Life’s Purpose

Todays question comes from Bernadette Q, San Francisco, and it is “what is my life’s purpose?”

Zambonesman himself won’t be answering today, he’s speedwalking to Los Angeles right now in order to attend the Oscars. He doesn’t have a ticket and expects there to be scalpers. When I tried to explain to him that this wasn’t a regular event where this would be the case, he waved me off with what he called an old Estonian saying, “there is always a catering entrance.” He also told me a story of when he worked washing dishes for Wolfgang Puck at Spago in LA.  One day the great chef was hurrying through the kitchen to get to some celebrity polo match, when the college age Zamboni was polishing plates. “Hey kid you cannot take the time to shine each plate, look at that stack of pots.”

“Yes Mr. Wolfgang, but you must first look at my plates.” And according to Zamboni, Wolfgang Puck picked up a dinner plate that was so purely and perfectly cleaned and polished that it stopped him cold. He peered into the plate, seeing himself, then beyond himself and beyond everything. Tears came to his eyes and he looked at Zamboni like a child. Slowly, the elfin culinarian spoke.

“You have done this worst of restaurant jobs perfectly, and you have achieved poetry.” And he and Zamboni embraced for twenty silent minutes at the height of the Friday lunch rush.

“So you see Jordan, Puck does the after Oscars dinner, it is no problem for me to get in. Farewell and good luck with this weeks question.”

Something my grandmother Shirley used to say is, “everything happens for a reason.” That saying, like the old chestnut, “you can’t take it with you,” is so  trite that it might be true. I think Zamboni told me this story to help me with this answer. Bernadette plays the Nurse in a current production of Romeo and Juliet. She is very good. People see this show and what she does makes them feel things. She has given the best of her life for this young girl to be happy, and that is all she truly wants. When this goes wrong, Juliet dies, all is lost for her as well. Bernadette can actually do this most difficult of tasks, night after night.

I once asked Zamboni this same question, when we were knocking back shots of Colombian Wormwood and he said, “one thing.” When I pressed him further he would only say, “City Slickers, with Billy Crystal.”

So though I feel a bit out of my league with this one, I will venture this as your answer Bernadette: everything you’ve done up to this very minute has been the purpose of your life. It’s done. But you choose tomorrow’s plate to polish. Now I can already hear what Zambonesman would say to this, “no, it chooses you.” So take what has chosen you and polish it to the best you can.


“Mel, Kiss my Grits” is Meaning of Life

Many people ask the Zambonesman a trite, yet important question: “what is the meaning of life.” Normally they ask this to avoid a real quandry they have, such as, “how can I get my daughter to do her homework?” or “why doesn’t that guy I slept with call me the next day?” I try to urge people to ask these more practical questions, but still they are persisting. As we say in Estonia, “if a Sunami comes at you, it’s not time to play ping-pong”, so I will  answer this “big” question for you my people.

Ah, life is funny. Though now in my castle in Belgravia I have Dishfinity TV with 6,987 channels, as a child on the cheese farm life was much harder. We had a six inch TV that we jimmyrigged from glass milk bottle and disarmed landmine. With our antenna made from rusty clotheshanger, we got only dim fragments of TV, and one of those shows was the landmark American sitcom, Alice.

On this program was the sassy waitress Flo, who, whenever becoming annoyed would explain, “kiss my grits!”. Much of my childhood was spent with my brothers trying to decipher and translate what this mean. What are grits? Why kiss them? What for? Is to be kissing grits good or bad? One day years later at American college, cafeteria lady slop white stuff on my plate  and I freeze.

In broken English I ask,”What this substance please tell me”.

“Grits. Move down the line please.”

“Ah…” I finally get it. In dorm we watch reruns of Alice and always Flo yells, “Kiss my Grits.” The Diner cook, Mel, yell, “Flo, stop chattin’ up that trucker and pick up these eggs!”

“Kiss my grits!”

Alice says to this Flo something or other, Flo yell, “you can kiss my grits.”

Later in life, when I become Great Zamboni, it occurs to me the wisdom of this grit-kissing. Flo never bows to anyone in this show. Though she is only a waitress at a diner, she is like queen who takes no poop from anyone. If anyone try and complain of her in anyway and try to stop her from being who she is, she tell to kiss  grits.

