Yesterday, while focusing on religion touched on the topic of space exploration. A year prior to David Bowie’s release Space Oddity in 1969, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was released. It’s story sought to explain that there must be some advanced knowledge which has at critical thresholds – i.e. boundaries –  in the development of mankind has provided an assist.

Notwithstanding that assist, mankind’s over reliance on rational thought proved deadly in the mission which the two astronauts – and their space ship – were aiming at accomplishing. Essentially, there was no “Kill Hal” switch worked into the space ship’s mechanisms to provided needed relief when Hal’s functioning was clearly out of bounds.

Today – on my father Walter Marshall Zierman’s 76th birthday – I post out an article rejected for the King County Bar Associations March Bar Bulletin for the topic of Force.  Notwithstanding, I want to put this out into “space.”


— Force Yourself to Consider the End Game —


By Robert WM Zierman


This year’s Super Bowl had quite likely the most forceful and yet arresting advertisement of all time. In this advert, [1] sitting just shy of catatonic in his I Dream of Jeanie-esque home, filled with glory days gone by memorabilia, is an astronautical “commander.” Both his dispassion and his visage remind one of the penultimate scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.


He doesn’t alter his stare when his house assistant removes his tray of uneaten chicken, mashed potatoes, cubed carrots and peas. Neither does his trance alter as his son low roars up onto the drive nor the next frame which cuts to the inquiry: “Is he eating?” A question simply answered: “Nope.” [2]


However, he does slightly raise his head when his son says softly: “OK commander, come with me.”

They languidly pace together to the son’s sports car as the strum of a mic’d acoustic guitar begins. Son passes his key to Dad – the “Commander.”


And then it happens!


Blasting off to the sound of the late, incredibly great David Bowie’s [or perhaps better – Ziggy Stardust’s]  Starman … he’s alive again. Not to go unnoticed, this is one moon shot he shares with his son.


The 60 minute spot might not say it all … but it comes damn close. The father led the ultimate life of Icarus. Almost certainly he put everything into his career. This garnered not “a” but instead “the” most unique experience imaginable. This certainly was an experience which played out triumphally on a world stage. So, how do you beat that?


Even if you go in a new direction … and say set out on a course to run a three and a half minute mile … at some point don’t you break down under the strain thinking: “Oh what’s the use?”


You want to better your relationships with your spouse and kids? Get real. They’ve lived their life without you for far too long. You are just as distant from them when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner as when you walked on your personal moon … whatever that happens to be.


So, now you are old. You’ve got all that great memorabilia which if you don’t donate to a museum will probably be hawked on eBay after you pass along.


Now it would be nice to think that a car ride with your child will give you reawake. Will it? The answer is probably not. And even if it does, how long will that shot in the arm last?


Ours is a culture in which we are told, no rather we are browbeat with the notion that, if we are to be really successful we will concentrate on one thing. And that one thing is something we will do over and over and over again.


Yet, when you look at some of the people who have done this, you realize that life for many if not most of them is generally rather pallid. That’s the very nature of life. It’s not the end game that counts … it’s the journey.


In a brief interview segment, Steve Jobs explains success as being a result of two primary things. The first is to find and do what you love. He indicates this is necessary because if you don’t love what you are doing, when it gets really tough – and it will – you’ll otherwise quit. You’ll quit because you are sane.


The second reason he similarly explains is that you have to get a team of good people around you. Presumably, he meant to express this is to be a team who also loves their respective jobs and as a result will work hard and not quit. [3]


Yet, as Jack Nicholson so forcefully demonstrated in another Stanley Kubrick masterpiece The Shining: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” [4]


So what’s one to do? Give up? No, that’s not the answer. Instead, work hard … and play hard.


In younger days I would equate “play” with “booze.” And though I’m not saying to refrain from liquoring up from time to time, or now even have a marijuana smoke-out if that’s your thing, I am saying figure out something else that you can pour some of your time in – most preferably with family – so you can enjoy your whole life which of course includes your work.


Why? If you force it too hard and too long you’re likely to break. And even if you don’t, when all is said and done and you’re staring back at your life’s course … will it even matter? [5][6]


Robert WM Zierman is the founder of Justice Smiles, pllc, a firm that seeks to attack boundary dispute problems and provide resolutions for its clients and their neighbors.

[1] See the Washington Post article and the advert itself [HERE].

[Author’s Note: I am reluctant to provide this link as I suspect it is more likely you will hunt it down and enjoy if not so readily available.]

[2] As an aside, I once had the displeasure of being billed $40 for an intellectually rigorous and temporally extensive exchange with another attorney in our community in which my query was answered exactly the same.

[3] See Steve Job’s interview segment about passion [HERE].

[4] See Shelley Duvall’s discovery of the depths [absent breath] of her character’s husband’s written works [HERE].

[5] Enjoy Huey Lewis & The News’ We’re Not Here For A Long Time –We’re Here For A Good Time [HERE].

[6] Enjoy David Bowie’s Starman in full [HERE].