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

Archive for the tag “Life”

Live Like A Fruit Fly Epilogue

There’s a young kid on a boat sailing over from Russia.

That kid ends up being my grandfather.

My dad’s dad.

And I sometimes imagine him knowing, right there on that voyage, that his son would inevitably die, awfully, from brain cancer.

And from there I think about what the dead would tell us. If they could talk. Knowing what they know now.

They’d probably say something like, “Lighten the fuck up.”

Continuing with, “Try not to get tangled in situations which make your heart heavy. And don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. They have their own problems you’re just not aware of. And, with that, they’re assholes anyway. Listen up living people, your only responsibility while alive, is to truly live. Because it all ends so fast. Please, for us, truly live. Thank you.”

Easier than it sounds?


Or maybe we need a good old fashioned global intervention of reprioritizing.

Maybe this blog post was written just for you.

– gb


No Weep Till Brooklyn

I didn’t think I was going to be fine.

But then I knew I was going to be fine when I walked in.

And thankfully I was fine.

Until I wasn’t.

So, I left.

My mom, her boyfriend (which is still so bizarre to say), my dad’s best friend and his wife met for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. I knew they were going to be there so I stopped in to say a quick hello to my dad’s best friend, Davie, because I haven’t seen him since the funeral.

My dad’s funeral (which is still so biblically bizarre to say).

After pretending to be their waiter, I exchanged handshakes with the men and kisses on cheeks with the women.

We chatted innocuously for a bit before Davie said to me, “He’s the Harold I knew growing up. He looks exactly like him as a kid.”

He was referring to a photo my mom showed him of one of her grandsons (my nephew).

Harold is/was my dad’s name. And hearing his best friend since second grade say it, an atomic chain reaction of emotion spread through my soul like a neutron bomb.

I felt my dad behind Davie’s eyes

Hence, I had to get the fuck out of there before I started crying. There was no reason to add heaviness to their lighthearted dinner.

I reached over the table and kissed him on the cheek. He put his hand lovingly behind my head, as my dad would have, and kissed my cheek in return.

I never cried, even once I made outside to the safety of the parking lot, but I’m on the verge right now as I write this

Such is life. Such is death.

(Wait, does this piece just end curtly right here? With no tie-up or catharsis? C’mon man, what else would you like me to say? Of course I could easily say that you should make sure to love your loved ones while you still can. But that, like everything else, will either happen or it won’t. And with that, all I want you to know are these three things: 1. I appreciate you taking the time to read these words. Truly appreciate it. 2. I love you, whoever the hell you are. For real.
3. The reality we think is real, isn’t. So, take everything with a grain of salt. But you’ll only do that if you’re caused to. Noodle baked yet? It doesn’t matter. Just know that I love you. Yes, you, you dumb bastard. The person reading these words right now).


“Mr. Nobody”

“I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid I haven’t been alive enough.”

I sat on the edge of my bed – totally petrified.

Not frightened, but silent and still, like stone. Mesmerized by that quote above.

I heard it at the end of a movie trailer I was watching on my phone just a moment before.

“I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid I haven’t been alive enough.”

Those words landed in the center of the center of the bullseye so they didn’t even need to be thought about.

They just hung in the air in front of me like conspicuous Himalayan prayer flags.

But they evaporated in an instant when my eyes caught an unexpected sight in their periphery.

It was like a glitch in the Matrix.

A World War II bayonet rested beside my bed.

I felt neurons rushing to make their calculations.

Ah, yes.

My mom and sister were going through boxes of old stuff today and one of them must have left it there for me.

It was my dad’s.

He inherited from his dad who guarded Nazi prisoners with it.

They’re both dead now.

And now it’s mine.

I can’t speak for my grandfather (Abraham Berman) but when my dad (Harold Berman) got sick, he told me that he lived long enough and all he cared about at that point was his family not having to see him suffer.

How brave and beautiful and selfless.

It didn’t even occur to him to worry about suffering. His first thought, as always, was about my mom and my sister and me.

But he didn’t get his wish.

I was imprinted with his suffering. Tattooed permanently by it.

