One of the wisest guys I know is Andrew WK. I first met him as a guest on my show something like fifteen years ago now, when his first album had just come out. A few years later, he gave my brother, a musician, a special backstage tour of his bus and guitars - my brother was eight then, and is in college now, still making music. Andrew always asks after him by name. I’ve spoken with Andrew regularly if infrequently over the years, and it’s always a pleasure. He’s all about partying - but that means something more to him than it might mean to you.
He writes an advice column for the Village Voice, and he recently took on the question of what it takes to be a man. I thought his answer was a beautiful counterpoint to the idea that the way to be a man is to have the right multi-tool or know how to chop wood or know how to bare-knuckle box or whatever.
Here’s what Andrew recommends:
To be a real human being, you must try…
- To care about someone and something more than yourself.
- To accept help from someone even when you believe you don’t need anyone.
- To cheer people up and bring them simple joy in times when it seems hardest to smile.
- To bring loving comfort and sincere hugs in the midst of violence, pain, and suffering.
- To recognize your own shortcomings and failings before lashing out at another’s weakness.
- To have true compassion when someone’s in a bad mood, with the understanding that they might be going through a hardship you’re not aware of.
- To constantly remember that life is a fragile and precious miracle which requires all our collective effort to protect.
- To humbly work to improve our own defects and cut everyone else a little more slack.
- To remember that being a loving and positive person isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
- And lastly, to never give up on the power of humanity and on your own potential to be a caring, loving person.