Listening More

By Jason Tudor

Erma Bombeck once famously said, "If I had my life to do over, I would have talked less and listened more." So, who am I to get in the way of her brilliance or my own sheer, purposeful laziness?

I've decided to shut my yap and allow friends and colleagues to dispense wisdom just eight days past Ms. Bombeck's birthday. I get out of penning an actual column. You get useful tidbits you can cut out and stick on your monitor. Win-win.

As a bonus, I've also made you meme-able graphics made up of my friends' and colleagues' wisdom. As the Internet kids say, spread them like a virus! That said, on this bonus day of 2012, let's leap and listen:

From my father, advice from his father: "Always be honest with yourself and others, no matter if it hurts. I started in high school and I still do it today. My real friends know I am a man of my word and with that comes respect from those that really know you."

From my friend John, whose news editing work is seen by about 4 million people each day. He also makes great chili. Source unknown: "There will be a last time this child will look at you as if you hung the moon or will crawl into your lap and ask you to read a story you’ve read to him 500 times. You’ll be somewhere, sometime, and realize how long it’s been since you lifted her up on your shoulders so she could get a better view, and that it will never happen again. Someday he’ll go to bed on his own and you’ll never again hear his prayers or tuck him in. No matter how routine these rituals become, make sure you savor them every time, because no one is going to tap you on the shoulder and say, 'This is the last time for this, so remember how it feels.'"

From my friend Frank, who works in politics in Alaska and taught me something about inner strength, from his grandfather: "'Find something you love to do, and then find a way to make them pay you to do it. Happiness is more important than success. To be happy, always remember why you’re doing the thing – because you love it, not because you’re getting paid for it.' It’s definitely the best advice I ever got."

From my friend Tiny, who loves a good science fiction convention as much as I do and is a former member of the British Army Parachute Regiment, from his father: "He said, 'Learn something new every day, because if you don't, you're dead!' I continue to adhere to this, and try to improve myself."

From my best friend Michael, vice president for a telecommunications company and my co-host for "The Science Fiction Show," from his mother, father and Walt Disney: "'Keep moving forward.' The diligent application of this advice will not always guarantee that every day of my life will be filled with unicorns, rainbows or butterflies, but that’s okay. I know that I will never be given more than I can handle, no matter how trying or satisfying a situation may become."

And finally, from my friend Val, a brilliant painter and a former boss, from her Mom: "She said, 'There is something beautiful about everyone.' I'm sure she told me this because I was a super geeky kid with buck teeth and thick glasses, but it is true and it has always stuck with me. It taught me early on to never judge anyone based on how they look and to appreciate the beauty in everyone."

Jason Tudor's short story, "The Lives Madga Made" will be published in the anthology "No Rest for the Wicked" in May. He's also the creator of "Tales of the Gunfighter Hollis Brown" available from iBooks and Lulu.com. He is the creator and co-host "The Science Fiction Show," a weekly podcast available on iTunes. For more, visit www.jasontudor.com.


  1. Jason, this is terrific and so timely! I especially relate to the second one. My former mother in law told me to make recordings of my babies' cries when they were newborns, because one day they would sound different and it would happen when I wasn't looking. I did, she was right, and I am so thankful. This is a good reminder that the last time for anything could very well be today. :-)

  2. Number 2 also hit home because when I read it I was suddenly back in the emergency room 2+ years ago signing DNR orders on my husband. While we were waiting to see if he would pull through, someone asked me how I was coping. I told her, "We parted well. If this is really the end, I'll always have that." These days it is number 5 that keeps me sane. As always Jason, you're the best.

  3. I love this Jason. I plan to spread it around and will keep it in mind as I go about my days.

  4. The baby hand picture is killing me. I think about that "Last Time" thing a lot. Especially now that my kids are teetering on the edge of Grown and Gone.


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