by Gabe Berman – the author of Live Like a Fruit Fly

Unbelievable. Literally.

“Hey Gabe, just wanted to say hello. We’re at the beach. Beautiful day today. Miss you. Speak to me. Bye.”

I have this voicemail saved on my phone. It’s from my dad.

I listened to it again last night and I swear I still catch myself having that reflex reaction to call him right back.

He’d say something like, “You haven’t called us in awhile.”

And I’d get all defensive and say, “What are you taking about? We spoke like, three hours ago!”

Half joking around and half serious he’d respond, “As I’ve said, it’s been awhile.”

He left his body two years ago today.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back to living as lightheartedly as I can.

It’s the only path that makes any sense anymore.



Cardiac Mutation

Just when I thought it was safe to assume I knew something about God and/or the universe, I catch a show on Nat Geo Wild about animals of the Galapagos and I see a mommy bird looking on, unemotionally, as one of her baby birds grabs the neck of another baby bird and then successfully drags it out of their nest to leave it die, unprotected, on the rocks along the shore.

Murder, for this species, is the norm.

And just as I’m trying to write that introductory sinewy sentence above, a friend of mine serendipitously texts me, “The world is made of love.”

I call bullshit.

Fucking, total, goddamn, bullshit.

The cold, cruel truth is this: the world is made of the brutal survival instinct.

And the strong survives. The end.

I know it goes against the gospel of new age spirituality many of us cling to and hope to be true, but maybe we must face these facts:

There was the Big Bang, the Earth formed and cooled, fish grew legs and walked out onto to dry land, monkeys turned into man, wars were fought, The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper’s, and here we are today, at the pinnacle of evolution.

Covered skeletons of greed machines, pushing and dragging the weak from the nest. Not to survive anymore mind you, we’ve basically evolved passed that one, but we push the weak from the nests to acquire more. More, more and more. At the sake and expense of others. That is the history of humanity.

In other words, we have devolved.

So, maybe Darwin was correct up until a point. In the beginning, it’s survival of the fittest. But maybe evolution wasn’t intended to stop there.

Many years ago I wrote to myself, “Maybe God evolves at the same rate as we do.”

Maybe it’s time now for love, as my friend said in his text, to be what the world is made of.

Maybe we will evolve to have bigger hearts.

I hope so.

For now, I’m just grateful that I’m on that path.

How about you?


Ezekiel 25:17

I did something today that I’m not so proud of.

A women told me her husband is in the hospital and I said, “Maybe you deserve it.”

I was pulling out of a parking space in front of a grocery store and this woman wanted to jam her minivan into the space next to mine.

While my car was still moving.

Not exactly very safe.

She made eye contact with me and gestured her plans with an impromptu set of hand signals.

I quickly calculated the variables of the situation and concluded that she, because she obviously didn’t learn the lesson in kindergarten, was going to have to wait her turn.

Like HAL in 2001, I read her lips as she looked on in disgusted disbelief.

She then, unmistakably, called me an asshole.

I creeped up next to her, came to a complete stop and rolled down my window.

I calmly asked, “Was this so important that you had to call me an asshole?”

She tried to defend herself but it was all subconscious code for, “My sense of entitlement dictates my thoughts and behavior.”

So I cut her off by saying, “Life is so fucking short and you had to call me an asshole because my car was still in motion when you wanted to park?”

She froze.

And then hit me with this non-sequitur, “My husband is in the hospital.”

And that’s when I delivered the line, “Maybe you deserve it.”

I got halfway down the block and considered turning around to find her in the grocery store so I could apologize.

But, upon calculating the variables, I decided to keep driving. Because if she said anything piggish to me, at all, I’d be facing manslaughter charges for beating someone to death with a loaf of Ezekiel bread.

See, the thing is, I woke up on the wrong side of the world this morning.

Sometimes that just happens. You just wake up and things just annoy you, right?

I really tried to dwell on gratefulness when I caught myself feeling this way though. But then this happened. It’s really not the end of the world, but our lives are inhabited by mindless, greedy zombies and sometimes I’m just sick of it.

