In the final chapter of I Remember Nothing, the last book that Nora Ephron wrote before her untimely death, she composed two lists: what she would miss and what she would not miss. Because, typically, components of such lists reflect things that we love most as well as things that we disdain, we can learn much about ourselves from making our own lists. I invite you to take out a piece of paper to compose your lists, not necessarily in preferential order. If you can find someone else who’d like to join you in the exercise, then you might exchange lists, comment, then review the comments to see what another viewpoint might add to your experience.
I was pleased to see that my list of things that I''ll miss was much longer than its counterpart. However, in the interest of fairness, I''ve restricted myself to fifteen entries on each. Here goes.
What I Will Not Miss:
• Cancer and its menacing ramifications.
• Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. In fact, cruelty and even "bias" of any kind.
• People who double park or cut lines. Both types of folk seem comprised of the same genetic material.
• Those who pass gas on airplanes. (I realize that changes in air pressure kind of force the issue, but still there are restrooms so there is some choice involved. Also, please note that this is not the reason you''re referred to as a "pass-enger" when you fly).
• Taking urine samples and stool specimens to the lab. I can handle most of the menial tasks of doctoring but as for this one…UGGH.
• Whining, which differs from crying. (See below.)
• Roller coasters (literally and figuratively).
• Airport security since 9/11.
• Foods prepared with cumin. (Totally subjective, please don''t take offense if you''re into such cuisine.)
• Superficiality, especially when it manifests itself as materialism.
• Long meetings (defined as anything in excess of an hour).
• Rancid milk (the smell more than the taste)
What I Will Miss:
• My inner circle of friends and relatives (you know whom you are).
• Loving Dvora.
• People who compliment my writing. Actually, just people who are secure enough to say nice things about others.
• Scenic "eye candy", whether natural (like peak foliage in New England) or man-made (like the Manhattan skyline).
• Sad songs. (Yesterday; Fire and Rain; Streets of Laredo, etc.)
• The Wailing Wall. In fact, not just wailing, but all forms of crying. (Such is life for a romantic.)
• Parentheses (even though it drives my editor crazy when I use them…like now.)
• Taking care of patients and their families.
• Key lime pie.
• Local shops. The kind that make you feel like you still live in a neighborhood and implicitly reinforce the fact that you''re not just someone with an ID number on Amazon or an occupant of a house near a shopping mall. I''m especially talking about hardware stores with a seasoned carpenter behind the counter who can tell a clod like me what type of screwdriver is needed to fix my "whatsis."
• Noble disagreements. The type that are not agenda-laden but rather conducted by people who want to reach a workable truth. (In the Talmud, these arguments are referred to as "The disagreements of Hillel & Shamai")
• Competitive sports (playing and, nowadays - since I’m too old to play, watching).
OK, let’s see. What do my lists reveal about me? What are you learning about yourself from your lists?
Until next Monday, Shalom.