And at this point, I’m not afraid of dying either. I just hope that I (Gabriel Berman) will be alive enough to truly live.

And I hope the same for you.

with love and gratitude,

If you haven’t read this yet, it’s time:
Live Like A Fruit Fly


Abre Los Manos

Genetics, man.

Thank God for genetics.

Those little chromosomes deliver unexpected gifts at times.

Like today.

I went to Mollie’s house.

She’s ninety.

My bubbie’s little sister.

They have the same exact hands and I never realized that until today.

I mean, why would I?

But Bubbie has been dead since January and it’s nice to see her hands again.

So nice.

Mollie is sitting next to me as I write this and she’s reading my new book Love Looks Like This.

Although I make everyone else in my family buy it if they want to see it, I gave her my personal copy.

I really loved her as a kid, and of course I still do, so, she deserves it.

She read it twice from beginning to end and now she’s fixated on the front cover.

And get this, she just said, “Ohh! These long shadows. I see what you mean now. Love looks like this. Love is endless.”

That wasn’t my intended message when I designed the cover but nevertheless, she’s right.

Love is endless.

(And so are post-Passover matzah crumbs)

Love Looks Like This


Bye Bye Bubby

My mom is in the den watching The Martian with her boyfriend.

From the kitchen I can hear David Bowie’s “Starman” pulsing from the TV’s speakers.

Poor Ziggy Stardust.

One day you’re healthy, as right as rain.

Then you feel a lump.

And then you’re dead.

Hopefully you were loved.

Hopefully you loved.

I was thinking exactly this as I held my grandma’s hand as she passed away the other day.

“I love you” was my calm, inner mantra. I repeated it to myself, but for her, as I felt her slip away.

What wrecks me the most about this is how easy it was.

How easy it was for me to just be there for her without dwelling in my own, awful sadness.

I hate that it was easy.


And it’s not because she was ninety-four and lived tip-top for ninety-three and a half years. Although, that certainly didn’t hurt.

It was easy because I was face to face with my dad as he breathed in for the last time and watching my grandma die, in comparison, was like buying a snow cone from the ice cream man.

At the cemetery, on a brutally cold day, her pine wood coffin was lowered into the frozen ground and I thought to myself, “And there also goes all of the worthless worry about worthlessness.”

But it wasn’t her fault. She literally couldn’t help it.

Like mostly everyone else, she was operating on autopilot.

I hope more joy and less turbulence unfolds for me before it’s my turn.

And I hope the same for you.

thank you, as always, for joining me here, and please, resist being like everyone else,

buy my goddamn books here:


Consider The Roses

I drove by a funeral today.

Forty or so people were crowded around a tombstone with their heads down.

I was driving my mom’s convertible, blasting the Oceans 13 soundtrack, and until a moment before, smiling my ass off.

If I were one of the mourners seeing me drive by with the top down and music blasting, I’d probably think, “Jeez, look at that guy. I hope he knows how good he’s got it right now.”

Trust me man, I do. I’ve been exactly where you are.

So, dear reader, do you know how good you’ve got it right now?

I hope so.

Maybe this is a good time to take inventory of your prevailing thoughts.

Because, as much as I hope this doesn’t happen, you might one day find yourself praying for the “problems” you may now have.

In other words, if you have time to stop and smell the roses, do so.

Rip mirrors off the walls, chop the red petals into dust with a razor blade, and snort the fine, flowery lines with a rolled up C-note.

There really isn’t time for anything else and this is the youngest you’ll ever be.

This. Is. The. Youngest. You’ll. Ever. Be

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


Ego & Entanglements

“I saved all of my dad’s cummerbunds.”

That’s the best first sentence ever. Right?

It’ so visual, I just love it. I automatically see an older, heavyset guy at a bar-mitzvah. Hovering over a tray of appetizers.

My friend said it to me a few days ago. When her dad died, she threw out all of his clothes but kept his cummerbunds. I guess they had the most memories woven metaphysically into their fabric.

I told her if she ever writes a book, “I saved all of my dad’s cummerbunds,” needs to be the first sentence. But, as a writer, I’m obligated to steal it. Finders keepers baby, finders keepers.