And I really can hate this woman as much as I hate bible thumping republicans or a decapitating terrorists. Because they’re all the same. It’s just a difference of degree.

But as I sit here in Starbucks, removed from the situation, the lens zooms out and I can see more of the picture. The thing is, I’m the same as well. It’s just a difference of degree.

And we’re all doing the best we can in the moment. The best is far from good enough if it hurts others, but it’s still the best.

So, as always, it’s up to people like you and I to remember that we’re all connected so we can be the rare ones to make the higher choices.

I just need to keep reminding myself that good prevails.

thank you,


Mental Breaks

The last thing I wanted to do is stand on a chair and pull the muck out from the gutters. But my mom asked me to do it. So I did it.

Normally, this would be my dad’s duty. But “normal” has left the building a few winters ago.

And as always, my mind toggled between spiritual philosophies as I grabbed fistfuls of soggy, lifeless leaves.

Should I focus on gratefulness? Forgivenesses? Lightheartedness? Holiness?

I settled on straight-up nothingness.

Without thoughts, my foul feelings faded and I transitioned, as The Dude would say, into abiding. Abiding in the crisp air. In the setting sun. In the breath.

I looked beyond the roof and saw a nest in a tree.

In that moment, I thought that the birds and other animals are the true inhabitants of this planet and you and I, and our silly problems, are just passing through. It still feels kind of true.

I showered up, ate my legal limit of lentils and Brussels sprouts, and got in the car to head to Starbucks.

At a red light, an asshole in an SUV quickly closed in behind me and I wasn’t sure if he was going to stop.

I braced for impact.

I thought how strange it is that our consciousness can literally be knocked right out of our bodies. In one second, everything that makes us us, can get turned off like a light switch and we’d be as lifeless as a old cigarette butt on a city sidewalk.

Where, if anywhere, do we go?

I really want to know. But not badly enough to know now.

Thankfully, the SUV found its breaks.

Now I have more time to think about spiritual philosophies. More time to think about thinking. More time to remember that the only thoughts worth having while you’re outside doing a favor for your mom, while you’re missing your dad, are the ones that remind you to stop all of your thinking.

Stop and just be.

Just be as we’re passing through.

In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success


Call Me Ishmael

If the sun was out and the world was awake, I wouldn’t even think about doing it.

But in the wee small hours of the morning, I brought my old iPhone out of retirement to reconnect with some old pics.

Dozens of shots of the beach I lived across the street from, an equal amount of dogs I’d meet walking into Starbucks, and of course, countless captures of my dad.

Looking happy before it all went down, forcing a calm face at my cousin’s wedding right after the diagnosis, and one of him bundled up in front of the house in a wheelchair. A few months before he died. Looking more like his old mother than the tough guy from Brooklyn he once was.

Upon seeing that last one, all of my peaceful, nearly enlightened, feelings of the day were washed away like a bad dye job.

Oh my God, what he went through. And, what we went through with him.

I regrouped while having cereal this morning though.

I realized, or re-realized, that all of that suffering only exists in one place now.

In my head.

He’s certainly not feeling it anymore. Only I am.

It serves no one to dwell on it.

But I swear I don’t intend to. Even when I’m not looking at pics, these awful memories can hit me like a rouge wave.

It sweeps out my legs and I tumble violently. Mercilessly. Until the sea settles and I find my feet again. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

I don’t think I can prevent this from happening. And I don’t think I’d even want to if I could.

But, as I said, it serves no one to dwell on it.

The thing is, I already know how to save myself in these situations. I wrote about it in Live Like A Fruit Fly.

Active Appreciation is a life jacket I need to wear more often.

I need to remember to put one on as soon as I wake up.

I need to make sure the straps are secured throughout the day.

Maybe you do too.

thanks for spending these few minutes with me,

In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success


Love Equals MC Squared

I know it’s old fashioned of me, but when a movie really permeates my soul, I applaud it in the theater as soon as the first words of the closing credits hit the screen.

