When I was in high school, my father asked me if I would go to a movie with him. Dad was our hero, and anytime he asked one of his daughters to go somewhere with him, we jumped at the chance.
In this particular case, a new movie called M*A*S*H had just been released, and, as the oldest of three sisters, he asked me to see it with him. The original movie focused on a Mobile Army Surgical Unit in the Korean War, but the movie was far more adult (most likely rated ‘R’) than the TV series.
Now that I’m no longer working, I’ve been tuning into the TV re-runs every chance I get, often jumping up during commercials to get dinner ready.
But back to Alan Alda.
I went to the library one day looking for a book I could easily read. (I continue to have difficulty reading — and remembering — books these days.)
So you could imagine how thrilled I was when I opened Alda’s book and noticed the chapters were relatively short and the content extremely engaging. I stayed up several nights reading his essays. I learned a lot about his award-winning professional acting career on stage and television. He also talked about his love of science and his devotion to family and friends.
What struck me most about the book, however, was the inspiration of his words and deeds, from serious to thoughtful amusement.
Here’s an example from page 200: As it says on a plaque a friend gave me, “What if the hokey-pokey is really what it’s all about?”
He went on to say that instead of driving yourself crazy, he’d be in favor of doing something simple:
- Find someone to laugh with.
- Find something to laugh at (yourself is always good).
- Keep moving.
He then talked about the real sense of meaning, which he described as simply experiencing life; living in the present moment; and, just noticing he was alive.
Although he’s best known for TV series, Alda was an accomplished stage actor who won numerous awards, including six Emmys, six Golden Globes and a nomination for an Academy Award. He also won more than 20 awards for the TV series. In addition, he’s been a socially conscious writer, director and performer.
We should all remember, however, that Alan Alda is not Hawkeye Pierce. He is a real family man, and my bet is that he measures his greatest accomplishments – and greatest roles in life – as a loving husband, father and grandfather.
He is a special – and inspirational – person who truly has lived life to the fullest.
Now you must excuse me. It’s time to tune into another M*A*S*H reruns.
Note to Readers: This book has so many inspiring messages, prepare to see several blogs over time featuring Alan Alda’s insights.
Credits: Alan Alda, “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself”
Copyright permission: Random House, New York, NY