Stupid Deaths

There are many options to choose from, but don’t.

A friend of mine just posted footage of some people on a beach in Lake Tahoe. Bucolic enough, until I add that there was a mama bear and her three cubs walking straight toward them. And they see that, and don’t seem to care at all. They’re too busy sunbathing to worry about minor details like their imminent demise. When in doubt, save the freakin’ beer.


I was just telling dear husband the other day that when I die, I hope it’s not because I’m being stupid about something. There are so many stupid death options out there to choose from. Most intelligent people value their lives too much to “take advantage” of those options.

For example, you won’t see me driving while intoxicated. I’m also not going to cross train tracks when the traffic gates are down. Nor would I ever jump an opening drawbridge. But you’d be amazed how often these things happen.

I’m also not going to eat something that can kill me if it’s not prepared just right. Fugu can’t taste good enough for me to risk my life or it. Nothing can. I’m also never going to ingest something without knowing what it is, even if everyone says the high is awesome.

I also have zero desire to play with explosives or fire or deadly weapons. I think a lot of stupid deaths are caused by youth and arrogance. That whole, “It can’t happen to me” thing is ridiculous. If it has happened to someone, then, by definition, it can happen to you.

I’m not saying that people should be so cautious that they don’t live their lives. If that were the case, no one would ever walk across a street, even if the traffic lights are red. We’d all be paralyzed with inactivity.

It’s a statistics thing, really. If I want to enjoy the redwoods, I’m not going to cancel my trip to see them because one person was crushed by a falling redwood. I just won’t wander amongst those trees during heavy winds or rains, and will heed all warning signs that I come across. Calculated risks. That’s the ticket.

Currently, 95 percent of the COVID-19 deaths are by people who refuse to get vaccinated. The fact that this whole issue was ever politicized is a travesty. Going without a mask while unvaccinated is not living free, it’s living stupid, and potentially dying stupid. It’s entirely preventable at this point. There’s absolutely no valid excuse.

So if you’re thinking of juggling chainsaws while walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon, I’d urge you to think of the consequences and consider how much you value your life. Because there’s nothing quite so pathetic as having someone stand over your grave, shaking his or her head, saying, “what a stupid, unnecessary waste.”

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library!

What’s a Potcake?

I’m so glad you asked. I only just found out myself. A potcake is a mutt that can be found on several Caribbean islands around the Turks and Caicos, usually a combination of German Shepherd, Labrador, and various types of terrier. They are around 50-60 pounds, full grown, and come in all sorts of colors. Potcakes got their names because people used to feed them potcake, which is basically the scrapings of leftover peas and rice at the bottom of a cook pot. As a general rule, potcakes are very intelligent and good-natured dogs.

Dog lover that I am, I just found out about the best vacation ever. On the island of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos, there is an organization called Potcake Place K-9 Rescue. They let you help socialize their adoptable puppies by taking them out on the beach. I can’t think of anything more delightful than romping with a puppy on the white sands of the Caribbean.

And if, as I’m sure I would, you fall in love with your pup, you can adopt him or her. They already have the system worked out so that you have all the necessary paperwork and health certificates to fly them home with you. What a wonderful way to end a vacation!

Even if you choose not to adopt, you can help socialize the dogs. You can also act as a courier for someone who is adopting a dog but can’t fly out to pick him up. And, of course, you can donate money or dog-related items to the organization.

I love the idea of an island where dogs play on the beach and find forever homes. I hope I get to go there some day.

Three little potcakes, no doubt gossiping about the tourists.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude! Read my book!

The Grand Gesture

Okay all you men out there, Valentine’s Day is 10 days away so there’s still time. You can make this day the most memorable ever for your significant other, and you don’t necessarily have to spend a dime. Sure, diamonds are great, and roses are lovely, and chocolate is wonderful (although, personally, I spend the entire time I’m eating it awash in a sea of self-loathing). But contrary to what the advertisers tell you, it’s not about gifts. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: what most women really want is the grand gesture.

You see extreme versions of this in every chick flick you’ve attempted to avoid throughout your life. It’s when Richard Gere climbs the fire escape for Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman despite his fear of heights. It’s when Adam Sandler serenades Drew Barrymore on the airplane in the Wedding Singer. It’s when Dustin Hoffman bangs on the window at the back of the church to break up Katherine Ross’ wedding in the Graduate and they run away together. It’s when Billy Crystal runs through the streets of New York to find Meg Ryan and declare his love on New Year’s Eve in When Harry Met Sally.

You don’t necessarily have to go to such an extreme. What all these gestures, and in fact any grand gesture has in common is this: it says, “I was thinking about you when you weren’t there.” “I heard you when you said what you need or want.” “I want to make you feel special.” “I care about what’s important to you.” and most of all, “You matter to me more than anyone else in the world.”

The reason women love these chick flicks is that we’re quite often starved for these messages in real life. But you can change that so easily. All you have to do is give it a little thought and make a little effort. Ask yourself what the person you love is into. What do they like? Or what causes them the most stress and how can you remove that stress, if only for one night? For example, at this moment in time, as tired as I am, I think the most romantic thing in the world would be to come home and find that someone had vacuumed and mopped the floors and wiped down the counter tops. It’s not going to happen, but it would be so wonderful if it did. But I certainly wouldn’t say no to a serenade or a foot rub, or even movie night curled up on the couch with pizza. Take me to the beach and write something romantic in the sand. Draw me a picture. Take me on a picnic even though you think they’re silly. If the most important thing in my life is my annoying little dog, do something nice for my annoying little dog. Do something I’m interested in that you wouldn’t normally do yourself. Be willing to make a fool of yourself. Just once.

I think the most amazing grand gesture of all time was when Jack Nicholson told Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man” in As Good as it Gets. If someone sincerely sent me that message, they’d have me for life, because what he was really saying was, “You matter so much to me that I’m willing to try to improve, even though I’ve never really wanted to make that effort before.” That, gentlemen, is the ultimate Valentine.