Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Anton Ego's order

It seems impossible these days to keep track of all the bad news swirling around us. If it's not a discussion about another company laying off employees, it's a headline story of a failed insurance giant who is paying exorbitant "retention" bonuses to employees who no longer work for the firm. In college I had the chance to read Samuel Beckett's, Waiting for Godot, and never before have I felt that I/we are actors in that "theatre of the absurd". In the midst of this swirling "absurdity", it's easy to lose track of what's important, what's good, what's true. In a recent moment of "swirl", my mind was brought back to that sage of truth... Anton Ego. For those not familiar, Anton Ego is a marvelous character from the Disney*Pixar film Ratatouille. It was a scene towards the end of the film that triggered my memory when Anton comes to the restaurant to sample the food and write his review:

French overstuffed waiter approaches the table:

Waiter: "Do you know what you would like this evening sir?"

Anton Ego:"Yes, I think I do... after reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, do you know what I am craving...?

Waiter: looking on overwhelmed (like many of us these days!)

Anton Ego: " a little perspective. that's it (closes menu) , I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?"

While I have never had the chance to try the 1947 vintage of Cheval Blanc ( the wine mentioned in the film) I am certain that almost any wine would go beautifully with an order of "fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective"!

We get so focused on what we don't have or what we have lost (our 401k's seem to be a natural starting place) that we forget to remember how much we do have. I think I have my statistics right when I say that over 1 billion people on our planet (of a total of a bit more than 6 billion) live on $1.00/day or less. We need to try to remember how fortunate we are to:
have a home,
have food on our families tables,
have an education,......

I am not trying to say that things aren't tough and for those without work, it can be a very scary time. What I am trying to suggest is that we all need to take a big breadth and try to keep it all in perspective.

This past weekend, my ten year old son Bryson as a member of his school's chess team,competed in the state chess tournament. On the ride home, I heard his voice say from the backseat..." we're the 5th best chess team in the state... and that's saying alot!" I am certainly proud of Bryson and his team for coming in 5th in the tournament. What was so refreshing about his comment was that he wasn't focused on the four teams ahead of his team. He was "in the moment", proud of what he and his team had accomplished. For me, an order of "fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective"!

From whatever source you can find, whether a character in a movie, a child in the backseat, or any other fountain of inspiration, try to find your order of" fresh,clear, well seasoned perspective" every day


  1. Bill-

    Thnks for sharing your blog with me. I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to more. It is easy to forget what is really important in life with all that is going on around us these days. The lessons and footprints we leave behind and fingerprints and memories on people's lives are what really matters. It has been a while since I have seen you. I hope you are well and still would like to share that bottle of wine and our pub with you sometime. LMK, when you are available one night.
    Hal Boyd

  2. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for letting me know of your blog! I love how you are being directed to what has always been a talent and passion of yours, teaching in a story telling way. Your "fresh perspective" is refreshing and put a smile on my face. I look forward to more of your writings. I hope to see you soon (more than just a drive-by in the hood).

    Your friend,