It’s definitely a little dumb since the actors and writers can’t hear me, but I don’t care. I clap for the them, and the director and the lighting people, right there anyway.

But my favorite is when my adulation allows others to bring their hands together. People who normally might feel a bit too self conscious to do so.

The other night I removed my glasses, dried my eyes and clapped after the last scene of Interstellar.

Maybe it wasn’t the intended message of the movie, but here’s my takeaway: love transcends everything. Even time.

It now reminds me of what I once scribbled to myself a few years back: Time isn’t passing. We’re passing through it.


- – – – – -


Only The Everyone Dies Too Young

There’s nothing more Long Island than driving on the Wantagh, with water and beach-grass on both sides, while listening to Billy Joel live at Shea.

I was singing along with Angry Young Man, and somewhere deep in my inflection, I heard my dad’s voice.

I heard it so clearly. I felt it so strongly.

Not in a spooky, poltergeist kinda way, but fresh like it was yesterday. He’d sing along with the radio, drum on the steering wheel, and always take the long way to the North Shore so he could see people fishing from their boats.

And there in the dark, alone on the parkway, I started sobbing.

I covered my mouth to muffle my gasps and cried. Hard.

My god, everything but love is so meaningless.

In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success


Writing Because I Still Can

I was grateful this morning for the subtle symphony of meditative beats made by droplets of water that wanted out after I turned off the shower.

I watched them fall from the faucet in sort of a simulated slow-motion and an unmistakable rhythm popped off of the floor near my feet.

I was also grateful for how effortlessly my arm moved to grab the towel. And how fresh it felt as I brought it to my face.

Taking time to notice these moments and taking more time to write about them now will not help my career or advance my bank account by a cent. And it certainly won’t alleviate or assuage the disappointment I unintentionally dole out to others. This I know to be true.

But one day I might be too poor or too rich to relate to this beauty. Or too sick or too rushed.

So I am grateful that I was grateful for something so inconsequential.

Because like the others, my bones and my blood will one day be nothing but dust.

— —


Wait, How Old Are You???

The twenty year old dude behind the counter at Starbucks couldn’t believe I just turned forty-two.

That makes both of us.

Thankfully, he thought I was younger.

But the truth is, there’s only one thing I give a shit about when it comes to growing older. And it’s not my gray hair, nor people thinking I should be further along by now, and not the fact that I can’t score college chicks anymore.

The passage of time and subsequent birthdays are significant for this reason alone: the end is getting closer.

And that scares me man. It really scares me.

I have so much lighthearted nothingness yet to accomplish.

I better get moving.

Oh, and by the way, even in college I couldn’t score college chicks.

I think I would have done well in the psychedelic 60’s though.

Free love and flower power.

In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success


What’s The Point Of Being Here?

A women I often see in Starbucks told another woman I often see in Starbucks about my book.

Wow, that sentence really sucks.

Take two: Two women I see often in Starbucks were talking about my book.

One of them just asked me….wait…now it seems like I walked into Starbucks and these two chicks were sitting there with espressos, chatting about my book. Which isn’t what happened, but, whatever.

Oh, by the way, it’s “espresso”. Do you see a goddamn “x” in that word? No. You don’t. So, for the love of all things holy, stop saying expresso. Thank you.

Anyway…One of them just asked me, “So, what’s the purpose of fruit flies?”

She wasn’t inquiring about why my book exists. For that, I would have smacked her right in the teeth.

She actually wanted to know about fruit flies in general. As in: if they die so quickly, what’s the point?

It’s really a great question if you think about it.

And the only answer that seemed adequate at the time was, “When I figure out what my purpose is, I’ll get to the fruit flies next.”

But now that I write this, I realize I already know what my purpose is.

My purpose is to live. Live until I no longer live.

Hence, it’s the same for good old fruit flies.

I’m just trying to live as gracefully as they do.

And as you know, it ain’t always easy.

I’m trying though. I’m really trying.

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