The Human Spirit
April, 2003, LOS ANGELES -- As Halle Berry glided center stage, the tension in the Kodak Theater became electric. The Oscar for Best Actor of the year was now going to be announced. The air was tense with the buzz for Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day Lewis. Both actors had turned in wonderful performances. But I had voted for neither. I voted for the underdog -- Adrian Brody. His was an extraordinary achievement. It is, of course, impossible to measure an actor's performance quantitatively. The success of his work lies in the singular impact that his performance has on his audience. For me, Adrian Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman in "The Pianist" was the most profoundly moving motion picture experience this year. It was a compellingly soul felt performance. Underdog or not, my vote was for Adrian Brody.
"And the Oscar goes to..." Halle Berry's struggle opening the envelope was torturous. "Adrian Brody!" As a body, the theater gasped, then, broke out in astounded applause. Brody himself seemed momentarily stunned. Then, with a nervous brush of his fingers through his unruly hair, he climbed on stage. Halle Berry waited smiling with his Oscar. In spontaneous exuberance, he embraced the beautiful Ms. Berry bowling her over and planted on her the most celebratory kiss in the history of Academy Award moments. The audience howled in appreciative joy. As he expressed his gratitude to the Academy for the recognition, he at the same time reminded us that his work on "The Pianist" kept him ever mindful of the dehumanization of war. Even in celebration, he rooted his art in the reality of life. The U.S. had invaded Iraq just three days before. Adrian Brody marked this year's Academy Awards, not only with his singular act of joy, but with a graceful, meaningful acceptance speech as well.
As I write this on my laptop in New York City, we are now into the third week of war. The U.S. just took control of Baghdad International Airport and coalition troops are now only miles from the city limits of the capital. The days of the brutal rule of Saddam Hussein now seem numbered. But our coalition's body count and the number of those wounded also continue to climb. Despite the much-vaunted technical precision of our bombing, the pain of civilian casualties continues to mount as well. They are what are called the collateral damages. "Body count," "collateral damage" - those sterile, dehumanized euphemisms of war. Soldier or civilian, each is a human life ended by warfare. This was what Adrian Brody was talking about.
Determined not to see death turned into euphemisms, three days ago, I went down to Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan. I had made my first pilgrimage to the site of the World Trade Center devastation on a cold January day fifteen months ago. I wanted to go once again to pay my respects. The people who died there will never become euphemisms. They are now a part of American history. They will be remembered with a memorial on the site that will be both warmly human and spiritually evocative. A striking plan by the brilliant architect Daniel Libeskind has been selected. The excavated site of the former towers will remain open with a contemplative green sunken garden in its place. The great slurry wall holding back the waters of the Hudson River will remain exposed. Soaring up beside the memorial garden will be a magnificent building towering a symbolic 1776 ft. high into the sky. That is taller than the former World Trade Center structures - the new height symbolic of the beginning of our nation's independence. It is a soaring statement of the triumph of freedom over terrorism. The peak of the building will taper into a spire merging with the heavens.
In that apex of the structure will be a lush, living garden in the sky. There is to be life, both on earth at the foot of the tower as well as at its very pinnacle.
When I first visited the scene of devastation on that January morning, snowflakes were falling. Those white flakes reminded me of the ashes that came down that awful morning of September 11. This time, my visit was in early April. But again, it was cold and gray and a light snow started to fall. Again, it was a chilly reminder of that terrible day. However, the site was now dramatically changed. The debris of the wreckage had been completely cleared away and there was preliminary construction beginning at the far bottom of the excavation. We were moving forward. After intensely spirited competition, an architectural plan had been selected for rebuilding on the site. We were working to build the future. There is a vision to replace the past with something better, something even more dimensioned.
New York celebrates the human spirit, and, for me, the theater does it best with joy, passion and insight. In so many different ways, the plays I have been taking in are just that - a celebration of the human spirit. The British comedy, "The Play What I Wrote," did it with laughter. The award winning British drama, "Vincent in Brixton," did it with love. The big Broadway hit musical, "Hairspray" rejoices with both love and laughter. "Last Sunday in June," an off-Broadway original celebrated the bonds of friendship and community
The Pulitzer Prize nominated new drama, "Take Me Out" celebrates the diversity of life with the metaphor of baseball. The quintessential celebration of the human spirit, however, is the great musical, "Man of La Mancha," now revived on Broadway starring the glorious voice of Brian Stokes Mitchell.
