Life is ………

Fill in the blank. Your response must be no more than 7 words.

Just to help you out, I’ll give you my definition.

“Life is just a bowl of cherries”. My definition is the title of an old song from the Great Depression era. The lyrics sound flippant and that’s how they were used at that time to help assuage the misery that almost half of all Americans were experiencing.

Please read the lyrics (below). After you think about them for 5 or ten minutes, they actually offer a healthy philosophy for managing your immediate and future behavior. “Don’t take it serious”. The way I interpret that line is “don’t take it TOO serious”. Keep your life’s daily events in perspective.

What about money? The vast majority of Americans take personal finances way too seriously. My outlook is summed up in an old joke. 2 men are standing in a graveyard looking at the tombstone of their deceased life-long mutual friend. One life-long friend says to the other, “How much did he leave?”. The other replies, “All of it”.

As a husband and father, I’ve been a good provider. I’m proud of that. Would I have been happier if I had been wealthier. Don’t think so. My wife and I live very comfortably right now. We consider ourselves very fortunate. So much for the almighty $$$.

More important than money is peace of mind. In what I consider Steven Spielberg’s best movie, “Saving Private Ryan”, the main character is kneeling at the tombstone of the Lieutenant who saved his life during the invasion of Normandy and he asks his wife, “Did I live a good life?”. For all of his life Private Ryan’s focus was living a “good” life to somehow justify his Lieutenant’s sacrifice. As I sat in the theatre watching the movie, during this scene about 10 or 12 feet to my right, a guy, about my age, was openly, convulsively weeping. To this day, I can only imagine what his personal connection was to any of the real participants in Normandy.

The inspiration for this tome. I know, a tome is a large book but I use the word with the idea that the philosophy behind this article is very large in my life right now. In my article, “Reconciled”, I explained my recent conversion from a contentious writer to a story teller and the peace of mind that has come with it.

Now I have a theme song to accompany my awakening.

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.
Year: 1931(3)(4)
Genre: Jazz / Theatrical Musical
Country: USA

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don’t take it serious; life’s so mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can’t take your dough when you go, go, go.
So keep repeating it’s the berries,
For the strongest oak must fall,
The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.
This song was originally posted on
People are queer, they’re always crowing,
scrambling and rushing about;
Why don’t they stop someday,
Address themselves this way?
Why are we here? Where are we going?
It’s time that we found out.
We’re not here to stay;
we’re on a short holiday.

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don’t take it serious; it’s too mysterious.
At eight each morning I have got a date,
To take my plunge ’round the Empire State.
You’ll admit it’s not the berries,
In a building that’s so tall;
There’s a guy in the show, the girls love to kiss;
Get thousands a week just for crooning like this:
Life is just a bowl of. .. Aw, nuts!
So live and laugh at it all!


1 – Lew Brown (1893-1958), born Louis Brownstein, biography from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

2 – Ray Henderson (1896-1970), born Raymond Brost, biography from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

3 – From the Broadway musical George White’s Scandals, that ran from September 1931, until March 1932.

4 – Recorded by: Ben Bernie on 78 rpm Brunswick 6165, August 4, 1931; Ted Wallace & His campus Boys on Columbia records 2523D, August 21, 1931; Buddy Campbell Orchestra, on OKEH 41516, August 25, 1931; and many others

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