I’m sitting at the kitchen table as I type these words to you. My mom is standing next to me, texting on her iPhone while going on and on to me about her Zumba class and about the new kitchen cabinets in her condo on the beach in Florida.

And although I sometimes feel like ripping the phone out of her hands and whipping it through the window, I remember – she too will one day take her last breath.

Hopefully later than sooner.

So, I listen. And smile. And encourage her.

My dad and I had a phenomenally loving relationship, but we’d fight often.

Some of our entanglements were for good reason, but most weren’t.

—- a few minutes have passed since that last sentence —-

I was just about to say: if I knew I’d end up watching him suffer so badly from brain cancer for eleven months, I would have been infinitely more permeable to his ego and angry antics.

But that’s bullshit.

I would have been tyrannical. Ruthless. No one would dare to waste a second in my presence.

Nothing but unconditional love, laughter, forgiveness and appreciation would have been allowed.

Sounds unrealistic in this world of ours?

That’s why we continue to suffer.

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


When Cameron Was In Egypt Land…

Why was last night different than all other nights?

Because last night was the second night of Passover, and for the second night in a row, I drove my grandma home after our menagerie of matzoh.

That was my dad’s job.

And now it’s mine.

Earlier in the evening, everyone sat around the table – ate, laughed and pretended to be religious for fifteen minutes.

Including me.

However, I also felt like banging my fists on the table and screaming, “Holy fuck Batman, how are we all acting so normal?”

Maybe that’s what happens when you lose a loved one. Eventually, everything clicks back into place and you just roll with it. Even if it clicks a bit differently than it used to.

Your mom cooks for the family by herself, your brother-in-law hides the matzoh so the kids can scramble to find it, and you get into your dad’s car and drive your grandma back to her apartment in Long Beach.

Life goes on.

But with that said, I once again walked downstairs this morning, and literally felt my dad sitting at the kitchen table. Wearing his blue bathrobe, reading the Times, and eating lots of eggs and gross onions.

Everyone says in due time, things will feel normal again.


That’s the last thing I want to feel.

Normalcy might tarnish my memories. And I need them to remain digitally clear.

Because they’re all I have left.

“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


Be Ashamed To Die…

Your life, as well as countless others, just might hinge upon watching this video.

Please find three minutes and forty-four seconds when you can:  

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” – Horace Mann

The City Of Angels

Since I’m the nicest guy since sliced bread, I drove my friend John to the airport.

He jetted off to Los Angeles because his house was Hurricane Sandyized and it’s finally being fixed up.

I schlepped some of his stuff to my place so it would remain unscathed, and in the car to the airport, John turned to me and said, “Hey man, if by chance something happens when I’m out there and I don’t make it back, keep my things. I trust you to make good use of them.”

I blew that off with, “Whatever man, I’ll see you when you get back in two months.”

We were listening to my dad’s copy of Sgt. Pepper’s and Paul just sang: Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?

John said, “I was around seventeen when I first heard this album. Sixty-four sounded like light years away. Because man, it was. And now I’ll be sixty-four in three months.”

Looking like an older Jim Morrison and holding a guitar in one hand and his cat Minnie in the other, John walked through the doors of the Delta terminal after we hugged goodbye.

I know I’ll see him again and we’ll get back to talking business in Starbucks. You know: Rumi, writing, the reading of the tarot etc.

But the truth is, maybe he will meet his maker out there. Or maybe, I’ll meet mine here.

It happens to all of us eventually. And just like it is with meeting your one true love, it’s usually when you least expect it.

I remember watching a Louie C.K. special on TV in the middle of the night. My dad was sleeping and I was sitting next to his bed in the hospital.

Louie said something like, “You’re all laughing now, but at least some of you will be dead soon.”

Everyone laughed, but I’m sure some of the audience thought about it later that evening. Probably as soon as their heads hit the pillow.

This reminds me of a Charles Bukowski quote someone once emailed me, “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to John. And it’s applying less and less to me.

Anyone else like to join us?

Evolution is in our own hands…

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


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