July 27, 2014

The Dude: On Love, Memories, His 1 Piece of Advice & the 1 Thing We’re Dying to Know.

Every now and then I’ll read a celebrity interview that’s honest, human and extremely worth my time.

Every now and then.

This was one of those times.

Jeff Bridges, aka The Dude from the Cohen Brother’s movie The Big Lebowski, recently participated in a one-hour “Ask Me Anything” Reddit session, and I had to share a few of its gems.

Here’s Bridges on his long-lasting (37 year-long) marriage to wife Susan Geston:

“Well, that’s certainly true. This industry is tough on relationships. I’ve always thought that my wife should have a credit up alongside mine, because I couldn’t do what I do without her support. And like the questioner asked, or said, we’ve been married since 1977, we knew each other for 2 years before that, so she’s been able to do all these films with me and we’ve managed to get through them all together. The toughest thing about making movies is being apart from your family. One of the things I try my best to do is call my wife every day, to keep up to speed with what’s going on in her life. And tell her what’s going on with mine. Often when you’re apart from your loved one like that for so long, your connection kind of atrophies unless you keep engaged, even if it’s small everyday kind of stuff. But another aspect of keeping a marriage together, I think it’s important to – you’ll think I’m silly – but to love each other, which begs the question: “what is love?” Words that come to mind are openness, understanding, gentleness, kindness, and kind of working on those things, because everyone has a light and a dark side, I think, selfish aspects, and to kind of recognize those in each other and realize that we are going to have our own particular story at any given time, and those stories, they might not be the ultimate truth but they are certainly true for each of us, so to understand that we are each going through our particular version of reality, to respect that, and to nurture being in love, you know? To nurture that.”

If he could “give” someone a memory from his life, it would be this:

“Wow. I remember my kids being born. And that was such an amazing, amazing moment in anybody’s life, if you’re lucky enough to be in the same room as what was happening. I didn’t know that the eyes were capable of ejaculating tears but mine did when my kids were born. Well, maybe… gosh. This is a good question, but I’m here at the place now where I’m supposed to go. Let me think for a second here.

I had a memory recently that I would like to share with everyone. I was visiting a school in Montana, and I was there on behalf of the No Kid Hungry program, and I was there to share a breakfast meal prepared for the students there and this was to support the breakfast after the ball program – this is to get rid of the stigma of the poor kid who has to come to school early and eat in the cafeteria. So at this school, you saw all these beautiful happy faces of kids eating together, the teachers were all so into it, you could see they were all well-fed and ready for a day of learning, and the joy on their faces, I would like to share that with everyone and to encourage you to make sure that the kids around us are taken care of, because kids are our future.”

Here’s his one piece of advice:

“Be love. That came to mind. It came from a wonderful dear friend and teacher of mine, a guy named Rozell Sykes, and he had a wonderful compound called St. Elmo’s Village, I believe it’s still there, right off La Brea off the freeway in Los Angeles, and he was a painter, and he would encourage me – this was back in the 1960’s – he would encourage me to play my guitar while he painted, and I finally visited his compound, and I saw that it was almost like an art piece in itself, there were several bungalows, some of which he rented, and he painted EVERY surface. He loved every aspect of his life, you know? And encouraged us all to be love, to be the spirit of love, to be open and kind. Like what all the guys say, from Christ to the Dalai Lama. I saw the Dalai Lama once in Santa Barbara, and he was saying “All religions are good” – I’m going to misquote him here, but the gist of it was “All religions are good, Christians or Buddhism or Judaism — but be kind, be kind, that is my religion.” I think that’s another version of be love, not only to other people, but to yourself.

So this cuts down to just: be love. You can paraphrase the Dalai Lama.”

And the one thing we’re all dying to know: does The Dude prefer crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

Well, that kind of depends on the mood I’m in, you know? Right now as we talk, I think if somebody offered me that, and I had some bread, or some celery, I could do a peanut butter sandwich crunchy or smooth, I think I would go with crunchy peanut butter with the celery. Right now I’m kind of in the mood for celery and some crunchy peanut butter. But next time I might go with the smooth, you know?”

Food for thought, courtesy of The Dude.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

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