Terry Marotta: Lessons from the famous

Terry Marotta

We had a day last week that was just rife with celebrity milestones.

Actor Tom Cruise, humor writer Dave Barry, musician Jim Morrison: on July 3, many people were sending their thoughts in the direction of these three men.

Each one offers us a lesson.

Take Tom Cruise, currently getting ground down to a fine powder by the gossip mill following this latest news about his split from Katie Holmes.

Recalling how he capered on the set of Oprah when first describing his love for the then-28-year-old, you have to wonder if his is a cautionary tale, some sort of lesson to us all about what happens to you when you jump on other people’s couches.

Probably it isn’t. When Andrew Jackson arrived in D.C. for his inauguration as our seventh president, his rough-around-the edges fans pushed their way right into the White House and stood on all his couches. The butler probably fainted but everyone else seemed to take it as mere high spirits.

Tom models a nice kind of hope in my book. Make another movie! Do your own stunts in it! Always be ready to begin again, and bring your enthusiasm when you do!

It’s a good prescription for living.

Dave Barry also has a good prescription for living that goes down all the easier, suspended as it is in the sweet syrup of humor.

He makes us laugh.

He says out loud what most people only think, as when he suggests a man can easily convince his wife he has done the vacuuming if he but drags a rectangular block of wood back and forth on the rug a couple of times to create the sweeping swath marks we associate with that task.

Or when he describes your dentist cheerily chattering even as he drills your whole head down to something the size of a walnut.

Sometimes he talks about things we really need to hear, as when he spoke of the colonoscopy he long dreaded undergoing since, as he wrote, the thought of having another human, “even a medical human” becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as the “’behindular zone’ gave [him] the willies.” He says he get woozy during “even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone."

And yet he dialed that phone.

And yet he showed up for that appointment as he knew he needed to. And he kept himself safe from the colon cancer that had already stalked and found his brother Sam.

Here’s to you Dave!

And here’s to Jim Morrison, too, who is neither gathering courage to begin again nor facing scary thoughts.

Jim is mostly gathering flowers and litter on his grave in the cemetery Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. 

A handsomer youth you could not name, or, some say, a more talented one

He and his band The Doors made some great and inventive music in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s before we really knew how harmful drugs can be.

I remember what we thought. We thought drugs were safer than alcohol, a milder, more cerebral Age of Aquarius kind of aid in expanding one’s consciousness.

Of course we can’t know what Jim is conscious of now, because the dead don’t keep in touch. “Not even a postcard!” as my ancient Great Aunt Mame used to splutter when she thought of her own many dear departed.

So Jim is where he is, as Tom and Dave Barry are where they are.

And you, dear reader, are right here, reading this column. I'll stop now and you go outside now and play.

Write Terry at terrymarotta@verizon.net or P.O. Box 270, Winchester, MA 01890, or on her blog Exit Only at www.terrymarotta.wordpress.com where fresh stories appear almost daily.