Thoughts about

the Meaning of Life


Other Trivialities



Joel V. Benjamin


I dedicate this book

·        to the memory of my first wife, Joan, who enriched my life immeasurably

·        to my wife , Rita, who saved my life and renews it daily and

·        to Miriam who has set out to sail unencumbered by her family



Life is too important to be taken seriously. − Oscar Wilde



Table of Contents

Dedication. 2

Table of Contents. 3

Preface. 6

Introduction. 7

Topics. 8

Annoyances. 8

See Driving, Phones, Littering. 8

Arguing. 8

Arrogance. 8

Attitude. 8

Bullying. 8

Bumper Stickers. 9

Comedians. 9

Crime. 9

Death. 9

Democracy. 9

Diversity. 10

Driving. 10

Entertainment 11

Envy. 11

Friendship. 11

Generosity. 11

Getting. 11

Giving. 11

Good Things. 12

See Heroes. 12

Gratitude. 12

Happiness. 12

Health. 12

Disease. 12

Doctors. 12

Heroes. 12

Identity. 13

Israel 14

Jokes. 14

The economy is so bad... 14

Justice. 14

Laws. 14

Police. 14

Prevention. 14

Prosecutors. 15

Rehabilitation. 15

Resolution. 15

Retribution. 15

Revenge. 15

Labor/Work. 15

Life. 15

Meaning of Life, Purpose, Happiness, Balance, The Good Life. 15

Meaning of Life. 15

Littering. 15

Love. 15

Maturity. 16

Miscellaneous. 16

Movies. 16

News / Current Events. 16

Crime News. 16

Entertainment News. 16

Polical News. 16

Other News. 16

News Media. 16

Perspective. 16

Phones. 16

Telemarketing Calls. 16

Calling stores. 16

Politicians. 16

Politics. 16

Democracy. 16

Changes I would like to see: 17

Psychotherapy. 17

Receiving. 17

Religion. 17

Control 17

Fear 17

Gratitude – Prayer 17

Hope – Prayer 17

Hypocrisy. 17

Ignorance. 17

Injustice. 17

Life with Only Good People. 17

Understanding. 18

Reserved Parking Places. 18

Secrets. 18

Sex. 18

Time. 18

Values. 19

Vertoons. 19

War 19

Wealth. 19

Conclusions. 19

WisDumb. 19

Farewell 19

Wisdom Quotes. 20

Wisdom of Listening. 21

Wisdom Stories. 21

Fleeing the Tiger 21

Appendices. 21

Sample Talks based on Topics. 21

My Life. 22

My Professional Growth. 22

My Emotional Growth. 22

My Trauma. 22

My Relationships. 23

My Spiritual Quest 23

My Future. 23

My Attitudes. 23

My Personality Traits. 23



When I decided to become a comedian, I began writing my thoughts about various topics.  This book is an attempt to organize those thoughts.  Organize may be a bit too strong of a term to use.  I wrote my thoughts and alphabetized them according to topic title.


Although I tried to put some sort of comedic spin on each topic, sometimes I couldn’t come up with one.  I thought I’d let the magic of the moment and the chemistry between the audience and me inspire some humor.  Although not every topic needs or deserves a chuckle every time it is discussed, the presentation should at the very least be interesting and engaging. For now, I would settle for not being damaged by flying vegetables.




Welcome to the world of my thoughts about diverse topics that have at one time or another impressed me as important, interesting, and/or funny. 


This book includes:

·        discussion topics

·        speaker’s notes for a few of the topics

·        sample comedy routines built out of a flow of topics from the book


The book may be used to:

·        compose standup comedy routines from one or more of the topics in the book

·        base a discussion group around one or more of the topics in the book

·        simply read, think about, and enjoy

·        act as a prototype to base your own book of topics on – for social commentary, philosophy, politics, science, etc.

