9 months ago, my wife and I left Florida for Nice, France, where we stayed for 10 days at a small but pleasant Airbnb apt on Rue Rossini. Sometimes we would stroll in the evening to the Promenade des Anglais, sit on the beach, and watch the unending stream of jets coming in from the East.
They would circle in low over Rabba Capeo, which is the promontory that separates Nice’s port from the main beach. We would sit for a long time watching these planes flying overhead, as they brought people from Turkey and Lebanon and who knows where else to a better life, even if just temporarily.
I loved sitting by the Mediterranean with my wife, because that is the sea where I spent my childhood, and remain deeply attracted to it to this day. The problem is, so does half the planet, including otiose Arab playboys and dodgy Russian and Italian gangsters, as well as many other types of undesirables — as Noel Coward once said, the Côte d’Azur is nothing if not a sunny place for shady people.
Like many people around the world, I watched the Royal Wedding yesterday, and of course saw George Clooney looking dapper in his morning grey suit, with his Lebanese wife Amal as regal as the assembled members of the House of Windsor — whose numbers may soon be augmented by royal quadroons — in her goldenrod yellow Stella McCartney midi dress and bird cage fascinator.
My wife and I went to Windsor Castle in the late 90s, but despite this were not invited to the Royal Wedding, unlike all the beautiful and no so beautiful people in attendance, most of whom where probably taken aback at the ululations — known as zaghrata in Arabic — that filled this most English of air, on a postcard perfect day, as the golden couple emerged from St. George’s Chapel.
My wife favored the pink one
No worries: Ocean’s 11 is currently playing on cable in South Florida, but alas, there are no movies of my wife and I being broadcast on Comcast: there’s just the crappy MP4 Internet vid you see that I took on the stony beach in Nice almost a year ago.
No doubt after partying with Elton et al. at some glittery upper crust peerage estate, the Clooneys are already in their Xanadu in Sonning, recharging post an exhausting weekend. Funny, but my wife and I decided not to purchase digs in the English countryside this year, and instead contented ourselves with being trapped in a falling apart, poorly built CBS faux Mediterranean semi attached shithole, in a nasty little gated community that’s mostly full of geezer racists.
90 per cent of the world live the way my wife and I do, or much worse, while the rest lead a life that is filled with homes in the South of France, gold plated health insurance plans, ample bullet proof retirement funds, and kids who are already set up to be members of the permanent, indestructible global upper class.
And if you’re actually reading this post, you most likely don’t belong to that elite club, and never will. You are like me. A zero.
Yet if you’re still young enough, you may still believe in the American dream, and — much more importantly — are willing to engage in the kind of ruthless backstabbing acts that (with a little luck) it takes to become someone important in this world.
But if you are my age, I hope for your sake that you have a nice little garden, no matter how small, that you can put put around like some doddering moron, before you shuffle off to church on Sundays, to pray at the altar of some supernatural being, petitioning Him that your coming demise shall be as painless as possible, and that you escape complete physical degradation, as your body and mind fall apart.
So, faced with the unappetizing prospect of grinding through a decade or more with the unpleasant reality that you were never smart or fortunate enough to make it to The Big Dance, you think: what is it that I can do to spare myself the humiliation of meaningless old age? Absent billions to idly give away, a la Gates, what do you do with yourself? How does your life continue to have a point, other than taking up space? And what happens when your mind begins to falter, as it surely will one day, and you no longer trust it to save you from the circling sharks?
Well, unless you are like George, who essentially is no longer an actor but a guy who made his Fuck You money off banking a Tequila company that parlayed his fame and glitzy image, you are pretty much doomed once you get to the retire/expire thing.
Like most, you will be condemned to a life of increasing solitude and irrelevance, the one where no one calls you any more, the one where the world passes you by, without really giving a fuck.
But isn’t there another way to close out your run? Does retire always have to equal expire?
Because if you listened closely — as I did — to Bishop Curry’s inspiring sermon at Harry and Meghan’s wedding, you would have realized that it’s really all about the “redemptive power of love.” Love power? Where have I heard that before? Oh I know.
So that’s the takeaway from this lovely and much anticipated wedding: a highlight number from a Mel Brooks farce from half a century ago.
Now you can allow yourself the bitterly dismissive laugh of the Man who never became George Clooney.
But that would be small and unattractive.
Just look at the video up top once again, and remember, there’s a seat on a plane going somewhere that’s waiting just for you.
All you have to do is chuck your old meaningless life in the dustbin and book the damn ticket, come what may.
Yes, you can spend the rest of your existence feeling sorry for yourself in trigger-happy, insanely angry America, or you can chill like Clooney himself in, say, Thailand. and live in a Paradise on two grand American a month, or less — providing you don’t mind that 1 out of 10 dogs there have rabies; the junta; the impossibility of buying weed without risking the clinker; the long monsoon season; the monkeys that roam the island beaches; and of course the whole Muslim separatist thing going on in the South, complete with drive-by shootings.
The choice is yours!