Back in the day when I produced TV spots and public relations videos, I was hired to create a video for the American Heart Association. They wanted to send out a message to the public about the various types of heart disease and the success modern medicine had using new medicine and treatments.
They gathered a group of people who they knew had some kind of a success story. Now, when you’re conducting interviews with what we in the production business called, “real people” it’s easy to get the facts. But, if you’re looking for more depth, you need to ask just the right question.
After about ten pretty ordinary interviews about stroke, heart attacks, coronary disease, etc. I interviewed an attorney who had received a heart transplant. I went through the obvious questions about how his heart disease was discovered, how it progressed and how he discovered he needed a heart transplant. And, then .. I thought .. this guy must have more to say (remember, he’s a lawyer and they like to wax poetic). So, I paused for a moment and said, “What’s Life Worth?”
His reply: “What’s life worth? Hmm … well, let’s see. Last year I attended my daughter’s college graduation. This year I attended my son’s law school graduation. My son and his wife brought me a Grandson about two weeks ago. You tell me what life’s worth.
When I decided to circulate this prompt my wife asked me the same question. What’s life worth? I thought for a moment and then said, Well, it’s about love, it’s about caring, it’s about hearing the birds in the morning and smooching with your puppy, it’s about watching a movie that makes you cry .. it’s about creating something and discovering something. It’s about attraction, affection, aggravation and copulation. It’s about hearing your 3-year old Grandson tell you that you’re funny.
I attended a Zoom funeral yesterday for an old friend. We knew each other for 50 years. Holy cow! We met by chance on a beach. He was with his friends and they were looking for a place to drop their blanket. I told him this is as good a place as any. We started to talk and talk and talk and laugh and laugh. Clearly, we had a strong sense of silliness in common. We both grew up in Jewish homes and attended Hebrew School. They taught us lots of words and songs and traditions. At that age, it didn’t seem to add up to a can of beans. But, somehow we stored all of that mumbo jumbo and turned it into our own secret language. Much of it is boyhood bathroom humor. But, oh did we laugh .. like little boys are apt to do.
What’s life worth? Ten minutes of silliness with Jeff would make my day. He knew just how to hit my funny bone. Guys like Jeff don’t just fall off a tree everyday. I’ll miss you Jeff. And, I hope you find some other silly guys on your new journey.