“I Collect Bad Wines…”

(Photo Credit: Greg Lam Pak Ng via Flickr)

Probably all or most of you have heard about the famous plane crash on the Hudson river in New York back in the winter of 2009. Clint Eastwood even made it into a pretty good movie, Sully.

If you have been living in a bubble and don’t know much about this incident, it basically is a worst nightmare scenario for anyone afraid of flying: Upon Flight 1549′s takeoff at New York’s La Guardia airport, both the plane’s engines sucked in flying birds and the plane lost its ability to generate lift. The steady captain was able to make a soft water landing right in the middle of the frozen Hudson, just narrowly avoiding a bridge and half of downtown Manhattan in the process.

The plane floated somewhat, but started taking on water as the flight crew quickly evacuated the passengers. And remember, this is January on the East Coast: the water was straight up ice- you can’t stay submerged in that for too long before hypothermia sets in.

Luckily, the Coast Guard and other passing boats quickly joined in to pick up the everyone off the plane and in the water. Everyone miraculously survived.

Then there’s this guy: Ric Elias. He was actually one of the passengers on this plane- right in the very first freaking row. Not many people get to survive a plane crash, so it’s worth hearing what he has to say about his experience…

Honestly, experiencing something like this would certainly would put me off of flying for a very long time. Fucking terrifying for all those involved. Although I love traveling, going down on a plane is not on my Top 10 list of ways to kick the bucket. Dropping into the drink, no thanks. In fact, I will confess to being a little anxious about flying because of this.

I mean, flying over the Atlantic with nowhere to land in either direction for hours? Yikes, I try not to think about it while I’m locked into a shaking metal tube for 8 hours. But ultimately, these small anxieties aren’t big enough to stop me from exploring new places. It’s always a sacrifice I’ll gladly make to go see some new, exotic corner of the world.

Anyway, back to our video: I used to sometimes use this as an ESL lesson for my students when I was a teacher in Brazil. Most of students were business people, so I tried to at least sneakily influence them by showing them this video about a Marketing CEO who almost died and how it changed his life- though he’s probably still a corporate drone.

I do love how now he describes himself as a Collector Of Bad Wines: “Cause if the wine is ready and the person is there- I’m opening it”

The three things he learned about in the talk are the following:

  1. It Can All Change In An Instant: “I no longer want to postpone anything in my life”. You never really know what’s around the corner for any us right?
  2. Wasted Time: “I regretted all the time I wasted on the things that did not matter with people that mattered”. This led to him trying his best to eliminate all negative energy from his life, whether it be a pointless fight with his wife or being upset over frivolous things.
  3. Try To Be The Best Parent That You Can Be: Well, I don’t have any kids yet. But either way, cherish and nurture the relations of the people around you that you love. ‘Nuff said…

I thought it was really interesting when he says that Dying Is Not Scary: “It’s almost like we’ve been preparing for it our whole lives”. In what he thought would be his final moments, more than anything else, he felt that it was just sad.

Ultimately though, Ric Elias really did receive the greatest blessing of all: a serious opportunity to contemplate all these important things, and then get a second lease on life. Not many of us will ever have that chance at an existential epiphany, so try to have one without nearly dying if at all possible.

If there’s one theme I try to emphasize on a regular basis here at Romantic Bohemian, it’s that Life Is To Be Cherished.

So, collect those cheap wines folks (or even the expensive one), and be ready to bust ’em open whenever the mood strikes you. No point hoarding them in your snobby wine cellar under your 6-Bedroom mansion hoping they go up in value someday.

We never really know what’s around the corner do we? Might as well enjoy some good cheer, do the things we really want to do in this life, pig out on pork rinds and ice cream, and then have some really good sex with the one you love. Because it can all change in an instant…

4 thoughts on ““I Collect Bad Wines…”

  1. That’s a very incisive TED talk! It contains lessons for us all. Cherish the family. Cut out the extraneous crap. And try to be a good parent (or son, Gregg!).
    One of your best yet.

    • Post Author Greg Goldblatt

      Thanks for the compliment, Paul! Yes, well, I do try to be a good kid to my parents- or at least I like to think I don’t put them through too much worry.

      The best line in the video for me was: “I regretted all the time I wasted on the things that did not matter with people that mattered”. I wonder in my own life how many stupid arguments I’ve dwelt on with people that mattered, only to forget it about 2 days later. Seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, yet can be such an unnecessary time waster and a drain on your energy.

  2. nice one greg. thanks for the gift of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *