Sunday, 27 July 2008

A Reflection Upon The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch died this week. Randy wasn't really a household name. He really didn't intend to be. Randy developed pancreatic cancer, and knew for about a year that he wasn't going to make it. Randy was a professor....an esteemed professor. Some professors, at the pinnicle of their career, will give "the last lecture", which is the lecture where they dump everything they know and give you the biggest batch of wisdom that you could ever ask for. This "last lecture" of Randy's....was supposed to be just his students....but someone videotaped the episode and put it up on YouTube. It became a million-hit clip.

The thing here is that Randy basically laid out everything he knew, and everything he accomplished into a tidy lecture. It was the thing that you'd begged to see from Socrates or Plato or Lincoln or Jefferson. Randy's "last lecture" probably shifted the minds of thousands.

There is the crowd of folks who are in the dying stage and needed a mortal reminder that their efforts weren't wasted.

There is the crowd of folks who have done so much in life but just don't feel accomplishment, and this was the reminder to feel good about anything done.

There is the crowd of folks who have played for minor league causes their entire life and never felt appreciated, but this kindly reminded them that any game played, is a game in the won column.

I sat and paused on the "last lecture" and then reflected upon a "last blog". Someday, I'll likely write Randy-type blog as such. What would I include in it?

Simplicity in life, is never marginal. I've simplified my life a thousand times over. I could never convince myself to be a millionaire, or CEO, or political figure. If I hadn't joined the Air Force, I would have been a rural mail route carrier, and enjoying it. Or I might have become a lumberjack and run off to Idaho with some wicked French woman named Armarante. Or I might have dared to write fantastic pieces of literature from Ripley. No matter what....it would have been a satisfactory life.

Humor hangs like mist in a swamp, eternally. I cannot bring myself to live in a damn serious world....where people live sterile lives and never appreciate the gravity of the moment via humor. Getting lost in Barcelona or sitting through a SCUD alert at King Fahd during the war....simply drove home that compass point that I relish. Even in my writings....the art of being serious, really isn't very serious.

Pondering is an addiction. I have sat and pondered at the edge of the Grand Canyon. I have sat and pondered on the sands of Coos Bay. I have sat and pondered while sipping beer at the top of the Eagle's Nest in Bavaria. I have sat and pondered at autobahn traffic tie-ups. I have sat and pondered at the edge of the Ring-of-Fire in Ireland while driving at breakneck speeds. I have sat and pondered life while whiny Irish men cried their woes and sorrows to me. I have pondered while waiting on my plane to leave Kansas City. I have even pondered while sitting on a cot in a hot canvas tent in the midst of Honduras. Pondering is hard....and I'm guessing it might not be as productive as I thought.

Tests of fate ain't the only tests in life. Tests are routine to me now....after a thousand different tests....you get to the point of viewing each one as merely another minor bump in the road. One could even hint that my test in faith has been done more than once or twice....but then somehow, things go right and I move onto the next test.

Enjoy the mere moment. I have found, sitting at a cafe in the middle of nowhere....sipping a ice tea with crushed ice and two clips of lemon....really makes for a great moment. I could also have a marvelous moment....standing in New York City in front of Grand Central Station....waiting on the damn forty-year old bus to take me back to JFK airport. I could also have a terrific moment watching a Panamanian cop trying his best to hint of a bribe to "fix things". I could have a fantastic moment standing in the middle of the Pulaski fairgrounds, and watching the crowd. I could even enjoy a moment where four middle-aged women sit in front of a camera and discuss trivial events in life and pretend to be serious while most of the viewers were washing the floor or cleaning the cat sand box.

Life is "Lost". I wish....but maybe I'm fantasizing a bit too much....wishing myself onto an island. Then I'd be telling Jack and Sawyer how things ought to work. I'd probably tell off Ben and beat the crap out of him.....feeling good about that as I finished up. I'd want to solve the island mystery in forty-eight hours, and then sit around and sip ice tea while the polar bear frolicked on the sandy shore.

Those who demand perfection within their lives...are living mostly with miserly and discontent. I am forever, the un-perfect one. I have a plan "B" in every single case. I'm willing to change the necessary, and the unnecessary...if required. I don't think I could live anything of value....trying to be perfect. Thats coming from the gut and soul when spoken.

That probably would be the basis of my "last blog". Considering that I've written over 2,000 blogs since early 2005....and I might write another 10,000 (maybe)....there's still more pondering left to be accomplished. And maybe thats just page one of a forty page "last blog"....who knows?

Fort Morgan


As a kid, my dad took us down to Mobile on two occasions. As for tourist stuff to do, it is a pretty poor area....that much I will admit to. But by the time you add up the Civil War sites and the scenery....it a damn fine place to go.

One of my favorite spots to go and see....is Fort Morgan. Its mostly just mortar and brick. It was the site of Mobile's epic battle, and probably has a quarter million folks stop by each year to check it out. Its on the water, and a nifty place to just sit and chill out. So ifing you are ever in the Mobile area....pause for while....sip some Mountain Dew, and check out the fort.