A Life Well Lived

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A Life Well Lived
Original Broadcast Date
Ryan Cutrona, Joe Frank
Narrative Monologue, 26 minutes
Preceded by: Reality Check
Followed by: Isolation

He was at a party with his wife.

A Life Well Lived is a radio program produced by Joe Frank and broadcast on KCRW's UnFictional Series. It originally aired on October 4, 2013.


2:30: Joe tells of a fellow at a party with his wife. She converses with another man. He's jealous. She minds.

3:50: Joe tells how much marriage means.

4:20: Joe's living on an island. He describes a couple, 'a young woman in a pink bikini, an orchid behind her ear… Her partner is an older man of declined European elegance, wearing a white linen suit and blue beachcomber shoes, no socks, a gold replica of the Legion of Honor hanging from his neck.'

5:20: A man (Ryan Cutrona), apparently the man Joe sees on the island, talks to the woman.

8:30: Joe recalls when he was 10. They had a friendly nodding acquaintance with a neighbor couple. One day she pounded on his door, shrieking that her husband was trying to kill her. The husband came out, took her back to their apartment. He saw them again the next day, no sign of yesterday's conflict.


'I like love, I loooooove being loved - I love it! I love giving love. I love giving more than I do receiving. But it takes a - you know - it takes a hell of an insight to get me to that point. Kisses are wonderful - it - it's wonderful.'[1]

11:10: Joe recalls a relationship with a former girlfriend, how unhappy he is with how she treats him now.

14:00: Joe recounts a conversation between an old man and his 20-years-younger wife, watching a torrid sex scene on HBO. He says she should be with a younger man. She demurs.

15;20: A man (Ryan Cutrona) quarrels with his wife about his drinking, going into an open house. Then he recounts meeting with the lawyer of someone he ran into while driving. Then he complains to his wife about her perfume, her jewelry, the classes she makes him go to, the men who pay attention to her.

17:30: Another man (Ryan Cutrona): 'I'm a fairy. I'll never forget it. You're flirting with that little forward man with the freckles, remember, his tiny little mustache, his oily hair.'

18:00: [Joe] 'Is there anyone here who respects failure who admires misguided effort and fragmentation?'

18:20: Sitting on his terrace looking at the ocean Joe sees some people in a sailboat. He imagines meeting them at a surfside bar, partying, then fighting.


'I'm surrounded by fossils, skeletons, and stuffed animals. I can't find the eye of my own hurricane. The heightening of my sense of smell has led me to the loss of my ability for abstract thought. Saw a dust mote floating in the sunlight by my window and imagined it was a world in which someone else was looking at a dust mote in which yet another world existed: boxes within boxes - everyone thinking the same thing, 'Oh, infinity: When will you stop?'

'crib, stroller, teddy bear, doll's house, rollerskate, schoolbook, field hockey stick, soccer ball, vinyl boot, visored cap, megaphone, birth control pill, pregnancy stick, high school yearbook, graduation gown, love letter, airline ticket, Puerto Vallarta, wedding picture, golf club, ping pong table, swimming pool, striped umbrella, Visa bill, motel receipt, tear-soaked handkerchief, divorce papers, antidepressant, sleeping pill, hair dye, wrinkle cream, singles' dinner, self-help book, playing card, domino, laxative, cane, walker, wheelchair, oxygen tank, hospital bed, morphine drip, death certificate, coffin, tombstone: a life well lived'

[Ryan Cutrona] 'I need to ask you and you must do it for me. I cannot live to give up yourself, to become another person voluntarily, willfully, and dutifully legally. Just transmute, transform, and become another. Take a new name, move to new country, get new citizenship. Change your fingerprints. Change everything, your facial recognition features. Change everything medically and change psychologically, to go to clinic. Change your mind. Take the plunge. Stop being who you are for god's sake.'

[Joe] 'The search for the divine can lead you to unexpected places it might begin at a Bob's Big Boy while eating breakfast to celebrate the hiring of the new regional sales manager there are five people at the table: two brand managers, an account executive, a merchandising manager and the district sales coordinator and everyone is eating a huge hungry man's breakfast with eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, muffins, and grits, the waitress repeatedly returning to freshen the coffee cups, adding an element of unpredictability and threatening the psychic architecture of the situation and creating an emotional house of cards causing everyone to nervously and feverishly add sugar and cream to their coffees, the moment of crisis coming when the district sales coordinator covers his cup only to have the waitress pour the scalding coffee on the back of his hand because she's been distracted by handsome young man with shoulder length blond hair who's just entered the restaurant and glanced her way.

A man (Ryan Cutrona) 'I think I'd really prefer to end our relationship and just say it's over it's been weird but good and it's been joyous although painful. It's been fun but very stressful. It's been a very mind-expanding and an ignoramus's dream. It's been sanctified and it's been sinful. And so I would just like to say, 'Goodbye, good luck, sweet dreams, God bless, good life, safe travel, all the best, um… May the wind always be at your back; may the sun shine in your life. 'Til next time: it's been fun, good travels, good riddance. Adios! Vamoose! Basta! Vencermos! (unintelligible) Hasta manana! Hasta spumante! (unintelligible) (Laughter)'

Legacy Synopsis

A program about personal fragmentation and the hardships of love.


Additional credits

External links


  1. First used in To The Bar Life, also in Love Is and Where Will It End?