·        serve as a paper weight, door jam, or projectile


Thanks for picking up this book and reading this introduction.  I hope that you will find the rest of this book of interest.  I welcome your comments and suggestions for further topics for me to write about … perhaps in 2Dumb 4Wisdom!


Joel V. Benjamin, Philadephia, PA   August 3, 2010

Website: JoelBenjamin.net





See Driving, Phones, Littering



Ideally, an argument is an attempt by two or more honest and respectful people to explore the truth of a proposition.


I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

Bertrand Russell
British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 - 1970)



Arrogance Index = What you think you know divided by what you actually know.


Bush is the poster child for arrogance



·         Your attitude is your perspective on events and conditions in your life.

·         You can choose your attitude. 

·         “…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances …”  Victor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning

·         Take responsibility for your attitude just as you would for your actions.


Be aware of what your attitude is

            Pay attention to feedback

Self reflect

You can only be responsible for something you have the ability to change.

You can change your attitude.

Change your attitude to a better one

            A Productive attitude encourages responsibility and thus learning

What about experiences?  Can they be changed?

            Make things better

                        Smile at the checkout person

                        Help the teacher teach

                        Work with the comedian – instead of “go ahead and make me laugh”

Stuck in a relationship rut – work it out

Be critical – then improve the situation


            Look back over an incident, your day, or your life – ask what can I do better?


So, have a nice day – AND PICK A GOOD ATTITUDE!


A bully fights unfairly and has no character or integrity.  He/she sees no ethical problem in fighting someone who is weaker or has his hands tied behind his back.


Bumper Stickers

Eschew obfuscation

Individualists of the world, Unite!

Procrastinate Now!

If it isn't broken, fix it until it is.

Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church

Visualize whirled peas

“Without geometry, life is pointless.”

“Be alert. The world needs more lerts.”

 “Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.”

 “There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

There are 3 types of people – those who can count and those who can’t

Gravity: It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.




It's a great life – you talk, complain, promote, meet new people, laugh - and you get paid. 

Working on a cruise ship or touring college campuses is a lot better than many other job locations.

You examine your life, your thoughts, and you get instant feedback.



The bigger the crime, the less likely that what you did will even be recognized as a crime.


Kill one person and you’ll die in prison.  Kill 1 million Iraqis and Bush will live in luxury and freedom the rest of his life.


Obama claims the right to murder American citizens with no due process.  The constitution says that you can’t even put someone in prison without due process, much less murder them.  But Obama will not be prosecuted or even be impeached for this crime.  Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, et al all lied to the nation and to the world and started an unprovoked war against Iraq.  The Nazis were hanged for this crime but these lowlife politicians were completely unaccountable for the terrible and needless suffering they caused.



Death is the waterfall at the end of the river of life down which we are sailing.  As it looms larger and closer, it offers us a clearer perspective on the meaning in our lives.  It is an essential part of our lives which must be honestly faced and accounted for in our philosophy.



A successful democracy depends on an informed electorate.  To be informed, there must be an independent press aggressively pursuing and communicating the actions of our leaders and would-be leaders.  An informed public will thus hold their leaders accountable and will vote for those whose positions are mostly closely aligned with the their desires.


Many of us are too busy to get informed

When we take time to listen to, or read, the news – the news is often irrelevant or untrue

We're uninformed misinformed, or misdirected


Democracy is a system of government where the citizens choose their leaders for limited terms. We have to choose wisely each time we vote.


A constitution recognizes that people have inalienable rights


There are no absolute rights – all rights are competitive and thus relative.


Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others



It's good to be able to relate to many different kinds of people because:

·        The more people you can relate to, the more people can relate to you

·        You'll have more possibilities for friendship

·        You'll improve your understanding of how others view the world

·        It will enhance your empathy

·        Viewing others' perspectives helps you to see yourself more clearly

·        It offers opportunities to change your own attitudes

A commitment to diversity enhances opportunities for everyone

Diversity is important to have in Schools and, Employment, with Friends, and for a deep sense of self Identification

Don't be put off by surface characteristics

Don't judge a book by its cover alone

Be open

Be curious



A car enables many people to express their aggression and selfishness while feeling somewhat anonymous.  Thus you have people hogging the left lane, cutting in front of you will no signal, honking behind you, not allowing you to change lanes, and angrily giving you the finger.


