which can only be earned. The line is fine between respect and appreciation. Without the latter, the former seldom exists. Like unrequited love, a lack of respect leaves hollowness inside those...

My Mom

Mother’s are like dogs: Everybody thinks his is the best. Unless we’re living in billions of parallel universes, everyone having the best mom (or dog) is impossible. So I would like to clear up any confusion surrounding this question and set the matter straight. It is I alone who have the best mom in the...

Poem: Grace

We are thankful for all the bountiful blessings in our life, chief among them our continued good health, which allows us to enjoy this beautiful world fully with all our senses. We are grateful for the nutritious and delicious food we eat, for it sustains us. We are grateful for the company of our dear...

Being Ready

Many of our friends toil in the arts. They’re singers, pianists, and painters, playwrights, actors and essayists. And they’re all enjoying varying degrees of “success,” depending on how one defines the term. Those who don’t compose songs or declaim verse for a living suspect that the trick, the moment of magic, is getting discovered. They imagine...

The Big Gamble

My friend is a lawyer. By almost any measure he would be considered smart — and successful, and admirable, and all the other stuff responsible members of society strive to be when they’re not plotting to fire traffic-clearing incendiary missiles into clogged freeways. He likes what he does, and he’s good at it. He’s become...

The Genius Trade-Off

Being a genius isn’t easy. According to both conventional wisdom and scholarly hagiography, geniuses tend to be socially maladjusted freaks terrorized by personal demons that normal people can’t understand. Many geniuses die young. They endure lives that aren’t happy. Darkness shrouds their light. On the other hand, they’re geniuses. Being a regular person, it seems,...