How do I do it? I keep in mind the old Estonian saying, “your face should be like Ice”. You see, we Estonians are used to being taken over by many bamboozling buffoons- first it was the Danes in like year 1200, then the Teutonic Knight Order, the Germans, then the Soviets, then the Nazis, then the Soviets again- so being ruled over by bufoonery is old hat to us.
How do we deal with less than savory rulers? We expect only shit from life all day every day. We tough through life and smile for no one expecting nothing but drudgery cold and darkness.
in this way, any brightness seems to us a great and wonderful surprise. Like when your dog lives to be older than 8 or your goat does not freeze into block of ice.
So get your Estonians balls America, its going to be a bumpy knight.
Each of us must decide what we are in the business of. Some people are in the business of spreading joy and love. Some in the business of greed, or gaining attention. Some spend energy on being victims, or angry. Sinatra was in the business not of singing, but of bringing joy and an incredible style and confidence to the world. Leonardo wasn’t in the business of painting, he was in the business of teaching mankind how to dream and then build those dreams. Rosa Parks was not in the business of riding buses but of evolving her world.
A better question next time you meet a person at a fried shrimp bonanza or a Polo match, instead of “what do you do for a living?” is “what do you want you your legacy to be?”
What are you in the business of? Why are you really here?
Great Zamboni is in the business of showing people that inside, they are the true great zambonis. He do this through laughter and provoking thoughts.
I learned many things going camping yesterday with my son.
1. If you are doing “hike-in” camping, be sure you are ready for anything. Your car is very far away now.
2. Rain can come through the tarp under your sleeping bag if you have no air matress.
3. Your lovely lady was right, last summer, to make a stink about air matresses and blower-upper gizmos. I hrumphed and grimmaced, as usual. If we’d had an air matress, we might not have hiked 2 miles, in the rain down the muddy trail to get back to the truck and get the hell back to Berkeley. With a dying flashlight under a sky with no stars, only water. My nightmare: The light will die, we lose way, son dies of Hypothermia. Become alcoholic. Die at bar.
We awoke to the light rain, which became heavier. Should we put the rain cover on? Yes. We do. Now we have rain cover and soaking socks. Neither of us brought extra. Wait, are those our boots outside of dry tent? Yes. Now soaked. Mazeltov!
Well, we think, it’s probably a few hours from dawn, after all, we went to sleep hours ago right? Look at watch- fricking MIDNIGHT? Yes, we went to bed at 7:30 because there was nothing to do. We’d finished the supper of the greatest tasting beans and franks ever, and the warmest fire ever (the Dame would also never have let us come without marshmallows and chocoloate. We lament. )
We decide to pack up just the basics and risk it- go back to the truck and drive home- return tomorrow for the extra weight we don’t want to deal with now.
It’s strange when you are actually living through one of those experiences that you know will be a story told a million times, maybe over a few generations- to kids not yet born. It doesn’t make you any less terrified of death by mountain lion or Hypothermia. I sang every song I knew and tried to be casual. All we could see was two feet in front of us. Slipping and sliding. Finally the truck comes into view- never were we so happy or dehydrated.
30 minutes later like an Oasis- a 7-11 in Fairfax- the door open, lights glowing. We pull up. An Indian man whose nametag reads Deep, is guarding the door- with a mop handle across the entryway. Are you open?
Yes, we are 24 hrs.
Can we come in?
No, we are closed.
Uh, can we come in, we are really thirsty?
No alcohol! Deep is Emphatic. Like St peter at the gates and we are DENIED.
Look man, we just hiked for an hour in the rain, we’re dying here- we just want a damn gatorade.
I just mop, third time, he says.
A woman coming from the bars that just closed comes also to the door, can I get some cigarettes. Deep insists he is open but closed. We beg- we clarify we do not want alcohol and finally get in. Stepping over his mop handle. Whatever those 6 tiny donuts were encrusted with (coconut? cookie crumbs and msg?) the boy hits it on the head as we pull into the warm warm night bodies cooled down with Orange flavor Gatorade, “these are the best donuts in the world.”
Everything is the best-in-the-world when you are camping. Even terrifying darkness and cold. But family most of all. -jw
My uncle Sol Funkenheimer, or as we kids called him “the luge”, had a saying, “little Zamboni,”, he’d say “love is like a one way ticket to Palookaville, love is also like a box of Triscuits but sometimes you open the box and reach in and find scorpions instead of triscuits, love is a one-way street but people try to drive in both directions on this street, love is like a beautiful fall day and then you get the flu…” and so on.
We could never make heads nor shrimp of what the man was saying, but nevertheless it makes one think.
I say love is truly simple to understand but difficult to do. You have to let go of many things to truly love. Fear. Anger. Distrust. You also have to give much, and then give more. But the giving should not always feel like work. It is also being grateful. Giving foot massages. Doing of laundry too is lovely. But if I had to answer in one word, what is love? I will most certainly say it is this: Mt. Fuji. Very poetic and beautiful and perfect seen from a distance- but when you’re on it, a damn hard climb. I know, i’ve done it- twice!
I once made a film under the acting name of Rudolph Valentino, and in this scene, the nature of love -quixotic and impossible to force- is wonderfully evidenced.
There’s an old saying my Finnish nanny used to say as I hid in fear of her under my bed: “you can run, and you can hide, but I’ll still find you and smack you with my fist”
It’s sort of like life, people. You can run from things, or hide your head like a turtle, but when you pop out, that imposing Finnish nanny is staring you square in the face. The Nanny could be any number things, illness, worry, stress, and they don’t go away just by ignoring them. Nanny is life.
I realize my talk of retirement caused riots in Botswana, a dip in facebook stock price, and egg shortages in Michigan. For this I am truly sorry. It was rash of me to think I could simply disappear from your life. Like Michael Corleone said, “Just when I got out, they pull me back in.” And frankly, it is also Zamboni that misses you all, my idolators and electrolytes.
So though I am taking somewhat of a break, the nanny never takes a break, and so I am still with you.
Speaking of this nanny, whose name was Trinka- Though she was hard on me, she always dressed my wounds and sang me to sleep. Finnish songs of ice and sea captains lost at sea. I remember one going like so:
sing cold wind, over the roiling sea
sing cold wind, over you and over me
Life will bruise you up a bit, but is always there to ice your concussions.
This question comes from Casi in Chicago and is an interesting one.
In short, no. Heck no. Totes, No. But this brings up an interesting question.. what does it really entail, this being selfish? I think we wrongly associate a healthy selfishness with too much ego.
In college, at Tech. University of Southern Estonia, where I majored in all-knowingness, my friends derided me for being so selfish as to be always planning and making goals for the gradual Zambonification of earth. But I would try and tell them, “you are in law school and will one day make 500$ Krons just to answer the phone, I am only great zamboni and I will only eat from the wisdom I collect in my head!”
My friend Sweet Stache is a fine actor in Estonian soap opera, “The Young and the Fruitless”.. but before his success, he was always hesitant to push his career; he did not want to come off as selfish, ego-driven, or over-ambitious.
The long and short of my point is this Casi; if you will not be for you, then who will be for you? Why is your health wealth and success less important than anyone else’s? I am as valuable an asset on this planet as anyone else. So are you! The old Estonian copy editors have a saying, “God doesn’t need spellcheck” because you see, his gift of health to us has a purpose. And as the old Estonian spear fishermen like to say, “we will eventually all find our porpoise”
This question slip of paper accidentally fell onto the floor during my show now I get to answer it three weeks later.
Try these in combination or isolation, repeat as needed but use moderation in most: Cocaine, having children, riding a bicycle down the street and looking up as the trees go by (caution!), traveling, staying at home with a book or better yet several football games on TV or long romantic Bollywood movies like HumTum, cheeseburgers, -forget the Cocaine, that was bad idea, back to the good ideas- meditate, be quiet, take off your seatbelt and stick your head out the window, visit Estonia in July, take a first sip of beer on a hot day after long work, make love, make art, make sexy times, read Sunday New York Times, eat a shrimp tail, tell a tall tale, tell a lie just for the thrill, and smile when you are happy but try smiling even if you are not happy because it might just make you happy, writie a poem, write a letter, find a giant sculpture and hang off it, pretend you are a model and have someone take pictures of you, listen to music, listen to nothing, listen like Orpheus, and if all else fails, just hug it out- its impossible not to be happy while you hug (and even sometimes it lead to sexy times!)