A Lesson from Magnum, P.I.

MagnumPI_TSHere are the things I like about Thomas Sullivan Magnum, Private Investigator.

I like the ineffable cheer with which he greets everyone from a set of prickly guard dogs to a bunch of street thugs: “Hi, guys!”

I like that he doesn’t mind wearing the same shirts over and over–he’s been wearing the same King Kamehameha tank top for five seasons running now, or that nasty Army-green tank top, or one of what seems to be the same five Hawaiian shirts.

I like that he surf-skis, and doesn’t always compete to win.

I like that he talks to us.

I like that he’s writing a book.

I like that he puts friendship above a lot.

I like that he eats popcorn for dinner.

But of all these things, I love the most the fact that he drops literary references just often enough for us to be reminded that he is, after all, a smart, well-read little dooby.

magnumdashiell

Magnum as Dashiell! Two favorites in one! It’s like the Reese’s peanut butter cups of television shows!

Off the top of my head, Magnum has quoted Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, and Agatha Christie; and he dressed up as one of my favorites, Dashiell Hammett, for a 1920s party one episode.

This, like so many other things, reminds me of what I like about most of my friends. I can like a lot about each of them, but it’s almost always the idea that there is something unusual about each of them that makes them stick out in my head as individuals.

Larry has a bizarre obsession with Lonesome Dove. Alan loves to cross-country ski. Mr. Gooddirt has a really strange obsession with death metal. Aileen adores dogs, and, like me, makes up voices for animals; and Bill, although a buttoned-up , three-piece-suit-wearing entrepreneur on the outside, is internally driven to pursue waves and slopes whenever he can.

This is also what I like most about my work colleagues, and networking. What a joy, to find out something unusual about someone you only know through work!

Sure, these things may lead to friendship. But they don’t have to. Often, it’s enough just to know something interesting about the folks that  populate your life. After all, if you don’t think your personal life, or your personality, affects the business decisions you make, or your work methodology, you’re missing out on a key part of life.

What’s one thing that people don’t usually know about you? Tell me in the comments below. I’ll go first: I also make up voices for inanimate objects. Right now, at this very moment, my houseplants are talking to me. 😀

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Writer, editor, general crazy-pants.

9 Responses to A Lesson from Magnum, P.I.
  1. I’m obsessed with the color orange and if something I need is available in that color, that’s the one I get. You should see my orange ice cube trays.

    I’ll give you one of John’s: He can recite every (yes, every) line from every episode of Magnum. Try him some time.

  2. Amalia says:

    I too have a cutey voice for animals but it sometimes turns into a scarey physco sounding voice ’cause the cuteness of the animals drives me to madness!

  3. Amalia says:

    PS: Tom Selleck was “HOT!!!!” in his day. Not a mustache lover, personally but the dimples, his loyalty to friends and his easy going and approachable manner as Magnum PI just made him all the more desirable. Remember him in Friends?!!?!!?

  4. Dave says:

    A few people know this and now you my friend;
    when I was 15 I tired of the constant rules of my father, I ran away and joined the Carnival, followed by two tears of adventure and … to be followed by joining the Army for 20 years. Did I mention I ran away because of too many rules. hahahahahahahaha

    PS : I have seen every episode of Magnum PI, and snorkeled in the cover where T. J . kept his helicopter. (Really a university of Hawaii oceanography station)

  5. Alison says:

    I know you know I garden. But did you know that I said a teary goodbye to my raspberry bushes in WP? I actually thanked them for their years of giving me yummy berries. FREAK!

    • Yi Shun Lai says:

      I love this story and will never get tired of hearing it. Raspberry bushes are prickly things. Did they say anything back, potentially make some barbed replies? BWA HA HAHAohnevermind. :)

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