By now I think we all know that celebrity interviews are complete horseshit. They exist mostly to help the celebrity promote their latest movie/tell-all memoir/Playboy spread/prison release. Illumination is not a part of the design.
Personally, I’ve been party to the most craven of celebrity interviews – the movie press junket. Studios will spend millions flying journalists in from Wichita or Reykjavik, put them up at a four-star hotel, and grant them a five-minute audience with the stars of the flick being promoted. In exchange for their largesse, the studios insist the discussion be limited to the movie, and that discussion be rather positive.
Suffice to say, the deepest insight you’re likely to get is how much the celebrity enjoyed working with their co-stars, be they human, penguin or Muppet (spoiler alert: they enjoyed it a LOT!). The biggest revelations I ever had on a junket were that Jay Mohr does a killer Christopher Walken impersonation and Jennifer Aniston’s nipples are even perkier in real life – not exactly the Nixon Interviews. Bad as they are, junkets interviews are only slightly worse than the stage-managed candor you see on 60 Minutes, or read about in Vanity Fair. All of which is kind of sad, because I believe there’s something instructive in the lives of famous people, even if it’s just a cautionary tale.
That’s why I like the regular section in Esquire Magazine called “What I’ve Learned”. Essentially, it’s a free-form, stream-of-consciousness discussion with famous people about the lessons they’ve gleaned from living unusual lives. For “What I’ve Learned” Esquire tends choose people who have a few miles on them – which is good, because I don’t give a shit what Justin Bieber or Chris Brown have learned. Guys like Jeff Bridges or Terence Stamp, on the other hand, probably have some bits of wisdom from which we can all benefit. Unburdened by the need to sell a product or atone for a scandal, these people come across a little more genuine than in other celebrity exposés. Materially they’ve got less to gain, but a question like “What have you learned?” requires thought, and can really crystallize what it is you believe. I think that’s the draw – at least, it is for me.
I was reading the most recent issue of Esquire, featuring life lessons from “The Other Guys” – Joe Biden, Gary Oldman, Art Garfunkel, Slash from Guns n‘ Roses, et al - the kind of people who aren’t famous for being front and centre, who bask in the reflected glory of others. I can identify with this group, and they inspired me to think about what I may’ve learned in the last few years. It seems only fitting I should share what I’ve learned with you on this, my forty-first birthday and the second anniversary of this blog. You may want to think you’ve learned as well – I’d love to see what you come up with.
Low Rent Blogger/
Occasional TV Producer,
I don’t understand why people get down on failure. Few things can motivate me to succeed quite as well.
That said, I’ll always depend on a guy whose failed at least once over a guy with an unbroken string of successes. The guy who failed is less likely to lose his head in a crisis.
The best advice I’ve ever received from my Muay Thai coach is this: when your opponent hits you, shake it off. Never let them know they’ve hurt you. It’ll only embolden them.
Waiting for the ideal situation is both brave and highly impractical. I’ll work with what’s available, and take comfort in knowing I can adapt.
I used to get vanity and integrity confused, but not since my daughter was born.
My dad joked that he never knew what true happiness was until he married my mother – by which time it was too late. I think of that line whenever I consider my career choice.
I wish I could say I’m too enlightened to feel regret, resentment, or envy. The truth is, right now, I’m too busy to squeeze them in.
When someone starts by telling everyone how much experience they have, I start wondering how long it’ll be before they fuck things up.
Arrogant is a word insecure people use.
The best leaders I’ve met don’t exercise authority so much as make people feel like they’re a part of something greater than themselves.
I’ve had bosses that were inspiring, and bosses that behaved like contestants on The Apprentice. I can work with both.
Sometimes you do a better job on things you’re not passionate about nor particularly care for. Your thinking is clear and un-emotional. You don’t take things personally.
Only the brilliant and the persuasive are allowed to be assholes, which is why I’m obliged to be nice.
Real inspiration visits occasionally. The rest of the time, I’m creating.
If I walk away from what I’m working on and come back later, I find it’s actually better than I thought it was.
Right now, I’m making a good living writing jokes about entitled women. I would do that for free. I’ve got no business complaining about anything.
I never had a career plan – I just tried things that interested me. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t, but at least I wasn’t bored.
My best work is still ahead of me, and I’m glad I still feel that way.
There’s a few people who wish I felt worse about the way I treated them. All I can say is everybody got the exact amount of contrition they deserved, which may’ve been less than they wanted.
Before, when dads told me how great it was to be a dad, I thought they were saying that to make themselves feel better. I realize now only some of them were.
Louis Armstrong was right: some people if they don’t know, you can’t tell ‘em.
I know it’s a work of fiction, but To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down the best parenting guide I’ve read so far.
A lot of dads look at their kids and see the things they’ll never get to do. I may not turn out to be the best father, but at least I can look at my daughter and know I haven’t missed a thing.
I rarely cry at sad things, but happy things make me weep all the time. Since my daughter was born, I haven’t cried so much in my life.
When you find something you like, buy two.
I can’t bring myself to get something unless I get rid of something. It’s the only way to keep things uncluttered.
Next to my daughter, few things make me as happy as swimming at night in a freshwater lake. Preferably on mushrooms.
You may think it’s just a wristwatch, but really it’s an indicator of how seriously you think you should be taken.
I have serious misgivings about anyone who doesn’t like dogs or cheese.
I keep a running list of Baby Mama’s shoe size, cup size, dress size, favorite colors, designers, etc. Love is paying attention to the details.
Motorcycles are not the defining passion of my life because I look cool and enjoy going fast – although that’s part of it.
Seriously though – we spend so much time limiting our exposure to things. You can’t do that on a motorcycle.
If I tell the truth today, it’s mostly because I’m getting too lazy to lie.
I feel like I have a book in me. I may never write it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
When I look at my face in the mirror, it’s hard to see how moisturizing has helped. But I’ll keep doing it. Just in case.
When it comes to women, I’m a little like a gambler on a hot streak who thinks he’s winning with skill and not luck. Fact is I haven’t punched my weight for years.
It’s not flirting if you mean it.
I used to think I knew what I needed from relationships, and then I met the woman I’m with today.
When they gave our daughter to me for the first time, I looked at her, turned to Baby Mama and said “I’m in love with another woman.” She seems okay with that.
Life is good. Why spoil it with expectations?