As I sat in the theater enthralled by its stirring anthem, "To Dream the Impossible Dream," I sensed the entire house connect as one and soar with the shining words of the song. How can anyone's spirit not soar to these ideals? How can anyone's soul not glory in its humanity?
To dream the impossible dream
And the world will be better for this,
When you gotta go, you go.
That should be a mantra for getting rid of the toxic people in our lives.
Not every relationship is meant to last forever.
Some people don't know how to be friends.
They are awfully good at pretending though.
Be vigilant of the signs and red flags.
Toxic people are crafty.
And once you're free, never look back.
Redditor _ReDd1T_UsEr wanted to discuss the reasons why many of us decided to cut some people out of our lives, so they asked:
"What was the reason why your friendship ended with someone?"
Sometimes a person just has to go.
Planning StagesWeekend Sunday GIF by DisneyGiphy
"I stopped being the first to always initiate plans, and that was that."
"I once asked a friend to plan our next breakfast + walk outing, since I always did that. He wrote me a letter ending the friendship. Stunning!"
Pants on Fire
"Habitual lying became too annoying and disruptive to tolerate."
"When you constantly are thinking... this math ain't matching lol. People that lie all the time make me sick. I've told multiple friends that you don't have to lie to me."
"I feel so much better when someone can trust me and feel comfortable telling me a hard truth than an easy lie."
"Even if the truth made me feel some type of way, I'm still glad it was honest. I've even said thank you to people in the past that have been honest with me, good or bad! Some people just can not help lying about things. I wouldn't be able to ever keep a story straight if I did that."
"He kept having kids with different girls and bailing on them. Coming from a 'went out for a pack of smokes' Dad myself, I just couldn't watch it anymore. Bailed after the third one. Think he's up to 6 now."
"Reminds me of one of my ex-friends. She kept having kids with MULTIPLE guys (all of them were one-night stands), I don't think she even knows who the baby daddies are."
"She also kept begging me and people for money for pot, and she also bragged about having OnlyFans. She'd also make up stories about being in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend (she'd also cheat on him/tell people her and him they broke up, which they weren't)."
"I was a bad person and they ended it for perfectly sensible reasons. I would have done the same. I've changed, but I don't blame them for not reconsidering contact."
"I’ve been there. I was a bad person and lost friendships and family relationships. I tried to apologize to everyone I hurt."
"I also accepted that they don’t want me in their lives anymore. I learned that I made my mistakes, I learned from them, and I accept their choices. I don’t self-hate anymore and I try to be a better person in general. I hope you are doing well and practicing self-love and forgiveness."
Money IssuesDonald Duck Money GIFGiphy
"I lent them $20 and then they avoided me so they didn’t have to pay me back. Worth the $20."
"I don't ever expect prompt returns of small amounts of money between my friends... we all buy each other rounds or buy the food for the BBQ or whatever. It ends up evening out over time I think we'd notice though if someone was always taking and never giving and then they'd probably get cut off too."
In the immortal words of Cyndi Lauper... "Money Changes Everything."
Lack of SupportHappy Planning GIFGiphy
"She joined a pyramid scheme selling butt-ugly leggings and it took over her whole life. When I finally told her it was negatively affecting our friendship, she accused me of not supporting her 'business.'"
"I was basically a taxi for my friends so I dumped them all."
"This one I can understand but depends on the situation. Not all of my friends had cars in high school, so our group needed to have me and my sh*tty '94 Plymouth Sundance come, or they couldn't do anything. I didn't mind at all then, but I definitely would these days."
"I remember I used to drive around with my buddies all the time before they had licenses. When one of my friends got his and a car I said sweet now you can drive me around for a bit, he replied that he wasn't gonna waste his money on gas like that. See ya, haven't really spoken to him since."
"How's this for oddly specific: Friend since 1980, was hanging out at a bar in 1992 and there was a dispute of over a $15.00 bar tab. I was in the right, but whatever - he held a grudge for years."
"Ran into him in 2017 and we were both too old to care. Started to see each other now and then. 2023 and we're at this local bar for a show and got into a fight about $15.00 a ticket."
"Maybe he'll call me in 2063."
"She was a taker, constantly. When I needed something she made it about her yet again. Exhausting to be around."
"I'm going through this right now. Can't tell you how many texts I have from her in the past few days telling me that I need to get over myself, need to stop making myself the victim, have been a terrible friend, have never been there for her."
"She's the most narcissistic person I know and everyone does everything for her. She has one of the easiest lives ever and anytime anything bad happens to her she believes that everyone is against her and she's the victim here. It's pure insanity. There is no talking sense to people like this."
