Sunday, January 22, 2012

This week's Pep Talk: "Bucket List Bye Byes"

Anybody out there own a bucket list? Ya know, those dreams you want to make reality? For me a few things come immediately to mind: sing the national anthem at a sporting event; rent a motor home, tour the nation, attend important college football games and then write a book about the experience. Those are a few things at the top my list. There’s no list on a wall, or other reminder, but I think about each a lot and dream.

That dynamic duo had a third member until recently when hosting a comedy show was booted from the team. Thanks to a college buddy, turned outstanding comic, the team at Denver’s Improv Comedy and friends from many places, this simple dude from Missouri fulfilled that dream on, no kidding, Friday the 13th. Appropriate.

So many wonderful memories of a great night but one really sticks out: the thrill of introducing someone admired. Mark Cordes. Your humble correspondent, a few years back, went to Mizzou with this amazing guy. What we remember of it, brings smiles to our faces. Rival fraternities but kindred spirits. The Kansas City native is a great guy and one funny dude. He put fear aside and 23 years ago, said adios to the corporate world and allowed wonderment to win in chasing a comedic career. Good for him and us. He’s talented. Hall of fame comic Robin Williams came backstage recently and told the avid golfer, “You’re good.” For me that would be like, I dunno, Norman Vincent Peale sitting in the front row and nodding approvingly to a Pep Talk? A validation of effort from a master of your craft? Strong. Powerful.

I had the thrill of exalting this brother from another mother to a large and appreciative crowd. The pride of Truman High School is three years my senior. The times we shared in school where usually centered around two things: sports and parties. He’s real big on people, in healthy and productive ways, getting out and having some fun. As smart as he is funny, the buddy with a beloved wife, likes to joke, when talking about having a little fun in life and its importance, of this truth: “None of us is getting out of here alive.” Amen to that brother.

We had a blast doing the show. I learned a lot too. Cordes and his fellow Improv cohort Gary Menke taught me a few things about their world and had the crowd chuckling all night long. A bucket list-clearing moment for which, I’m grateful and blessed. However, at this time, cranium remains focused on the importance of fun. I think it should be a priority. We all know life has those unwanted and unexpected twists and turns that leave us wondering, “What the heck is going on around here?” But, despite that truth, try, when possible, to have a little fun. Make it a priority. However, here’s where it gets tricky. A priority of having fun must coexist with honoring, nurturing and adding value to communities we serve, right?

Priorities. Defined in Oxford American Dictionary as “something more important than other considerations.” Having the chance to boot the bucket, exalt a buddy and be reminded of the joy it brings takes us to this: Priorities. Where are ours right now? Is there any venue - home, work or elsewhere - where there’s room for priority improvement?

I’ve been called a lot of things in life, smart rarely is one of them but it seems to me that the better we handle life’s important priorities, wherever we roam, the greater the chance for stuff like love, joy and fun to flourish.

We’ve heard that phrase, “Good things come in threes” right? Well, give me that terrific trio of love, joy and fun anytime and anyplace. Hey, let’s be honest, life doesn’t work that way, we know that, right? But when love, joy and fun come together it’s memorable and warms the marrow. Sow the seeds for such moments this week by handling priorities. Who knows, something on your bucket list might say bye-bye too. Good luck!

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