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Hi Avery,

Today’s lesson is for the both of us, and together were going to learn from Steven Spielberg and his 1975 classic thriller, “Jaws”.

Before you get out of the water and close this blog for the summer, I must remind you that this is only a lesson, not some misguided encouragement to spoil the holy grail of the summer blockbuster. So get aboard this ship because:

“I have a bigger boat”

Jaws is considered one of the greatest cinematic thrillers ever made, and is regarded with a love from multiple generations and cultures of movie-goers. But there is a story about the making of this film that has resonated with my philosophical ideals of parenthood.

Avery, I day-dream about the many ways I will achieve the status “worlds greatest Dad”, and I don’t mean some $5 coffee mug people buy as a cute father’s day gift. This is an actual award to be presented in my honor & likeness and commemorate the greatest Father of the year. As genuine and naive as this goal may be, it has also left me conflicted. I have began to wonder if being the best is actually for the best?

Spielberg arrived on location with his screenplay, storyboards and actors ready to craft Hollywood magic. Also in tow was three different pneumatic Sharks controlled by a dozen special effect experts. Spielberg was ready to make audiences around the world be afraid to swim in open-water. I’ll never forget being at the beach and telling my younger sister, “Yes, a shark just like jaws lives in Lake Michigan”.

Avery, I wonder what your grand-parents would think if they could re-wind time and raise me again? Who would I be today if they were to reboot the process of my creation and right all their wrongs? Whatever their thought or reaction to this question may be, I want to take a moment and expunge them of their failures. Because in hindsight I turned out … alright. I have a steady job, a great life-partner and a strong passion for art & adventure; this was not magic or luck that I have learned to thrive in my environment. This leaves us with the key question of the lesson still unanswered, “is much of my current day success attributed to failure as well as successes?”.

Steven Spielberg has answered this question for us. The mechanical shark failed, and Spielberg had to shoot a movie about a shark, without a shark. Nearly every scene in the first half of the film had to be gutted and re-written on location. Everybody involved had to wonder if they were witnessing one of the greatest Hollywood train-wrecks ever. Let’s just assume Spielberg shared their doubts; but the money had already been spent and there was no way out. The wheels of life had been set in motion and a movie would be made for better or worse. Spielberg did his best to adapt on the fly, and judge for yourself, here is a scene that had no Shark.





Avery, live your life like the artist that accepts failure as a companion for success and not the threat. Spielberg did this, my parents did it, and Avery I promise to do the same for you. We only have one life to live, regret is a fantasy for the living, and a Jaws remake would suck.





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Hi Avery,

I recently read the famous novella by Ernest Hemingway “The Old Man and the Sea”, it is an honest examination of the meaning of life. That being the struggle against death. This ride your heart beat is taking you on, is leading to eventual defeat, that nobody can win.

Your mind is fishing for life and its caught your body. A vehicle that starts out as a beacon of freedom, resilience, growth, and a feeling of limitless capabilities, will only last as long as it takes you to figure how to use it, by that time, the peak of its performance will be looking at you in the rear view mirror, with an unavoidable collision in front of you.


This is what I will look like to you

Just the other day, I was walking across a street and my foot tripped on a pot-hole. I was enjoying my music, and a beautiful Chicago morning then, bang!

                                        

That was an unjust quick version of the story, to really appreciate the significance of this blunder, I will break it down for you play by play. First, a single foot clips the edge of a pothole. My mind enters a slow motion panic, I can feel my senses heighten, my heart rate increase and my brain sub-consciously screams “Red-alert, were going down, prepare for impact!”.
                                                     
Second, I struggle to not fall. My momentum carries me through three long steps acting as a fleeting  attempt to prevent the crash. This effort has only increased my velocity, and will result in further damage.

Third, I crash. The impact was powerful, I  had enough velocity to carry my momentum into an over-the-shoulder tuck and roll. It was not a moment of graceful gymnastics, it was a crushing display of physics, where soft-tissue weight and bone density is multiplied by gravity and says hello to a surface of asphalt.

Finally, the aftermath. I get up quick, too quick. I do not check for injuries, instead I continue walking in the exact path I had been hurled off of. Except, I was not the same person as I was before impact. My extremities twitched uncontrollably and felt unnaturally light. I could feel my nerve endings scan for pain, a pain that adrenaline would be hiding. My heart worked double time, and my brain felt disconnected from all things non-survival related. A new destination was safety and rest for my aging body to reconnect itself with the comfort of survival.

Were trapped Avery, we depend on a vessel that exists in a world of rules. These rules will catch up to you, and you will lose. I knew that day, I was closer to death, than I was to life. The mathematics of average life expectancy are severely irrelevant,  I felt my body truly struggle with the fear of death. It was simple and primal, but it scared me, and launched me into a deeper understanding of the reality of demise. This is a warning, because this moment arrived quickly for me, as I clung to an idea of youth, but it is officially just that, an idea. The end is always near, and every molecule of our body feels it, but every part of society will tell you to ignore it.

Like all parents, I hope I die first.

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