Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Wisdom of Travis McGee - #3 - Personal Value

by Bert Carson
John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee has an opinion on everything, and since they pretty much mesh perfectly with mine, I've decided to share them occasionally.  The sharing will be in no particular order or regard for subject matter.

Being a Virgo, I'd normally put them at least in book order, however, thanks to Amazon/Audible and whispersync for voice, I won't be doing that.  You see, I often listen to the Travis McGee stories while driving.  If a tidbit of wisdom comes though my headset while my body is moving down a highway at 70+ miles per hour, the chance of me highlighting the gem are pretty slim.  However, I can, and will, pull my trusty pocket notebook out, prop it on the steering wheel, and make a cryptic note like - Orange Chpt 8 - which means (to me) Bright Orange for the Shroud, Chapter 8, has a noteworthy McGee bit of wisdom.  Then when I'm I'm sitting still (not in the car), I'll open my notebook, find the note, open the referenced book, and find (in this particular case) near the end of Chapter 8:

"People take you at the value you put on yourself.  That makes it easy for them.  All you do is blend in.  Accept the customs of every new tribe. And you try not to say too much because then you sound as if you were selling something.  And you might contradict yourself.  Sweetie, everybody in this wide world is so constantly, continuously concerned with the impact he's making, he just doesn't have the time to wonder too much about the next guy."

That's McGee, explaining to a friend how he could easily insinuate himself into a group of strangers at a country club.  It's also McGee explaining to his millions of readers that the value you place on yourself is the value the world places on you.  That is wisdom, and it isn't the wisdom you expect from a serial pulp hero.  I think of it as the Travis McGee Wisdom Bonus. I find them delightful, and I love to share the delight I find in life.

I hope you find them delightful also.