In this way, she is much like the Roman stoic philospher Seneca, who say, “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.” Both Flo and Seneca see that the meaning of life is to dare to really be oneself. Flo’s nature is to be sassy and ornery, that is how she thrive. She say to the world, “this is me with my giant hairdo and too much lipstick and if you don’t like it, well….” you know the rest.

Kiss my grits. It was her mantra, her credo, her personal motto, her “carpe diem”. What is yours?

Seneca at his death, we know what he probably whispering to guy trying to comfort.

Real Man Vs. Real Woman

So my gentle readers, today I am tackling Harvey’s question: “what is the difference between a real man and a real woman?”

Interesting that the question is worded like so. In Estonia, we have a saying, “a woman asks, and a man sleeps.” That is a crude translation, but nevertheless it carries the fish to market, as they say. Oscar Wilde said, “a woman should have past, a man should have a future.” Women are deeper than men and always are seeking a connection to other human. Man sleeps, dreams, wakes, and then conquers the moon. Or just sleep in front TV.

But Zamboni, this is a different question!? Yes, it is tempting to add to the ten million crackpot man from Mars women from Venus type of theories, but my question today is about realness, or essence, not merely, “how are women different from men?” So I proceed.

You might think there is very little chance that even I, great Zambonesman, can hit nail on head about what makes a real woman. This would be true, had I not had a recent encounter with a white tiger in Botswana. I hypnotized this beast and in its ancient language it revealed much to me concerning this. The spirit of the tiger, told me that a woman is only “real” inasmuch as she is connected.

“Connected to what?” I asked this spirit.

“To Nature” she replied.

“What does that mean exactly? like trees and birds?”

“No”, it purr-growled, “women, Zamboni are nature itself, cycles, reproduction, tornadoes, unpredictable and unfathomable. Any woman’s realness grows in proportion to their connection.”

It sounded a bit trite to me honestly, I was expecting more from the hypnotised spirit of a white tiger. I felt I could have got the same from someone working at an incense and patchouli store, but no doubt the limitations were in my mind, not in  the spirit’s. So I asked, “and a real man, how different is?” The tiger’s eyes reeled a bit, it’s claws grabbed my face and held it close to its giant head. Then it relaxed, and whispered again.

“This is much simpler Zamboni. A ‘real’ man, is one who crosses.” (Italics of the tiger)  There was a pause as the beautiful white beast breathed. What the F did this mean? I asked, but in nicer more reverent tone.

“That is all I can say now.” And with this, the tiger awoke back to its wild self and I ran like hell into a bush that was too dense for her to penetrate. She gave me a look like, “one day soon” and then prowled off into the savannah.

So my friends, as always, Zamboni will successfully penetrate this mystery. The tiger meant that a man is only real when he crosses a threshhold, a challenge, a rite of passage, a border, a fear,  or a responsibility. I understood this when I sailed around the world alone in a boat made of tin foil. Though I was freezing, miserable, and had to remove one of my toes due to hypothermia, and eat it due to hunger, I as a man needed to “cross” this challenge.

Shakespeare once said. “comparisons are odious” and I agree in a way. But that doesn’t mean they don’t reveal some truth. We all know that Man is different from Woman. But more important is the “real” part of this eqaution. Do you, man or woman, feel there is realness and authenticity in your life? The real truth here is that man too needs connection, and women too must “cross”. If you can stare into this tiger’s eyes, above, and say, “I am sailing for the real and true life that I always dream for” and mean it, then you are doing fine.

Good luck, even though you don’t need it because you are perfect. Now I go watch TV.                                   -Z

“What is the difference between a real woman and a real man?” Zambones is asked

The above question comes from loyal disciple Harvey from San Francisco, and I, Zamboni shall adress this soon.

But short answer is, after a long night of beet kvass drinking at Estonian circumcision or wedding, sometimes not much. Like CSNY said, love the one you’re with. Zambonesman himself spent week in himalayan cave soul-joining with a sherpa named Lapsa Alta whose gender is still a mystery to me.

But deeper answer come soon.

“What makes a Real Man?” Zambones is Asked

This above question comes from Gerard Lalime, from France, the country in Europe far from Estonia.

