Esquire. what i’ve learned: jack nicholson

They’re prescription. That’s why I wear them. A long time ago, the Middle American in me may have thought it was a bit affected maybe. But the light is very strong in southern California. And once you’ve experienced negative territory in public life, you begin to accept the notion of shields. I am a person who is trained to look other people in the eye. But I can’t look into the eyes of everyone who wants to look into mine; I can’t emotionally cope with that kind of volume. Sunglasses are part of my armor.

I hate advice unless I’m giving it.

I hate giving advice, because people won’t take it.

I love discourse. I’m dying to have my mind changed. I’m probably the only liberal who read Treason, by Ann Coulter. I want to know, you understand? I like listening to everybody. This to me is the elixir of life.

I don’t think many people have a very good understanding of leisure and the importance it plays in our lives. People today are too competitive about leisure, as if it needs to have some other value in order to be able to fit into our puritanical view of the world. But if you’re playing golf to get a loan, it ain’t golf, you know what I mean?

I was particularly proud of my performance as the Joker. I considered it a piece of pop art.

The camera photographs what’s there.

Right now, I’m upset because I was supposed to have the weekend to play golf. I just flnished, like, two straight years of work. I thought I’d take some time for myself. I flgured that this weekend I’d be able to get out there on the golf course. And then, boom! There goes my hamstring. And here’s the rub: Rather than just give myself a break and say, “Okay, you have every excuse in the world to lay on your ass this weekend and watch the ball games,” I have to be a Calvinist. I have to complain: “Son of a bitch! I’m here. I’m inside. When’s the hammie gonna get better? I’ve already tested it too early and hurt it again. How long is it gonna take to heal? Have I already ruined the next two weeks?”

After September 11, I held my tongue. All of the public positions had been taken – for, against, good, evil. I had nothing more to add. So I thought, Bring in the clowns, you know what I mean? That’s why I’ve done a coupla years’ worth of comedies.

I’m pretty well ashamed of this, but I only read the sports pages.

The fuel for the sports fan is the ability to have private theories.

I’ve always thought basketball was the best sport, although it wasn’t the sport I was best at. It was just the most fun to watch. I always said, “Batman and basketball. Night games and night comics.” Even as a kid it appealed to me. The basketball players were out at night. They had great overcoats. There was this certain nighttime juvenile-delinquent thing about it that got your blood going.

I’m the age where we didn’t have television as kids. So when I saw my nieces and nephews watching Howdy Doody, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and so forth, I thought the world had gone mad.

If you think about those old shows, they all had puppets. And somehow I think, symbolically speaking, that has contributed to a generational lack of ability to accept personal responsibility. It’s why the baby boomers are such conspiracy theorists and I’m not. It’s why everybody thinks we went to Iraq to get the oil and I don’t. I see that as a minor, symbolic generational difference that all adds up to mass movements. People are so frustrated. They don’t want to take responsibility for their failures. There’s always an excuse, you know?

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Esquire. what i’ve learned: jack nicholson