I don’t take a lot of vacation days. My career is not conducive to frequent absences, and clients are generally unsympathetic to my need to get away. So, this week was noteworthy. Two days on the Jersey shore with two other couples. I have never vacationed on the Jersey shore, and have never been away with two other couples. But, I found plenty of time to work remotely and also to generate my deepest tan in decades. Mostly, I had time to think; to clear my unbearably cluttered head. Here’s what I came up with:
- Syrian Jews are the real Deal (no pun intended). They dedicate their lives to prayer and learning. And, when they are done, they go out in the world and contribute to society and culture. They earn money. Seemingly lots of it. If their mansions are any indication, they are doing something right. Up north, we focus on the aspects of religion that just don’t matter; customs and traditions that were likely made up centuries ago by rabbis with nothing better to do (Kitniyot?). We obsess. We argue. And, mostly, we lose young Jews to the intricacies of doctrines that would be foreign to Moses and are likely confusing to God. I never saw more devout Jews than those who pray and learn with love and zeal, then slip off their kippot and apply their lessons to God’s world.
- Two guys in my life who I am trying desperately to impress, one a childhood friend, and the other a Network news producer, are never going to call. I don’t know why. If I were them, I would take every call. I would follow every lead. In their line of work, you never know who might be the next Ann Curry. Once you start believing that you are too important (or too good) for the regular guy, you need a reality check. It’s not how you succeed in life. Everyone matters. It’s literally my professional mantra.
- Don’t go to the beach and sit under an umbrella, with SPF 200 in every fold, shoes to keep out the sand, earphones to muffle any sounds, and complain about the heat. I am not a beach guy but if I am going, I am feeling the sand between my toes; I am burning my skin, and I am listening carefully to the sounds of the ocean. There’s a metaphor here about enjoying life and getting burned, but it’s a lesson that is likely lost on the uninitiated.
- Some of my ex-girlfriends actually did better than I expected (or wanted). I know I did. Love is not what we think it is when we are dating. Or even when we get married. It starts as a crapshoot. I loved them, at the time, based on what I thought love meant in those days. I was wrong. Love is alive and needs to grow and, more than half the time it doesn’t. The three women that I actually consider “exes,” are happily married to great men. I never thought I would admit that. I hope they are as in love as I am after 16 years.
- I miss my kids so bad that I wake up at night with chest pains. Two days on the beach without children may seem like a dream. Four weeks? It’s a nightmare. How will I survive their emancipation?
- For the first time in my adult life, I am not likely to vote in this year’s presidential election. We have over 300 million people in the United States. These are our best two choices? I wouldn’t hire either of these guys to organize my files. Our system is designed to ensure we get the most lukewarm, vanilla candidates. It’s broken. I am supporting the write-in candidacy of Aaron Sorkin. That guy is a genius.
- Billy Joel was right, everyone is so untrue. I am tired of people lying to me about things that matter. So much of what we say is either a subtle manipulation of the truth or an outright lie. Reading between the lines is exhausting.
- I never watched the “Jersey Shore” but I have new-found respect for Snooki. Relaxing on the beach is hard work. It is stressful. Without proper training, one tends to spend the entire time comparing the easy life of leisure with their own reality.
- This is going to be a rough summer. More so than recent memory. I hope I survive.
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