As I start the downhill run to the end of my life, I decided to take stock of some of my hard-earned truths. They may, or may not be, yours.
What I've learned:
Sing it. Sing it loudly and without caring if you are in the key of "r." Especially if you are in the key of "r." To see how this is properly done, visit karaoke night at the Red Wing in North Park. You may be tempted to make fun...but think about this: they are having a ball. You should join in. You don't have to be great, man. Just enjoy it. And you don't have to run someone else down to be superior. Just be. And let them be. And have fun!
Go on dates. All of the dates. And kiss all of the boys. That gorgeous hunk of man may also be beautiful inside. That short fat one may make you laugh until you are gasping for breath. That one that is a different color may have a breathtaking world view. That nebbishy fellow might just be the best guitar player you have never heard. And date them more than once...really see who they are. Unless they are a creep, then bow out gracefully but firmly. No one has time for that. (This also applies to girls.)
Read trash. And tell people you do it. If 50 Shades is your thing, have at it. Myself, I read supernatural crapola and I adore every filthy letter of that brain candy. In my 50 years I have read books on the founding fathers, and books on economics. I've read almost every Stephen King, and all of Robert Heinlein. I have read every Dresden book. I have read Ayn Rand. I have read Mother Jones and the Economist. The written word is beautiful. Even when it's steeped in the lewd and lascivious, and sprinkled with grammatical errors.
Eat and drink well. By that, I mean, these things are art. For me it's a Pol Roger Winston Churchill, for happy times. A Joseph Drouhin Fleurie for whimsy. A Bandol Rose by the pool on a hot summer day. Wine should be made by a person who takes immense pride in that bottle. From the grandfather of an Orvieto restaurateur, creating a € 5 white in his garage. From a master craftsman like Jim Clendenen, at Au Bon Climat, who makes sheer sex in a bottle, and out of it, for that matter. From my friends Michael Christian and Koleman Zander, who create modern zingers, naturally, while wedging San Diego wine history in every delicious bottle at Los Pilares. I'm not a fan of chemistry. I prefer the alchemy of time, grape, terroir, and magic. I like dirty hands and weedy vineyards.
Great food can be found in the simplest salad at Farmer's Table in La Mesa...to the most complicated and glorious creations at Le Bernadin in New York. Both of which I have enjoyed with my dear friend and sommelier Chrissa Chase. Pick a sun-hot tomato out of your garden, and let the juice run down your chin. Then take the rest of them and make gazpacho for your friends. And wash it down with that Bandol. You're welcome.
Life is short, but it's not a race. The end comes when it does.
In that last moment, are you going out with a shit-eating grin, and cilantro in your teeth? or profound regret of a man or woman unkissed or a puppy or kitten unpetted?
Then, what are you waiting for? That man or woman over there might need a kiss, or a bowl of your killer chicken soup. Or the medicinal Pho from down the street. That kitten you found on the street needs a mom or dad...and maybe you need someone to love and nurture. Don't walk away. Someone needs a belly laugh from your off-kilter version of Sinatra, sung at top volume in a bar where you might find a man who is WAY prettier than you, in the next stall.
Dance like Elaine. Sniff puppy breath. Stop and skritch that kitten. Suck ranch dressing out of your scarf at the Algonquin, on a first date. And cry at bad romantic movies.
Or, as Warren Zevon so perfectly said, enjoy every sandwich.