They’re rushing to their destination and will kill anyone who slows them down for a second.  But if you dare to treat them the way they’re treating you, they will act in outrage not recognizing that that’s how they treat others.


Good driving depends on clear communication.  When you are planning to change lanes or make a turn, signal before doing so to warn others of your intention. Do wait until the last second to signal – that would be useless since it would give no warning.


Be polite.  Let someone go first even sometimes when you don’t have to.  But also be conscious that you may be keeping drivers behind you waiting.  Don’t be overly polite to those in front of you at the expense of those behind you.


Be conscious, considerate, and kind to other drivers and to your passengers.  Try to accommodate your passengers by driving in such a way that they are not nervous.



It’s fun to be entertained and to entertain.



It’s hard being happy for someone who’s happier than you.



Friendship is precious and is worth paying the dues of listening more than talking.



Generosity pays off, not only in the future.  It give you an immediate good feeling.



Express your gratitude in a way that will make the giver feel good that he/she gave.

Say how meaningful the gift is and how useful it will be – if that’s even remotely true.



Giving involves sacrifice

The benefit has to be worth the sacrifice – or you wouldn't do it

The benefit you receive from giving depends on your values

If you value only money, then you'll only give money when it's an investment


What's the best way to give

It doesn't demean others

It doesn't benefit you – otherwise it's not giving; it's selling



Giving money, attention, time, work, care, love, forgiveness


Giving forgiveness

            Give it in such a way that the transgressor learns and grows


Cast your bread upon the waters JC


Make giving a win win situation spiritually, otherwise it's just commerce


Good Things

See Heroes



Gratitude makes you conscious

Being conscious is being fully alive

Expressing your gratitude by giving

Accepting thanks only to say “pay it forward”



A good attitude makes us grateful, e.g. Airport Security – at least they’re trying to keep us safe.

A bad attitude makes us ungrateful – spoiled, whiny

We're here anyway – let's make the most of it

Suck the juice out of each moment!

Who's responsible for all the good things that happen to us?

That's just the way things are

So, how do we express our gratitude if there's no one to thank?

By using our gifts to benefit others – by paying it forward

So, go forth … and pay!


See Receiving



See Attitude




It takes a lot of luck to be completely free from disease.  Some diseases last only a short time; others last a life time; and some cause one’s life to end.  Be grateful that the disease you have is not worse, and do the best to cope with it.



What we admire about our heroes

            reveals our values

            draws us like a magnet toward developing those values


To have a hero, is to admire some person or some group of people

What we admire about our hero reveals our values



Your hero works to advance your strongest values

Your hero acts as a magnet focusing your vision for your own future development

Ask a person who his/her heroes are

They don't always know – they could even be mistaken



Kinds of Heros:

Sports: a fearless, dedicated, talented, fair athlete – Larry Bird

Politics: an honest politician with your values – Alan Dershowitz

Religion: Martin Luther King

Civil Liberties:  Dr. Kevorkian

Science: a visionary scientist who works to help people or advance understanding - 

            Albert Einstein, Leonhard Euler

Life: a really good person who is not phony and makes sacrifices for others - Rita

It's nice when it's a family member or a friend that you know well

Heroes don't have to be far away

Look for qualities to admire in family, friends, and new acquaintances

Search for the positive even behind the negative


A hospice nurse told me that even mean people sometimes reveal themselves to be nice … at the end

Reveal your own admirable qualities as soon and as often as you can


Heroes are magnet drawing us towards their goals

In following, or even just admiring, them we are uplifted

Heroic actions inspire us and restore our faith in the future


To have a hero, is to admire some person or some group of people

Your hero works to advance your strongest values

Your hero acts as a magnet focusing your vision for your own future development

Kinds of Heros:

