Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

What Is Best In Life?

with one comment

Back in California I once took a bike trip down the coast with a buddy.

We stayed in campsites at night and sampled the local food along the way.

I can’t express the exhilaration one feels when they are on a bicycle miles from anything familiar, surrounded by sea cliffs, and coasting down a steep hill on Pacific Coast Highway, keeping pace with the motorists while feeling the sea breeze. It’s incredible.

People talk to you on a trip like that. When you cruise through their town with windblown hair, having not showered, and obviously in no hurry to get anywhere. So I made the habit of  surveying strangers along the road about their thoughts on a simple question.

What is Best in Life?

At the time I thought the half remembered query was something I had learned of in my study of Talmudic Judaism. Rabbis used to ask one another philosophical questions and gauge where they stood on important issues, this was similar. I’d probably plagiarized it.

And it worked, people opened up. At lease some people did. Some people had fascinating stories and lifestyles and philosophies. Some people were boring and gave vague non answers like “love” or “happiness” that they didn’t care to expound on.

But the best answer, my favorite answer came from the owner of a Mexican bakery in Carpinteria.

“What is best?” I said philosophically. “You mean… here?” she responded, in a thick Mexican accent, as if unsure her English was doing the question justice “No” said I “…in life. What is best in life?”

“OOOOHHHhh in life!” she said “Ina all life?”

“Yes, What is best in all of life?”

She stared off to her right for a moment, and then gestured emphatically with her left hand.


It was funny at first. but the truth is that that’s very deep. That woman has it figured out. She knows what’s best in life, and she got it, and built a life around it, and now she keeps it just in front of her and to her left where she sells it for 65 cents to anyone interested.

What about for you? What do you think is best in life?



PS: Yes, I bought a tamal. Yes, it was delicious.


Written by RyanGaffney

March 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. There are many, many directions an answer to this question could take. However, as a hardcore foodie myself, I’ll say this:

    Sea Salt Caramels

    I really think sea salt caramels are not only what is best in life, but might actually be the number one answer to all the world’s primary problems. I mean, think about it for a second. How could heads of state and presidents and evil dictators and parliaments and congresses possibly decide to wage war on their own countrymen and against “enemy” nations when they’re consuming homemade, rich, gooey, golden caramels, hand-dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crunchy crystals of delicately flavored sea salt? Seriously, how? I really don’t think they could.

    I think the private chefs of the world’s leaders need to check out my blog, whip up a batch, and then feed them to their leaders while their leaders call for summit meetings with other world leaders. I think world peace would be achieved by the end of the week.


    March 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: