The One Thing

You may or may not remember the movie City Slickers with Billy Crystal. He plays a – wait for it – city slicker from Manhattan who goes on a cattle drive with a couple friends. He manages to discover saddle sores, deliver a calf, and learn some about life. One great bit of casting was Jack Palance as an old crusty cowboy named Curly. In one scene, he tells Billy Crystal’s character that there’s One Thing he needs to know in order to live a full and content life – but that he needs to figure it out for himself. That secret really shouldn’t be that hard to figure out, but it is for some.

In 2001, the company I was working for had a week-long sales kickoff meeting. On the program was Beck Weathers who was on a failed mission to summit Everest in 1996. I’m pretty sure that he was meant as an inspirational speaker but it came off quite the opposite. He was a middle aged guy on a mission to prove himself and take on Everest. Many many things went wrong on the way to the top which were mostly brought on by a major storm. Many people on the expedition died, the conditions and the RK performed on his eyes left him blinded, and he may be most famous for having had a nose regrown on his forehead to replace his original which had gotten frostbite. His entire rendition left me thinking that he was pursuing the wrong One Thing. He finally realized that when he was lost and expecting to die on the mountain – everything he needed to search for, he’d left behind to climb.

The One Thing which should seem painfully obvious is great people to fill your life with. The last week has been one of those where the One Thing has been more apparent to me than it usually is. My brother and mother have been working with me as the three of us cope with my father’s dementia. My wife has shown that she’s an incredibly giving person who will aggressively do the right thing. My best friends have been there for me whenever and however needed (including that torn mountain bike tire). My kids remain my kids and do the goofy, serious, and smart things which make us a family.

The One Thing
Here it is – The Secret to Life

We can all seem a little lost at times. I think it’s more easy to feel lost when there’s struggles you’re trying to take on solo without the support of great family and friends. It doesn’t make the bad things go away, but it makes them manageable. It also adds to the good times and makes more good times into great times. There you have it, the most complex piece of knowledge is actually pretty darn simple when you boil it down.


6 thoughts on “The One Thing

  1. My mother, Eric and Hal’s grandmother, once told me that all the clothes in the world wouldn’t make you happy. That’s coming from someone who could outdo Imelda Marcos any day, and with better taste and style!
    What she meant was what Eric said: family and friends will see you through the good times and the rough ones. Eric has written about the road we’re traveling with his father. What he hasn’t explained is the tole it’s taken on all of us. I know that I couldn’t have made it without my sons and their wisdom and willingness to be involved, and their wives, no matter how painful. My friends, including one from childhood and several from outside Atlanta, have stood by me. You can’t put a dress on that, or buy it at Saks. You can be thankful and treasure it and wrap yourself in it. Most of all, you can give back to those people if and when they need it, and you know they will some day.


    1. Well said. If there’s anything good coming out of it, it’s that we’re learning more about ourselves and who we are. So far, it’s been one hard task after another and we’ve been there for each other.
      I know your close friends have been priceless.


    1. I have a terrific support network. I’m very thankful for them. The more you surround yourself with quality people, the better person you are.
      That’s got to be extremely tough on you. The blog is a great idea to get the thoughts out of your head. I find writing helps me turn the corner on things which start gnawing at me.
      You still need you time and time with your husband to be healthy. I hope you’re finding creative ways to get that done!


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