Sports: a fearless, dedicated, talented, fair athlete – Larry Bird

Politics: an honest politician with your values – Alan Dershowitz

Religion: Martin Luther King

Civil Liberties:  Dr. Kevorkian

Science: a visionary scientist who works to help people or advance understanding - 

            Albert Einstein, Leonhard Euler

Life: a really good person who is not phony and makes sacrifices for others - Rita

It's nice when it's a family member or a friend that you know well

Look for qualities to admire in family, friends, and new acquaintances

Search for the positive even behind the negative

A hospice nurse told me that even mean people sometimes reveal themselves to be nice … at the end

Reveal your own admirable qualities as soon and as often as you can

To discover the character of a person, ask him/her who his/her heroes are

What we admire reveals our values

They don't always know – they could even be mistaken

Heroes don't have to be far away



Who are you? 

How would you define yourself?

Profession?  Location?  Family? What and who I'm comfortable with?

            What I like!  What I don't like!  My tastes!

Clothing / Friends / Car / House / Heroes / Morality / Politics / Religion

What I do – key to what I like, my values

            Showing up, putting up with stuff, commitment to excellence

Life-long quest to know and accept who you are

Many false roads



Looking back at the path to NOW

Comfort yourself as you'd comfort a friend

You are your most important friend,

            But a mate and your friends help you to accept yourself as a friend

                        Because you see yourself reflected in their eyes

            Pick good friends

                        Write a Eulogy for yourself

            What would you write?

            It will effect your plans for your future

            It will act like a magnet

Your friends and your heroes are also magnets




The economy is so bad...

1.      That I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

2.      I ordered a burger at McDonalds and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

3.      If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

4.      Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

5.      A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

6.      The Mafia is laying off judges.

7.      Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.



Do people get what they deserve?

Do good people prosper?

Do bad people reap consequences for their transgressions?

See War

Many people believe that in the next life their will be justice – it's comforting, but is it true?

Wouldn't it be nice if “f*** you” would automatically generate just consequences – it's what we all

            secretly hope

Someone cuts you off on the road – f*** you – they hit a tree

Someone slams the door in your face – f*** you – the next door bashes their face

Someone starts a bogus war – f*** you – the rot in prison the rest of their life

Ah …, wouldn't it be lovely





                             Airport Security







I just saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Wow!

That's an example of a movie when a very bad person gets what's coming to him.


The yearning for revenge is a desire for justice – with a lack of proportionality

In a move or book, you get to hate someone as you see their them hurt good people for bad selfish reasons – then POW!, they get what's coming to them.  You can savor that like a fine wine

Of course, it's great when you don't have to plan it, or do it, or risk it – but just view it or read about it.

The best thing of course would be if it were never necessary

            If our lives ran smoothly or at least not messed up by mean or careless people

                        There still would be the inconvenience of things like accidents, sickness, and death

            It still might be rough, but not unnecessarily so

A life free of a**holes – it would be so much better

A man can dream


(Other examples: The Count of Monte Cristo and the TV show, Leverage)




Meaning of Life, Purpose, Happiness, Balance, The Good Life

Meaning of Life

            There is no meaning

Act as if there is

Do you search for meaning or for happiness?

They don't always go together

Do you discover meaning or do you create it?

The golden rule

What if there were no other people

There would still be meaning

Be grateful for what you have

Show that gratitude by treating the environment (including all life) kindly

Walk in peace with a direction


            Ghandi - Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever





Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

Betrand Russell





Life Sucks; Go see a Movie!

Leave your problems outside

Enjoy it then leave



Sharing this experience

Vicarious fulfillment


News / Current Events

Crime News

Entertainment News

Polical News

Other News

News Media


Experiment: The press reports accurately to positions of 2 politicians – but reverses the names

What meaning is there in your freedom to vote?