Gerard, this question is a good one. The answer was shown to me long ago by my adoptive father, Horvath the Cheesemonger. One stormy day, when rains whipped through the farm making toothpicks out of the fences which kept in the goats, I learned what a real man is. When the fences were down and the lightning cracked over the vast Estonian sky, the goats scattered into the hills. Horvath and myself, then only a boy of nine with one lame leg, chased the animals down, until all but one had been returned. Horvath kept searching for the one old black stud-goat whom we called Shorty. Though Shorty was past his prime of mating, he’d sired many generation of fine milk-producing goat. Horvath kept searching as the wind and rain worsened. Three hours later, shivering, Horvath returned with the goat in his arms and collapsed. The goat lived another year, but Horvath expired from Hypothermia.

He risked everything, for one he loved, for what was right. This, my French friend, is what a man is.

But a man is also one who gets up in the morning, and faces another day that promises to be strangely similar to the one before. Perhaps that is a diferent, but no less noble sort of risk?

For a third answer, I leave you with this classic 1980’s song which searches over the same matter. (click “watch on you tube” if all goes black)

Vive la France, and all the best to you.

What is “Dark Matter?”, Zamboni is Asked

Recently, The Council of Advanced Estonian Astrophysical Sciences, after heated debate in  which several of them threatened to resign if I were consulted, asked me a question which is currently baffling people: “What is Dark matter and Dark Energy?” I was already unpopular with many on the council after handcuffing myself to their building for a year of hunger striking after they voted to downgrade Pluto from planet to random rock. As I have spent time on Pluto -long story- I simply knew them to be mistaken and was trying to save them and my homeland from embarrassment.

We are part of "stars and etc."

So if you don’t know, scientists have discovered that most of our Universe, about 94%, is actually consisting of these two substances, and no one knows exactly what they are, look like, feel like or really anything. Theories are many: a sort of goo, some kind of radiation, or perhaps a %$? sort of substance that no one would recognize, a new form or element altogether. Long story short, science don’t know goatshit about it. And it is everywhere and everything! One Stanford professor I speak to said it is even in tiny particles in your fingernail, but too small to detect. She is currently crashing atoms together in machine the size of a football stadium in hopes they can create this stuff.

Like as is my custom, Zambonesman does in fact know. Dark Matter is exact cross between a black marshmallow and a day at the DMV, saturday peak hours. Dark Energy is a smoky sort of shadow of gas that emanates from the pores of each one of us at different rates and at different times and frequencies. This is above most brains except those as simpleminded as Zamboni, I explain:

Lets say you are at the post office. Deespite the fact that there are 20 people in line after you, you do several slow transactions and drop money on floor, ask many stupid questions, don’t make up your mind fast whether you want insurance or delivery confirmation and just generally take too much WTF time. You give off Dark Energy.

Lets say you you park sticking three feet into someone’s driveway all day because you are careless. Lots of Dark Energy.

You don’t vote for whole life? Dark Energy (even if you are Alice Waters, Pope, or Dalai Lama)

Yes, we are responsible for this energy and it is everywhere, coming from us when we are “douchebags” or as we say in Estonian farm patois, “Goat smegma”.

Dark Matter, on the other hand,  comes from the real bad stuff that happens in secret. You can find out more on Wikileaks.

So my friends, another mystery defrocked by Zambonesman. I hope you enjoyed, and try to create less Dark Energy today and don’t park in my f&*%ing driveway.

You see?

Thanking you!

Zambonesman is asked about Negative Effects of Internet

Todays question comes from Saul P. from Paris Texas.

“Dear Great Zamboni, I am concerned that with our over-connected culture, my children will be multi-tasking over achievers capable of keeping many windows open at once but unable to follow one thread of knowledge to where it ends. Is my worry legit?”

Dear Saul, this is a good question.  Strangely enough, only one or two scientists have been studying the effects that all this online-all-the-time living has on us. And the findings are inconclusive. Luckily for you, and the others, Zamboni has truth to reveal.

Homer. He knew his epics from memory. Millions of words. That is many texts.