Life Changespoint pointing GIF by Shalita GrantGiphy
"I've lost like all but two of my 'friends' because I stopped drinking and doing hard drugs."
"Same here dude. My circle is small but hey at least it's a circle I know I can go to."
Oh, how things change when the booze dries up.
How much fun were you really having?
Do you have any stories about cutting off a friend? Let us know in the comments below.
People Who've Attended A Wedding Where Someone Actually Objected Share Their Experiences
There's nothing quite like the drama that can arise at a wedding or in the days leading up to it.
But the moment people don't necessarily think about is the moment when the audience can choose to object if they so choose, and surprisingly, some people take advantage of this opportunity. It often doesn't go well.
Redditor AustinMakesStuff asked:
"Has anyone ever been to a wedding where someone actually objected, and if so, how did that go?"
"I went to a wedding where they skipped that part because the bride's adult daughter was planning to object."
"How was this known? Had she pre-announced her intention, or was she just that kind of person and people had accurately predicted it?"
"She told somebody, and they told the bride and groom."
Uncovering the Con Artist
"I feel like about half of weddings these days don't have that part, and not because of feared objections, just because it is outdated and weird. Premarital sex is a thing. Divorce is a thing."
"Weddings cost like over $10k; if you know reasons to stop a marriage (outside of movies), you need to intervene at the engagement or earlier, not during the ceremony."
"That said, one of my wife's college roommates canceled a wedding like a day or two days beforehand, right after graduating college, after being in a long-distance relationship with some guy for a year or so. Her family was quite well-off and she was dating a guy who lavished gifts and expensive dates on her whenever they were together, said he ran his own company, just bought them a fancy house, etc."
"It turns out he was just super in debt, working a near minimum wage job, and maxing out credit cards taken out fraudulently. He had a fake web page with other employees for his company that he set up for the sole purpose of keeping up the front. The house was only bought from grossly lying about income (pre-2007 housing crisis) on the mortgage application, and he was drowning in debt."
"The almost-bride's father got bad vibes about the guy (a few things didn't add up, like he had this fancy house but couldn't afford any furniture), and he hired a PI (Personal Investigator) who quickly uncovered the deception."
"(And she didn't break up with him because he wasn't rich, she broke up because he spent tons of effort to lie about everything and was completely conning her and just trying to get her roped into joint ownership of his debt via marriage that he expected the family to pay off.)"
"My husband's first marriage. The brother of the bride stood up and said to my husband, 'Say no, you can still be happy!'"
"They went through with the marriage and wound up divorcing with a messy breakup."
"Brother-in-law is still best friends with my husband (as far as he's concerned, he gained a brother and lost a sister, and is better off for it), and he never lets him forget the fact that he was right and he should have bailed, lol (laughing out loud)."
"My auntie's fiance was already married (a lady stood up waving the marriage certificate), so the wedding didn't go ahead. The reception was on a long boat so we still went to that."
"The fiance went back to his home country to sort it out and never came back."
"I worked a wedding where one of the moms objected, but I think the groom knew that the parent was going to say something, so they just responded with, 'Oh sit down, (parents name), we knew you didn't like this a year ago and clearly we're not going to change our minds today."'
"The wedding continued like nothing happened, but the mom was lowkey shunned and people avoided her at the reception."
Going Separate Ways
"This was in America, and the wedding was in a Buddhist temple. The parents of the groom stood up and objected because they didn’t believe the bride was of the same class. They spoke in another language so most of the English-speaking guests didn’t know they were objecting."
"My husband was the best man and those closest to the couple knew this might happen. The Buddhist priest said he would handle it if the parents tried anything."
"After the parents spoke for a while, the priest said to the groom, 'You’ve heard what your parents had to say, what do you want to do?'"
"The groom replied, 'I want to marry my bride.'"
"So the priest asked the parents to leave."
"At this point, the rest of the guests are clueing in that this was not a nice part of the ceremony, and that the parents were actually objecting, so, as the parents walked out, some of the guests were berating them saying things like, 'You should be ashamed of yourself,' and 'How could you do that?' Even though the groom was not happy with his parents, that was very hard for him to hear."
"That was 30 years ago. The couple is still married. They have two beautiful, successful children. After the groom’s mom passed away, the groom’s father came around and was involved in their lives until he died."
Not Meant to Be
"A woman, in her twenties at the time, objected to her mom marrying my uncle. So she started yelling, 'Mom, don’t marry him!' during the ceremony."