It’s all how you look at it.

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Add the numbers from 1 to 100.

Airport Security

Parental Overprotection – Controlling or Caring?


Telemarketing Calls

            at dinner time

won't ever stop talking

Calling stores

Routing menus

Typing info that you have to give again anyway

Having to give personal info just to be able to ask a general question

Do you want to take a survey?




The art of the possible - Bismarck

The perfect is the enemy of the good. - Voltaire

The art of making the possible seem impossible – what Obama has wrought


Changes I would like to see:


Since Reagan in 1980 we’ve shifted enormous wealth to the wealthiest one percent.  Let’s shift it back by:

1.      Raise the Top Marginal Tax Rate on incomes over $1 million

2.      Raise tax on Hedge Funds

3.      Financial Transaction Tax on all stocks, options and derivatives for individuals or companies that trade frequently.

4.      Reduce War Budget drastically.

5.      Progressive estate tax up to 75% on all estates over $50 million.

6.      Close all corporate tax loopholes and enforce the 35% rate.

7.      Remove the cap on Social Security Tax.

8.      Institute a Medicare for all Health Care System which uses purchasing power to negotiate rates for pharmaceuticals driving down prices at least 40-50%.

9.      Lower the retirement age to 60 and increase Social Security checks to double the rate of inflation.

10.  —2millionlightyearstoandromeda


True democracy depends on an informed electorate which is dependent on a robust news media.  After all, your right to vote is meaningless if you go to the polls to vote for Joe Schmoe because of a lie you read in the papers about him.

1.      Restore the Fairness Doctrine.

2.      Break up media monopolies.



Accepting gifts graciously

Be grateful

Show gratitude by using the gift wisely conforming to the intent of the giver

Remember the generosity

Make it a model to give to others

 war on drugs




Gratitude – Prayer

Hope – Prayer




Life with Only Good People

We've eliminated the tendency of people to sh*t on other people or

we've eliminated the people who have that tendency

What's left is peace, harmony, love, fun, accidents, sickness, and death

So, who's responsible for the suffering?

That's just the way things are




Ethics – Do good for its own sake


Metaphysics – No one ever came back


Just because many people believe the same thing, doesn't make it true


You could have been born somewhere else


Respect other people's beliefs (to the extent that they respect others' beliefs)


You can be mistaken about what you believe – your actions tells us what you really believe


Be grateful for what you have and show your gratitude by using what you have to help others


I have more in common with a good member of another religion that I do with a bad member of my own religion.


It's important how and to whom you express your gratitude, not whom you thank.


Reserved Parking Places



We're all looking for the perfect fit


Shoes / Clothes / Cars / Housing / Friends


The ultimate perfect fit is physical intimacy


Relationships are like shoes: 

·        New shoes hurt at first, then they feel comfortable, they fall apart!

·        They have to be repaired or left behind

·        Repairing a relationship consists of patience, commitment, communication, negotiation, compromise, self-examination, apology, understanding, and forgiveness.


Gender differences in thinking and perspective are greater than most other differences


I tell my wife, “we'll compromise, we'll do exactly what you want”!


When asked for the secret of his long happy marriage, the man said that we agreed that she would make the little decisions and I would make the big decisions.  In 40 years of marriage, there has never big one big decision that needed to be made!




Time is the most precious gift you can give

You can never take it back – even if you want to

You can use it to do only one thing at a time – really

You can't fool time – putting something off only makes the task longer

            Not throwing something away immediately

            Not filing something where you can find it

Time will bite you on the ass

            When you're late and can't find your keys

So, be kind to time

            Show it respect

            Use it wisely

You may still get struck by lightening, but at least your house will be neat!






Why does our country engage in so many wars?  Because it costs so much.  Huh? 


Politicians send soldiers off to war nowadays in order to give a million dollars a year to the corporations that supply war materials.

Politicians write laws that will have the effect of  incarcerating poor people to keep them from voting.

Prosecutors prosecute many innocent people in order to win reeelection.



Work hard, be smart, grow rich.


Wealth comes with the awesome responsibility of using it wisely to help others.  Of course, only those with any character feel this responsibility.  That is why how one uses his/her wealth is one of the clearest indicators of the nature of one’s character.




I’ve come to several conclusions about life:

·        Care – about the productive use of your talents and time

·        Be grateful –your appreciation of the miracles of each moment is your greatest treasure

·        Be kind – treat other creatures as you’d like to be treated yourself

·        Be curious – explore both what’s outside and what’s inside yourself

·        Be honest – especially with yourself

·        Observe, listen, act

·        Relish and expand your awareness

·        Create the meaning in your life

·        Use your time wisely - we’re here temporarily

·        Let go - your possessions possess you

·        Wherever you go, there you are – deal with your problems here and now

·        The journey IS the destination – smell the roses along the way

·        Cherish those whom you admire

·        Recognize kindred spirits by their character, not their appearance or group associations



Thanks for reading this book. 


I hope that your thoughts have been clarified by reading these topics - whether or not you have agreed with my opinions.


May all your caring and constructive dreams be realized.


Wisdom Quotes


1.      If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four sharpening the axe. - A. Lincoln

2.      How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. -- Annie Dillard

3.      Cherish the questions, for the answers keep changing. -- Albert Einstein

4.      The highest wisdom is kindness. (BERAKOT, 17a)

5.      Pain makes man think. Thought makes man wise. Wisdom makes life endurable. -- John Patrick in The Teahouse of the August Moon

6.      It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it. -- Sam Levenson

7.      Wisdom begins in wonder.                         -- Socrates

8.      "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."  -- John Lennon

9.      We may give advice, but not the sense to use it. -- Francois De La Rochefoucauld

10.  The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. -- Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)

11.  Life is too important to be taken seriously.             -- Oscar Wilde

12.  Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. -- Alphonse Karr

13.  Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.  -- Albert Einstein (1879-1955) 

14.  It's not just the slam of a  door, or the clang of a gate that imprisons.

15.  It is, more often, the silent closing of the mind to reason. 

n  In some article I read which I now can't find

16.  At the end of all Seeking . . . the Seeker is the one Sought. -- Christopher Wynter

17.  Wisdom consists in knowing what to do with what you know. - Anonymous

18.  Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it -- David Star Jordan


19.  It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. — Andre Gide, French author (1869-1951)

20.  Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. -- Andre Gide


21.  To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom. -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

22.  He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.  -- Lao Tzu

23.  You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.     You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions -- Naguib Mahfouz

24.  The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet     -- James Oppenheim

25.  Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference -- Saint Francis of Assisi

26.  Time is too slow for those who wait,

too swift for those who fear,       

too long for those who grieve,      

too short for those who rejoice,    

but for those who love,             

time is eternity.                   

n  Henry Van Dyke

27.  Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise. -- Cato (Marcus Porcius Cato The Elder) (a/k/a Cato the Censor), in Plutarch's Life of Cato

28.  Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.  -- Winston Churchill (3)

Wisdom of Listening

1.      Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. - Jimi Hendrix

2.      I have often regretted my speech, never my silence. - Xenocrates (396-314 B.C.)

3.      It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. -- Abraham Lincoln

Wisdom Stories

Fleeing the Tiger

One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff.
Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice. As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine.

Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!

Be kind to others and to yourself.


Structure of a Comedy Routine Based on Topics

This is one example of how to structure a talk from a flow of topics included in this book.


Introduce yourself

Thank the sponsor and the audience for the opportunity to speak

Acknowledge the occasion, the environment, the expectations, and maybe something that happened today.


This section is optional – you can skip it and just start talking about the first topic.

Present overview of what you plan to discuss.

