Tuesday, March 08, 2005

If you have a choice, never have a job

Number 2 from Milton Glaser's speech to the AIGA Voice Conference in 2002. "10 things I have learned"

One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology.

While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask ‘Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?’

An irritated voice said ‘Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?’ I recognised the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was – the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times.

‘You know, I do know how to prepare for old age’ he said. ‘Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceeding well prepared for my old age’ he said.
All of Glaser's points are good ones (I also like "Good is the Enemy of the Great" a lot), but, for obvious reasons if you know my story, that's my favorite. My goal is to be doing the same thing at age 75 that I'm doing at age 52, and have been doing for the past 2 1/2-odd years... wake up each morning and think "how am I going to put bread on the table today?"

There are much worse ways to live.

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