Recently I was at a small lecture about Economics and the Third World. While the grad students sat around a table, half of them had laptiops open and were doing many things while “listening” to each other. The person I was behind, I could see them check their facebook page, a blog, and some sports scores all in two minutes, as well as the past papers and biography of the very guest who was lecturing to them at the other end of the table. I also had a friend, a shepherd named Le Quark, who used to happily while away hours of grass-munching time for his sheep while he texted , until one day he walked off a cliff. There are pluses and minuses to all this technology.

But the answer to your question is Yes, you should be worried, but after you worry, here is what you should do.

Lead by example. Don’t tell your children to read more while you get fat watching TV on couch.

This guy more fun than the other Homer- but not as important. He show us who we are right? It's funny because it's true.

Make decision. Give your house a “24 hour online sabbath”. At house of Zamboni, I cover the ancient blueberry  imac the size of a turkey with a sheepskin from 10am sat to 10am sunday. No miniclip, facebook, Pandora, nothing. Encouraging boredom, reflection, and then also we go outside and throw hammers  at the old Roman ruin in the backyard. This is athletic and satisfying. We also cover television, but not in football season.

So Saul, remember that the only thing we have of value is time. And also remember that your children’ s brains are changing every day, and what they do with their time, this is what builds their brain.

And seriously, what is so good about this multi-tasking? Did George Washington or Abe Lincoln or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. need this? No, they needed single minded years long laser focus on one goal. Take heed.

Are we breaking up, we have bars? you getting this signal? good. Now  disconnect.

The little apple has been bitten. Thanks a lot Eve!

Zambonesman and Magritte

I find much truth in contemplating this painter, Rene Magritte. Many of his paintings are ridiculous, apples that fill entire rooms, paintings of pipes over the words “this is not a pipe,” and yet as a whole they make sense to me.

Hmm. It is hard to see, without the "I", is it not? Hard to get outside yourself sometimes. Is he laughing you think? And the clothes, still standing so straight, as if they have no need of him. Who of us would be seen naked. I recently heard the animator of the movie HOWL, Eric Drooker, speak. When asked about all the nudity in the cartoon, he said, "I think everyone looks better naked," and though I love clothes, it made me think.

Zambonesman is asked about Tennis

This question comes from T. Stradlater from New Caanan, wherever this is. I was once at the old Caanan, in the holy land, as I learned to make falafel there from a mystic named Isam, but the new one, I  not knowing this.

“Dear Zamboni, how can I improve my tennis game, I hit hard, but I keep losing to guys twice my age, and I am forty- it’s embarrassing.”

Yes Stradlater, I know how you feel, and of course I can help, as always, most completely and irretrievably with abundant wisdom.

Tennis is an interesting game, and like all great sports, not really a “game” at all but a mirror up to us as humans. In tennis, you must keep your eye on the ball, but that most important moment of contact with the racket- that fraction of a second is where we can’t see it. The moment of faith- yes! And of course, while you play you cannot catalogue all the different techniques you have learned: moving your hips with your swing, following all the way through, stepping into the swing, no. While you play you must forget all this and be in the moment, anticipating what your opponent will do and how you will respond. Miles Davis is not thinking octaves and technique when he plays. He feeling music and thinking of hitting bar after.

My friend Jordan had this problem of losing to 80 year olds at the neighborhood park. I even saw it once, a well dressed gentleman named George in white Lacoste who stood glued to one spot and still finished victorious. But because I, Zambonesman, know how to not merely watch, but see, I noticed that this man’s edge was mental. He knew where to hit the ball, he placed the ball where he wanted, tiring out the younger Jordan very quickly. See, power, as in many pursuits, is trumped by the mental. Plus, this George no longer had power, but he was using what he did have, precision. Mohammed Ali was not as strong as Foreman  in the Rumble in the Jungle- but he won with strategy. I informed my friend of this, and once he learned to do less, and place the ball accurately, he beat this octogenarian handily, and others not so ancient.

What was I saying? Yes, tennis, you Stradlater must take the mental edge, forget your strength and watch the other person, do they get tired by the fifth game? Then make them run, etc. Hit hard when you need to only.

Remember, the way we do one thing is the way we do all things. Jordan would very quickly expend his energy, and not last for two sets. He adjust game, and now is better on court and with ladies. Actually, just on court but he have hope.

….Ali takes Foreman’s punches for eight rounds, people are baffled by his inaction, then…

See, the real wisdom is you let the other guy beat himself…