Conan O’Brien on the delight of eventually being forgotten

Conan O’Brien on being remembered, or not:

I had a great conversation with Albert Brooks once. When I met him for the first time, I was kind of stammering. I said, you make movies, they live on forever. I just do these late-night shows, they get lost, they’re never seen again and who cares? And he looked at me and he said, [Albert Brooks voice] “What are you talking about? None of it matters.” None of it matters? “No, that’s the secret. In 1940, people said Clark Gable is the face of the 20th Century. Who [expletive] thinks about Clark Gable? It doesn’t matter. You’ll be forgotten. I’ll be forgotten. We’ll all be forgotten.” It’s so funny because you’d think that would depress me. I was walking on air after that.

We all want to be something or do something that endures, that leaves a legacy, that outlives our life. But in the big scheme of things, we are a mere blip. We take up very little space, and our lives twinkle in and out of time in a flash. I am one in seven billion. I will be gone and forgotten soon. So will you.

So, the pressure is off. I don’t need to make a dent in the universe in an effort to be remembered. I should take my shot at making a dent, though, simply because it delights me to give it a go. I’m alive and living in a splendid mystery, so why not play the game I’ve been dropped into?

“You are someone amazing. You are nobody special. The challenge is to hold onto both of those truths at the same time.” –Allison Vesterfelt