I’d like to talk you tonight about Relationships with





New Acquaintances



and then I plan to conclude with several General Conclusions


Discuss topics, for example

            Relationships – Rewards and Dangers

            Mates – The most powerful Rewards and Dangers

Family – They know you the best

Friends – More choice than with family

Colleagues – They see one side of you

New Acquaintances – Old baggage not apparent; building trust

Strangers – Open or closed?

Groups – follow, participate, or lead?  Where do you fit?


General Conclusions

            We learn about ourselves from

                        what we say

how we behave

                        our feelings

                        others' feedback

            So, by paying attention, we can learn and grow


Last Zinger

            Or we can just simply avoid the whole mess and become a hermit – like me!


Thank audience


I’m Joel V. Benjamin and my website is http://JoelBenjamin.net


Another Sample Routine


What I’ve learned in life so far:

1.      Religion – One can’t legitimately decide what to believe

2.      Work – Be grateful for an opportunity to work

3.      Love – It’s worth putting up with some unpleasantness – but not too much.  Give your heart … but not your soul

4.      Friends – They are few and precious

5.      Health – Take time to listen to your body and take care of it; it’s a good friend

6.      Pride – Be proud of having survived so far

7.      Attitude – Gratitude

8.      The key to the secret of life – there isn’t any easy answer or one stop shopping for truth

9.      Values – the golden rule

10.  Secrets – Try to not keep secrets from yourself.

11.  Envy – Try to not envy others.  see Miniver Cheevy

12.  How to translate wisdom into action?  Do I have to?

13.  Desire – Choose something good to desire – then work hard and smart to get it

14.  Learning – Learn what you want others to learn.  Listen to your own exhortations.

15.  Be as you wish to seem.  Socrates



My Life

My Professional Growth

I started out wanting to be a math professor

            I liked math and communicating ideas

            There is another requirement – STUDYING!!

                       I didn't do that well – so I hit a brick wall

I had two choices

            Learn to study

            Smoke pot and search for God

                       The Matrix – the blue pill / the red pill

Spiritual Quest – Searching for Truth or a way to not have to focus on work?

Gardening – Pulling Weeds, My own business, My own hours, my own priorities

Programming – analysis, learning, perfecting, helping clients

Teaching – Lack of preparation, poor classroom management

Comedy – Which may also be a way of avoiding “real” work


My Emotional Growth

Shy, lonely, skinny kid

Disruptive in school – adhd

No best friends in elementary school

A best friend in junior high school

2 best friends in high school and college


My Trauma





My Relationships

Met Joanie in 1982 – we were together until she died 22 years later

Joan was the first woman I truly loved from the bottom of my heart

Married Joan on July 12, 1987

Miriam was born on June 17, 1988

Miriam gave us incredible joy – we were fascinated with her playfulness and her language development

Joan died on April 21, 2004

Met Rita on December 24, 2004 – she renewed my heart & saved my life


My Spiritual Quest

Identity, Truth, God - Who am I? What is truth? What is God?  What is my relationship to God?




Travelling – Hitch hiking





My Future

            Discover what I want to be when I grow up

Do it

Grow up

Look back at the path I've taken for clues about my values & my destiny

Love, work, experience, and share

My Attitudes





My Personality Traits

                             Attention Span



                             Being Critical

I'm critical of everyone and everything

Could I do better – or as well?  No

So, EVERYONE is better than I am

What can I do better than everyone else?     Be me!!!

I've been trying to be for my whole life

            But, wait, is that true?? 

                        Or have I been trying to be what I thought someone else wanted me to be???

After a lot of years, I gave up looking and got a real job – programming computers

I got married, had a kid and to all outward appearances I was a grownup.

            I even got a pot belly – I must be grown up, right?

But I realize that I really feel alive when I'm connecting with another person and usually it's a new person.


Why a NEW person?

·        They think you're interesting;

·        They don't know all your problems and hang-ups


So, I've decided to become a comedian.


It's a great life – you talk, complain, promote, meet new people some of whom like you - and you get paid.  You can do it standing up or sitting down or even on paper.