Monday, January 25, 2010

Conan's Rejection of Cynicism

Image: Clay Larsen.

I didn't watch it live, but I did see a tape of Conan's final farewell message on Friday night.

I've been proud to call myself a cynic for most of my life. It felt good knowing that there was no use believing in anything, and that only suckers assumed the best intentions on the part of others.

But recently I've gone through a re-evaluation. A crisis, you might say. A crisis that is occurring in the middle of my, uh, what is it, oh yeah, life. That kind of crisis.

My priorities are going under a radical re-shuffling. In short, I am chucking cynicism over the side and focusing on all the good things in life. And boy do I have a lot of them. More on that later.

So even though Conan addressed his message to the "young people," I was highly primed to hear him when he said that he "hates" cynicism. And that it's his "least favorite quality." And he's right: Nothing turns out the way you think it's going to. But if you work hard and be kind, amazing things will happen to you. Or at least, relatively amazing things.

Can I just brag a little bit and say that Helen and I saw Conan in a Brookline (his hometown) deli on Easter Sunday morning about 12 or 13 years ago. He was there eating brunch with someone. Nobody bothered him, though he is impossible to miss. As he left, the deli owner did go shake his hand. Who knows, he had probably been going there since he was a kid.

This also seems like a good time to re-link to my favorite all-time Conan video, on old-time baseball re-enactors (something I myself participated in, as one of the "cuckoo" fans, back in 2005). Imagine my delight, when on the final episode of his original, New York show, he announced that this was also his favorite video. Wow. I still get chills thinking about it.

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