It occurs to me that the reason the world doesn’t get along, that leaders don’t behave like responsible adults and join together for the common good, is that there are so many different values, religions, fetishes and quirks, that the various cultures have trouble working together.
The goals are so different, the outlooks so diverse.
Similarly – stay with me here — the U.S. is home to more cultures than maybe ever before, so a sense of restlessness and conflict could pervade from here on out.
Or, we could — as Americans often have – overcome our differences and become a beacon of tolerance, compassion and cooperation.
Sure, it’s unlikely, but I remain hopeful. Germany shunned outsiders, and look what happened there (twice). So, do we learn from the past?
Meanwhile, I learned last week that New York’s skyscrapers might be sinking into the muck, by most accounts a good – almost godly — development, because that tired old place sure could use a makeover.
As you know, New York City has produced some of the worst people ever – I won’t name names, but yes, Weinstein is on the list, as is “Crude Rudy” Giuliani. As is that strange whirligig Kelly Ripa.
So, just level New York City and start over, as they do with nice homes in the Hollywood Hills – a model for all mankind…a success by any measure.
As is Los Angeles overall.
Next, I was stunned to learn that—did you see this?—there’s now such a thing as pickled strawberries.
Where does it end?
What they do is soak the strawberries in vinegar, roll them in sour dough and smear them with goat cheese and honey. Sound good? Or does it sound like something only yoga instructors or communists would ever eat. I’m not judging. That’s just not my way.
More and more, we seem to be divided into a world where the population is either: 1) Smart about certain things but dumb about life (Musk, Bezos, Zuckerberg), or 2) dumb as puppy bubbles (Ripa, Giuliani).
Finding a middle ground in such a world promises to be tricky, but I think we can do it. Look how well everyone gets along on social media, for instance. That digital olive branch has become such a safe zone, an oasis for gentle encounters and enlightened thought.
Quick story: This time of year, I love watching the kids so full of oats — the young Marlon Brandos and the James Deans, the Harry Styleses (for lack of a better example), wandering the parking lots and leaning up against their cars, swaggering around aimlessly in May and June, just as they are escaping school for the summer … these insouciant young punctuation marks who have so much figured out, yet so much to learn (see Musk and Zuckerberg, above).
Looking ahead, I see for them so much opportunity, so much success. I see, in this sinking world, some incredible and lasting moments…love, passion, kids, camping … all the things that matter more than anything, really.
Sure, massive and stultifying stupidity will still surface from time to time, as stupidity often will. Stupidity is like a jet stream that blows across our great nation from noon till 5 each day.
The other night, someone posted a Twitter video of a dude bragging about feeding a bear at his campsite. There are dumber things to do, though not many.
My pal and literary sidekick, Steve Searles, a certified “Bear Whisperer,” preaches the dangers of human contact with bears. By feeding them, he says, you take away their inbred fears of humans, which is what they need to survive.
Soon, they are bounding through lunch rooms, or crawling into your sleeping bag. That’s bad for everyone, especially the bears that end up euthanized.
So, please, don’t feed a bear. I don’t even care much for bird feeders or salt licks. But that’s another story for another time.
Stand by a moment while I pitch this little book that’s due out in October, just as bears are entering their dens for the hard winter ahead.
It’s the story of Steve Searles, an uncommon man with uncommon ideas — sort of the John Muir of bears.
And in his career chasing bears out of cabins and hotels, he learned to respect bears, yet not fear them. In fact, there was this equation: The more he learned about bears, the less he feared them.
And part of his sermon — part of his gift — is applying that approach to all the things we fear in life today. Other creeds, other cultures, other values.
Man, what a rich soup. What a wonderful time. Long as we keep sipping the soup, instead of hurling it at each other.
Long as we don’t demonize everything we simply don’t understand.
“What the Bears Know: How I Found Truth and Magic in America’s Most Misunderstood Creatures” will be released by Pegasus Books on Oct. 3. To pre-order, please click here. Look for appearances by Steve and me as the pub date approaches. Pardon this infomercial, but I’m proud to have been a part of it, and the message seems timely. Cheers and thank you.
9 thoughts on “What, Me Worry?”
Another pithy post, brimming with wisdom and deep questions to ponder. I cannot wait to read your bear book! Please put someplace in Orange County on your signing tour schedule. Clearly, we have a lot to learn from bears…And judging from the last picture, Cakes has it all figured out, too.
I bought your Bear book on Amazon just now. Looking forward to reading it in October. Be the Bear!
I also googled Kelly Ripa. Had no idea of who she/he? was. Now I know, but don’t care. I don’t watch early morning TV. I subscribe daily to the Pasadena Star-News (local) the WSJ (world, opinion, truth)
and the LA Times on Sundays (obits & sports). I read them every morning.
Thank for the book purchase, Joe. Really appreciate it.
Re Musk, et al…
Andy’s Axiom: “The ability to make money is indicative of the ability to make money – period!! It is not an indication of another single human quality, good or bad.
Like the strawberries you cite, much of the flavor of public discourse these days is soaked in vinegar, neutralizing the basic sweetness of many of the ideas and their potential for durable satisfaction of societal appetite. Dueling chefs seem to rule the kitchen. In such a culinary melee, appositive blandness is assured, and any choices but the tastes du jour are punishable offenses, subject to removal from the social menu; as are the offending chefs.
This piece is so finely defined in its expression of The Everyman’s Inner Self that.I found my attention nodding over and over in virtual agreement. (Even attention seems somehow separated from other elements of consciousness these days , just like so many bewildering appositives in our fractious polyphonic discourse and confused/confusing culture). Still, around us is daily evidence of an affinity for collusion…
Flowers And Lemons
I saw a glowing red rose resting
Its head upon grey stone pavement
Yesterday, so pendulous with light
It needed heat to seek the air;
And for at least six weeks two lemons
Have become so engorged with fragrance
Laden with lyric solar expanse—
Glossy yellow flow—they have bowed down
To the ground like two lips kissing
Substance, heavy with tart desire
To touch the dark secrets of the mouth;
These are garden miracles testing
The limits of love”s endless foment
And yearning for itself, ceaseless flight
From loneliness, heated brilliant stare
Of flesh everywhere sun falls upon
Wanting the shoulder that romance
Swoons against, never allowing chance
To touch its height with those fevered unknown
Fingers when matter is fraught—missing
Its own lush molecules of fire;
For the hypnotism of drouth
Is forever steaming in the eye
Water seeks its own as the days ply
Light through starry darkness in our head
Night pleasing itself, so it is said
While love ever seeks its own command
Finds blossoms—completeness—in the sand
Of one more warm-grounded Spring day
When flowers fell and two suns gave light away….
With such manifest affinity in evidence, I have hope of further collusion, as May Gray makes the Cecil Bruners (roses) luminous, like puffs of cherry ice cream in a mint soda. Like Spring did, you should try one; sometime.
Keep us posted on book signings!
Will Steve venture out of the Sierras to join you?
We’ll see about Steve. But he is proud of this book, so I’ll bet he does.
Hi Chris, I read you religiously & I was going to order your new book (I’ve read them all) but it costs $40 bucks!! I’m sure it’s worth it, sorry it’s out of my budget. I’ll get it somehow. Absolutely!!
Yikes. I’m seeing it on Amazon for $26. Try this. Not cheap but seems nothing is these days, regrettably https://www.amazon.com/What-Bears-Know-Misunderstood-Creatures_A/dp/163936501X.