The Duer Principle

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When I was in college I roomed with a guy named Paul Duer.

A quirky, angular guy from Long Island, Paul immediately became one of my favorite people. On the basketball court, he hucked deep shots from all angles—making, oh, 60 percent of them. In the apartment, he turned everything into a game: Who can toss the most bottle-caps into the garbage cab. How many tiles are on the ceiling. How many Jets named Ed can you cite. When I was editor of the college newspaper, I hired Paul to do a weekly Top 10 list of eclectic, random stuff. Top 10 NFL Busts. Top 10 Hot Cartoon Characters. They were always funny and insightful.

What I came to admire most about Paul was his life philosophy. We were 20 … 21 at the time, and most collegiates don’t have life philosophies beyond eat … drink … sex … eat. But Paul did. I still remember him saying the words, which have stuck with me like gold: “It’s all about the story,” he said.

What?

“Life is all about the stories.”

The words resonated. Still resonate. Paul is now a lawyer … married, with a great son. He remains one of my closest friends, and—16 years after graduating from Delaware—he continues to uphold his ideal. Paul does things—travels to cool places; takes his son to Lake Placid on a luge; eats the weirdest foods—because, in the aftermath, there’s always a great story to tell. And tell. And tell. As the Tao of Paul goes, while the moments are often remarkable, it’s the retelling of life events that evoke true elation.

My best example (in relation to Paul) was written about here—our so-called gay New Year experience, when we found ourselves unexpectedly at a party with all gay men. It was funny, interesting, cool … but, all told, it lasted for three hours. I have retold that tale, however, at least 100 times. And always have fun doing so.

So live your life to the fullest, and remember everything.

The story is better than the event.

4 thoughts on “The Duer Principle”

  1. I love that philosophy! It reminds me of the Murray quote from Stripes about why he always lost girls to men in uniform. “It the stories that you tell”. The Duer Principle may in fact change my life. After I read that it was like a slap in the face. Simplicity is bliss. Thanks Jeff and Mr. Duer.

  2. Kevin: Just watched that scene last night from stripes, mainly for Harold Ramis’s facial expressions while John Candy is explaining why he joined the army. Not the whole movie, just that scene.

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