"The ceremony proceeded, and some family on the mom’s side lead the daughter away to quit interrupting."
"I don’t blame her. My uncle was a lying, lazy bast**d. The marriage didn’t last."
The Best Man Swap
"I went to a wedding where the best man was replaced a week before because he banged the bride. But the wedding still went ahead just with a different best man. They are divorced now."
Joke Gone Wrong
"I went to a Catholic wedding where, when the priest asked this question, one of the groomsmen did a VERY loud, long, throat clearing, which got everyone laughing."
"Everyone except for the bride's elderly Italian Grandmother, who marched out of her seat and angrily hit the groomsman with her handbag and shouted at him in Italian!"
Giving Away the Bride
"I objected. I took giving my sister away literally."
"I wasn't the brightest three-year-old."
Wedding Invitation Revenge
"At my cousin's wedding, her friend said, 'I object,' because she was not invited to the wedding. She was kicked out of the wedding."
"Not quite the question as asked, but too funny to not share:"
"Priest: 'Any objections?'"
"Father of the bride: lets out the hardest, loudest, most complex-sounding sneeze I've ever heard in my life, completely with involuntarily saying, 'ACHOOOOOO!'"
"Mother of the bride, hammered on champagne: 'For f**k's sake, Jerry!'"
"It took a good five minutes for everyone to regain their composure."
The Bride Who Got Away
"I had a friend who was a minister, and the subject came up if he asked the question during ceremonies he officiated."
"He laughed and said no way. He basically tells the couple not to include it because it only invites a moment of anxiety at best, misery at worst."
"His best story (and one of the reasons he stopped including the question) was about a couple where in the lead-up to the wedding, the couple was obviously in love. The bride-to-be was very smiley and happy."
"But the day of the wedding, she was stone-faced. He (my minister friend) knew something is up because he’d never seen her like this and he asked if she was okay. She just said, 'I’m fine.'"
"Right before the service, he asked again, and 'I’m fine.'"
"He got to the question, 'Does anyone object to this union?'"
"The bride reached over, grabbed the Maid of Honor's hand, shoved her into the bride’s spot, and said, 'You’re screwing him, you marry him.'"
"Then she stormed out of the church."
An Unforgettable Toast
"At his rehearsal dinner, a coworker's mother's toast included that his soon-to-be wife was a 'd**n dirty w**re who wasn't good enough' for her son. Folks were not happy. (The video ended so didn't see the whole thing.)"
"At the wedding which I attended, his mom started to say something at the 'speak now or' part but was silenced by her daughter. Mom left and didn't see the rest of the ceremony."
"Everything about that poor guy was drama."
"Attended a wedding where the minister said something along the lines of, 'If anyone here objects to this marriage, you can keep your mouth shut. Today is not about you.'"
Bonus: Funeral Shenanigans
"Not a wedding, but at a funeral someone objected to the death."
"At my uncle’s funeral, his ex-wife and a local church [cult] leader tried to raise him from the dead. We were all sitting there like normal people at a normal funeral and she walks up to the casket and starts yelling, 'James Lester, raise up!'"
"I didn’t know she was there or I would’ve prepared myself for shenanigans. Also, I didn’t know my uncle’s middle name was Lester, so please imagine the confusion. So she and the cult leader are literally yelling at my uncle’s body."
"Not surprisingly, my uncle refused to resurrect himself. They were escorted out."
"I’ve actually never told this story because it makes my family look insane."
The last thing a person wants is for their to be drama on their wedding day, but like any other major event, sometimes something will come up. But having someone try to put a stop to the wedding, in front of everyone, certainly will add a terrible note to the wedding day.
Financially speaking, most of us could benefit greatly from having extra money each month.
But where someone might assume that the extra money would just be wasted, most people would apply these funds to very practical purposes and expenditures.
Redditor dothepingu asked:
"What would you do if you had an extra $1,000 every month?"
"A couple of weeks ago, I went to the dentist and overheard a heartbreaking situation."
"The office had a very open floor plan with privacy screens rather than individual rooms. But you could still hear every single conversation."
"This teenage kid comes in and says that he has a broken crown that needs to be fixed."
"The dentist says that it will cost $700. Kid says he has to call his mom first."
"So the kid calls the mom, and the mom says, 'No way in h**l can we afford that. Just tell the dentist to stick the old one back on.'"
"The dentist is like, 'Are you sure? That's not really a thing. It's just gonna break off again.'"
"The mom says too bad, he has to live with it."
