The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 46 – Lifework: Making a Life Work and a Life’s Work
April 17, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You talked about how people of destiny can create their own destiny. People can choose to become people of destiny. I don’t know if this is a legit thing. I think this ties very nicely into the ideas of even Einstein, in the last years of his life, having a legitimate lifework and failing, falling flat on his face.
Rick Rosner: Did I say that?
Jacobsen: I said the last part.
Rosner: There’s something to get into this before delving into this, which is this: L.B. Johnson was an interesting president. His biographer has written two, three, or four volumes on his life totalling, probably, 2,000 published pages about L.B.J., which I haven’t read.
Except as an anecdote, as a power move, he would go to the bathroom in front of people.
Rosner: He’s like, “Here’s how much I don’t care about anything.” He’d be taking a piss or a shit as president with the door open talking to Sam Rayburn or something. He was also the president to install three TVs in the Oval Office to see what was happening on the three broadcast networks.
When asked about his appendectomy, with reporters, he lifted his shirt and showed his scar on his stomach. He picked up his beagle by its ears for the reporters, which appalled some people. A very politically astute guy who did the almost impossible thing accomplished by getting the Great Society legislation passed on a very racist time.
But I know almost nothing about him, because more than 2,000 pages exist on him. If you read them, then you might know more about L.B.J. I don’t think I’ve ever read a complete biography on Einstein. I think I know some stuff about him.
I think I know some stuff about Newton. He was asexual, was a virgin, was a mean guy, very committed to taking vengeance against his enemies. He spent as much time decoding the Bible as he did on physics and math.
All that being said, these are just anecdotes. I am not qualified to speak about any of these people, because I only know anecdotes, which, probably, give no indication as to the real person. So when you ask about a lifework, I am not qualified to speak about anybody.
Because who have I read a 2,000 biography about? Perhaps, maybe, Elvis, on a quiz show, I was the expert on Elvis. I read 11 or 12 biographical books on him. Einstein, apparently, he was careful at selling his image, playing to his image.
If at a fancy dinner, he would say, “I’m not wearing socks, because I’m so Einstein-y.” He didn’t say the second part. He knew what his image was and was a very smart guy. I don’t know if he pursued a life’s work. He may have pursued things that appealed to his sense of curiosity.
Relativity started with him as a kid, apparently, asking, “What would it be like if you could right on a particle of light? What would the world be like?” Maybe, he spent 35 or 30 years of his life – decades – trying to come up with a Unified Field Theory.
He did the theoretical work behind lasers. I don’t know if he felt this thwarted emptiness of a Unified Field or if woke up and said, “I want to think about this stuff today,” or if he went to bed. I don’t know. Newton, I don’t know if he had a life’s work and had these problems, which attracted him. Then he published on them.
I don’t know if his life’s work was fucking over his enemies. I think he is the one who invented the grooves on the sides of a coin because that was supposed to stop people from filing down the edges of coins, which were made out of precious metals at the time.
Because if there were patterns in the edges of the coins, it made it hard to file this precious metal out. Picasso who was this great revolutionary, but, apparently, he liked to bang lots of young women. Again, I don’t know that. I just heard that.
So, the whole life’s work question is one that few people are qualified to answer about anybody. There’s the whole issue of whether we’re the same person from day-to-day and month-to-month. I’m not the same person from month to month.
Some months, I am content to repair micro-mosaics and work out a lot and beat off to fall asleep. Other months, I am frustrated with wasting my life. I try to do better work. Those two people are somewhat different. So, there you go.
I mean, maybe, probably, it’s up to experts in the life of a person to determine whether that person had a life’s work. There’s the artist. I don’t remember the name at all, who made shadow boxes. Some New Englander guy who would fill boxes with nooks, subdivided boxes where he placed objects, strange assortment of objects, until the assortment pleased him enough.
He left behind a lot of boxes. Would that guy say, “Making these boxes was my life work.” No, he would say, “These boxes were my just dicking around. It was interesting to me.” It took somebody else coming around saying, “Look at these boxes made by this guy in their uniqueness and eccentricity. The boxes were from this guy. They were this guy’s life’s work.”
I don’t know if he would agree. Even Shakespeare, I don’t know if he was trying to leave behind bunch of immortal works. He was trying to make a bunch of money for his theatre. One more thing, sorry, your life does construct a mental landscape for you, which means that stimuli, when you’re hit with stimuli, from both the outside and the contents of your own mind; those stimuli will be processed through the flow over your mental landscape.
Then you’ll do stuff in reaction to those stimuli. Those reactions are branded. They’re uniquely yours. To some extent, our reactions, creative and otherwise, are our life’s work. We spend our lives building, inadvertently, our mental landscapes.
Then in some people, they become famous for the products of those landscapes and their reactions. You could probably make an argument that Churchill – it’s not right to call it a life’s work, not zeitgeist, so not “spirit of the time” but the “spirit of the person”; the shit the person did that was their brand.
For Churchill, the top ten things people know about him is he sat down with some stuffy lady at dinner. She says, “You’re drunk.” He says, “Yes, but in the morning, I shall be sober. But tomorrow, you will still be ugly.”
It was a quintessentially Churchill thing. He was cranky. He made his blood, sweat, and tears speech. He inspired the UK to persevere through the bombing of London. He struggled with depression and was shitfaced a lot of the time.
It is rather than a life’s work, a brand, or some fancy German term that works the same as zeitgeist.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
(Updated July 25, 2019)
*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*
According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, Rick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher Harding, Jason Betts, Paul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.
He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmys, The Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.
Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.
Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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