To care or not to care

There comes a point in one’s life when one cares less and less about things that don’t matter. To say one is past caring sounds like defeatism but it’s not really.

It just means you know what you care about and couldn’t give a stuff about anything else.

When Jerry Seinfeld was in town a couple of months ago he talked about the fact that now that he is in his 60s he cares little about what people think. And because of that he feels free to speak his mind more freely and to be frank and honest.

An example he gave was: he’s in a restaurant and he has just finished his meal and the waiter asks if he enjoyed it.

“Not really,” Jerry will say. “It really wasn’t very good.”

That’s liberating right? Or is it just plain rude?

Phil Brown - author
Phil Brown. Photo Ric Frearson

Maybe a bit of both but Seinfeld didn’t appear to be worried about that. Personally, I’m with him and the older I get, the more honest I am about my likes and dislikes.

And I’m not afraid to let people know about that, much to the chagrin of my wife and son who don’t always appreciate how candid I can be in public places.

One thing I refuse to do nowadays in this more uninhibited stage of my life is to read a book that is longer than 400 pages. I simply won’t do it.

Someone attempted to convince me to read a Booker Prize winner that was in that category a little while back, telling me how wonderful it was but nope, I simply refused.

One of my colleagues, when confronted with a doorstop of a book recently, set it aside saying, “Life’s too short.” I respect that.

There are only so many books that I will read between now and when I am pushing up daisies and they will all have to have a certain brevity.

And if I start a book now and I don’t like it by about 15 pages in, I ditch it and cut my losses. I see people soldiering on with books they hate because they have to finish them which is a kind of masochism really.

Also, if people ask me to go somewhere and I don’t want to go, I simply say so.

People sometimes phone and ask me if I’d be interested in some event and I will reply, “No, I am not interested.”

I can’t say it any plainer than that, can I?

There’s usually an awkward silence afterwards but what the hell.

If a show is terrible I will leave at interval, if someone irks me I will simply steer clear of them … you’re getting the picture?

I guess you could say that I am past caring but it’s not that really.

It’s just that we have a finite amount of time available on this planet and in that time I simply won’t do what I don’t want to do.

And you can’t make me, so there.

Arts Editor – The Courier-Mail

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