As I was listening to NPR on my way into work today, the Morning Edition host announced the death of Nora Ephron, the famous screenwriter and director, probably best known for the fabulous movie “When Harry Met Sally.”
During the newscast, an excerpt was played from an interview that Renee Montagne did of Ephron in 2010. In the interview, Ephron talked about playing the game “What Would Your Last Meal Be?” Ephron noted that her last meal would be a Nate & Al’s hotdog. Recalling her friend, Judy, who was dying of throat cancer and couldn’t even have her last meal, Ephron said “And that’s what you have to know, is, if you’re serious about it, have it now. Have it tonight, have it all the time, so that when you’re lying on your deathbed, you’re not thinking, oh, I should have had more Nate & Al’s hot dogs.”
Since turning forty, I have started having some nagging concerns about whether there is enough time left in my life to do all of the things that I want to do. Ephron’s comments caused me to mute the radio and contemplate her words for the remainder of the drive into the office.
Is Ephron right? Is the answer really just to figure out what I love doing “so that you can do a great deal of it”? At first blush this sounds like awfully good advice. But, is finding happiness really that simple?
I know that I love italian cream cake, especially if it comes from That Special Touch Bakery in Pearl, Mississippi. But, part of what makes eating italian cream cake so enjoyable is that it is a very special treat. If I ate it every day, in addition to weighing 200lbs, the enjoyment of eating it would quickly vanish. Aren’t most things like italian cream cake? They lose their luster the longer you have them or the more of them that you have.
The only thing that I have found in life that can be different is a relationship, at least a good one. An old friendship gets better with age. A good marriage grows as each year passes. As your child becomes an adult, your relationship changes from that of a parent/child to that of a friend and confidant.
Perhaps my goal should not be to merely eat more Nate & Al’s hot dogs, but rather to find people I love to join me in eating more Nate & Al’s hot dogs. Even though I really don’t like hot dogs, I think that might just be my perfect last meal.