Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Truths Learned from Matlock

I usually tell my friends that I'm an 80 year-old trapped in the body of a 30 year-old. Mostly this is based on my taste in television (Matlock, 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, Antiques Roadshow, old Britcoms that air on Public Television) and my proclivity for saying "I'm too old for that" and then deciding to stay in at home rather than get dressed up to go out and do whatever the young folks do these days (did I mention I'm actually 80?).  

Growing up, one of my favorite shows was, and still remains, Matlock. You really can't beat a sassy Andy Griffith, in a snazzy grey suit, solving mysteries! Thus follows my Truths Learned from the television show Matlock.

Matlock: The Fourth Season
  • Surround yourself with people you trust.

Ben Matlock had the best of the best working with him, and he put his life (and the lives of his clients) in their hands.  How I use this: I make sure the people I have in my life are ones I can trust as well. So often friends (especially growing up) are friends of convenience, but at this stage in my life I'm privileged to be able to choose those I spend time with.  

  • What seems obvious sometimes isn't always what is actually the truth.

Matlock's clients would appear to have every bit of evidence pointing straight at them, but Matlock knew to dig deeper to see the big picture, not just the easy one that was first presented to him.  How I use this: I try to remember that the easy route isn't always the best route and I try to keep in mind that there can be a lot of things I don't know about a given situation.  

  • Pay attention to the details.

It's Matlock's attention to the details that helped him win (almost) every case. How I use this: I try to keep in mind the important things whether I'm working on a project, trying to brainstorm what gift to get a friend, or thinking of ways I can help those around me. Sometimes the littlest detail can make the biggest difference and brighten someone's day. 

  • Always trust your gut.

The evidence didn't always surface right away about his clients (usually on trial for murder), but Matlock had a great way of trusting himself to know when a client's story rang true. How I use this: The older I get the more I realize that there's something within each of us that helps guide us toward what's best (and I do my best to listen to it). 

  • A little ribbing and friendly competition can sometimes bring people together.

Ben Matlock and A.D.A. Julie March always had an interesting professional and personal dynamic.  Though they were on opposite sides of the courtroom, they often worked together to find out the truth and catch the (correct) bad guy. They definitely didn't agree all of the time, but I think that helped strengthen their relationship (and getting a courthouse food cart hot dog together after the cases wrapped up didn't hurt either). How I use this: I won't always think exactly like the person next to me, or even my closest friends and family members, but that diversity of thought and discussion of differences can help strengthen those relationships and can help me grow.  

  • If you feel like you're being followed you probably are, so keep checking that rear-view mirror.

I know this one is a bit literal, but hey, it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. 

  • A good grey suit is timeless.

I just love Matlock's closet full of several hangers filled with the same grey suit.  How I use this: find a style that works for you, something you feel comfortable in, and stick with it. You can't go wrong with the classics (solids, polka dots, and simple classic cuts), but it should be whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. 

  • Good banjo and guitar playing, along with a friendly sing-along, is a great way to end the day.

Nothing wrapped up an episode like Matlock's guitar pickin' and singing, and you could see that he liked sharing that.  How I use this: Find something you love and share it with those around you.

First: are there any other Matlock fans out there? Second: if yes (Hooray! Let's hang out sometime--I've got the first 5 seasons on DVD we can watch!) - what truths have you learned? And for the rest of you, are there any other television shows you get nostalgic about?

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