I was in the post office this morning mailing my book, Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer to a wonderful woman who used to be my partner in the theater we owned in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1977 to 1892. Maryan was the co-founder and daily managed the finances for our professional theater – The Meadows Playhouse. She was my right arm and guide through this very challenging project. Those were some of the best years of my life. On my left was a brilliant, creative genius of a man who went on to direct on Broadway. Philip was a show boy at the old Dunes Hotel and a former junior high music teacher. He was a musical maven who sang Sondheim like he was born inside the lyricist’s head. Creatively, we were a team and each other’s support. We fostered excitement, generated creative projects and lived our three lives on the edge for six years.
We were not just along for the ride. We were in it to the finish, to the end, to the moment when the curtain came down. And when the curtain finally dropped to our mix of sadness and joy, we three went off to hitch ourselves to yet another chapter in our lives that took us to new and interesting places and to other edges. And we were not just along for the ride on the next leg of our journeys either.
What makes people just go along for the ride in life? These are people who just exist and contribute very little to the enrichment of themselves and to their environment. These are people who tread water.
In the post office this morning, I was quickly signing my book to Maryan as I was putting it in the package and the woman behind the counter – and I know all those women because we are up close and personal on a weekly basis – took the book out of my hands.
“Let me see that,” she said. She studied the cover.
“Is that you? she asked with a smile.
“Yep,” I responded.
“Living at 60 and dancing tango…” she mused. “That’s the way to go.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” I said as I gave her my 4×6 marketing card I am so proud of.
“I guess you’re not just along for the ride,” she said smiling as she gave one of my marketing cards to the woman next to her. She smiled in communion with our sisterhood as she looked up at me.
“Nope. I’m never along just for the ride. Life is just too damn good.”
So why do people stagnant and stand back and observe and issue judgments of others and never try for the brass ring? Is it natural in the DNA?
Sometimes I think that the blend of nature and nurture goes awry. We’re born with a certain level of intelligence and we can always exceed that level. And you don’t always have to be a college graduate, thank you Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs dropped out of school to follow his passions and look what he created. So it’s not always about book learning. But at the present moment in our culture there is, in my humble opinion, too much sponging going on. We sponge off TV personalities; we sponge off movies and sub-par reality shows and sitcoms and other people’s dramas in the newer version of movie magazines, all of which disconnect us from being conscious. These environmental stimuli do nothing but numb the brain and petrify the body. We’ve gone beyond couch potatoes. We’ve become those inanimate couches covered in old fashioned plastic wraps that our grandmothers protected their sofas with so that no one would ever have to actually feel what they were sitting on. We weren’t allowed to feel the fabric and enjoy the rest. Besides, the plastic stuck to my legs all the time and made a mark on the back. I looked like I had cellulite at twelve. Couch potatoes are just along for the ride because they have become inured to real emotion, unable to feel the real joy in their hearts and minds because they are into plastic wrap.
Get conscious plastic people! You are really annoying to those who participate in life and love. My girls at the post office get it. They are always happy and vibrant and courteous and alive with questions and they are attending the party. I know you don’t believe me because I’m talking about the post office, folks, but it’s damn true. You can be in any walk of life and feel the joy and live life to the fullest. Or you can be a hanger-on and sponge off the TV and live someone else’s life.
It’s up to you.