"If I had an extra $1000, I would have picked up that tab for that kid."
"Pay off debts and save."
"Exactly my thoughts, start actually being able to plan things and save money rather than being on the back foot all the time."
"Absolutely. Money just helps so much for lowering stress!"
"I'd ask my husband to take more time off work. We don't need the extra money, I'd rather have his company."
"Save more money and continue with my current lifestyle, except maybe also be able to get eye surgery for my worsening vision."
A Little Self-Care
"I'd start actually getting my hair cut and colored by someone that's not me at 3:00 AM feeling brave."
"I feel attacked by this comment, it feels personally directed at me."
"Be able to take care of my and my wife's mental health a h**l of a lot better."
"Her therapy is important but expensive. I would love to make sure she had more appointments and the best care."
Time to Retire
"Retire. 1000 USD per month is LIFE CHANGING in the Philippines."
"Probably move out of my uncle's shed."
"Make an extra mortgage payment; pay off this house twice as fast."
"I'd try out that three meals per day trend that people talk about."
"I'd settle for one meal a day and not living in my car."
"Dude. Been there for six months. One day we'll make it big. We'll sleep on a mattress and eat TWO meals a day."
"I'd work fewer hours. I've been here for 32 years and haven't been able to take a vacation in over four years."
Providing for Family
"My mom recently became single, with three kids and a grandkid at home. She and two of the kids who live with her are unable to work because of severe health problems."
"I know she is constantly terrified about how she's going to pay the bills. I'd give her the $1,000 each month in a heartbeat."
Man's Best Friend
"I'd finally be able to afford a dog."
"Live instead of survive."
While there are millionaires in the world, or even just people who live very comfortably, most people are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, give or take a few hundred dollars. And that $1,000 extra each month would make all the difference.
When love is on the rocks and there's no salvaging a relationship, it's better for a couple to call it splits.
Sometimes the reason for a breakup is obvious.
Other times, it's more complicated.
But the people involved going their separate ways is better than staying in an unhealthy relationship.
Curious to hear from ex-lovers who've been there, Redditor Lishasquarepant asked:
"What caused your last break-up?"
These Redditors found they and their significant other were no longer on the same page.
"Simply, we grew apart."
"Same, I feel like Michael Scott everytime I try to start another relationship. 'No question about it, I am ready to get hurt again.'"
"Same. We loved each other like siblings, not spouses... Ugh! Lovely man though who now has a fab girlfriend. We are good friends and much happier apart."
"Same. And it f'king sucks, but that’s life. It’s been a year and I still hate every second that she’s not in my life, but at the same time I know she’s happier now than she would’ve been if we stayed together."
Having no communication is the worst part.
"He slowly got distant. I believe he lost interest and didn't dare be honest with me about that."
The Late Blame Game
"I had that happen as well, but then he pinned it on me being distant and not affectionate enough."
"My guy, if you pull your hand away every time I try to hold it, I'm gonna stop trying to hold it. And if I ask if something's up and you repeatedly tell me everything is fine, I'm going to believe you. Don't wait till I'm at my worst moment and then reveal you had issues with me for 3 months and break up with me for it being 'my fault.'"
"Everything Is Fine"
"Oh man, the asking repeatedly and getting a 'nothing' reminds me of a story."
"My friend used to ask her ex this every time he was unusually quiet. He’d always say he was fine, then at one point, told her to stop asking because it was making him feel weird."
"So she did."
"Six months later he initiated a divorce because she didn’t care about his feelings anymore."
"Like…don’t ask for sh*t then get pissy when you get what you want."
And then there are those who were not invested in the relationship for a long time.
The Struggle Is Real
"He seemed to struggle with the concept of not f'king random people."
Leaving The Problem
"He moved to his country because he missed his family. So he only sent a WhatsApp message saying he was going to stay there. I would have preferred a call at least to break up a marriage."
"Something similar happened to my cousin. He married her in the US, they had a baby together.. a few years go by, he misses home, goes back to visit.. His family had an arranged marriage ready for him 🤦🏻♀️ He ended up with a new wife and new baby. Hasn’t came back."
A Foreign Custom
"It just seems so surreal that a grown a** adult with a wife and baby would leave his family behind for an arranged marriage. I'll never fathom the mentality."
"I wasn't having sex near as often as she was."
Breaking up is hard to do.
But a good thing to remember is that love can be found again and the new relationship can be even better than the previous one.
And that's something that can't be recognized until you look back in retrospect.
We all have to kiss a few toads.