Recipe for a Perfect Day - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Recipe for a Perfect Day

Drive out to Malibu with your dog, Julie Goodgirl, magnificent German short-haired pointer. Stop at The Duck for a very rare hangar steak. Watch football at the bar as I eat it. Learn that the Redskins are in the playoffs.

Get home. Go through mail and see that I still have some money left after a lifetime of extravagance. Pay a few bills at the 25-year-old dining table. Look at the floor to ceiling windows and see a  perfect sunset.

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Notice that it changes every few minutes and the sun gets redder and redder and sends up sunbeams behind the oaks.


Lie in bed with Julie. Listen to the waves crashing about 500 yards below. Fall asleep remembering kind friends who visited me in Malibu over the 25 years I have owned this house. The least pricey home with a view on good geology that I could find in 1990. Look at a few stubs of colored tape that an old and dear friend used to hang balloons for my birthday back in 1990. Her daughter just got into Harvard and I am happy for her.


Go back to sleep.

Get up. Drink some tomato soup from Pavilions.

Make a fire with some dry wood that I have been curing in my living room for years. Watch it start and burn and flare with hissing, crackling noises. Turn off the lights. Lie down with a thin blanket over me. Listen to Julie snore a few feet away. Watch the stars come out over the ocean. Watch the airplanes fly by.


Feel the warmth of the fire. Occasionally add a log.

Don’t think about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or terrorism or mortality. Don’t think at all. Just recall the names and faces of those I love: my wife, my son and his family, my sister. Then those who took care of me. My parents. Mr. Nixon. Every man and woman who fought to keep me alive and free. Maybe now start to think. Think of the blessings of my wife, of never ending food. Air conditioning. My dog. The blessedly kind people of America who treated me with dignity. The gifts of peace through a 12-step program. Not being enslaved to drugs and alcohol.

Peace and freedom. Then, slowly wake up, load my fat old self and my dog into my eight-year-old car, watch the stars over Pacific Coast Highway as I drive next to the crashing waves, watch the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier. Get home.


Make hot dogs with cheese for my wife and me. Get an e-mail from a real estate agent fifty years of age who wonders who my street, “Churchill Lane,” is named for. “Was he a President or what?”

Watch COPS and feel gratitude for the men and women who keep us alive and free from domestic terrorism day by day.

Pray with my wife. Read the Mourner’s Kaddish for my parents, whom I will always mourn. Turn off the lights.

Get in bed with Julie. Listen to the rain. Watch the lights of the swimming pool reflect off the water and onto my ceiling.

God bless America. Good night.


Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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