House Of Cards –No Spoilers. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on March 16, 2015 by


Who you marry is the most important decision you will make in your life.

Trust me, I did it wrong. My ex was a financial disaster. That’s another thing they don’t prepare you for, retirement. No one is sitting at home, telling you you’ve got to save because you’re gonna outlive your money and social security is not enough and even though you don’t think you’re gonna live forever, it’s gonna be close.

But this marriage thing… We’ve got this inane proposition in the States that you marry for love. What hogwash. I’m beginning to think the Indians have it right, with their arranged marriages. Would you go into the most important decision in your life running on emotion instead of utilizing cold, hard, calculation? If you’re running on your gut, if you make every decision based on how you feel, you’re gonna lose, guaranteed.

As for love… I hate to tell you, everybody can be replaced. Love is situational. And the best place to meet your betrothed is in college. Because graduates’ marriages sustain. That’s what the statistics tell us. So pull yourself up by your bootstraps, finish your higher education, and latch on to someone who takes life as seriously as you do, as opposed to the hottie who swaggers and plays good pool.

And I know all this now, but it’s reinforced by watching this year’s season of “House Of Cards.”

This is how it’s going to be in the future, dropping all the episodes at once, doling out material just doesn’t work in an instant on/on demand culture. We want it all, we want it now, and we want to go deep. That’s what’s so wrong about the pundits talking about a short attention span culture. No, the truth is we have incredible attention spans, if something is great.

And “House Of Cards” is great.

I wondered how they were going to switch it up, just not be repetitive. And they do this by having Frank and Claire not always win.

That’s the way life is. They serve you lemons, and they taste horrible. You’re swallowing and the tough, those who survive and make it, take their medicine but continue to slog on. If you think you can instantly make lemonade, you think you can read “Anna Karenina” in a day, and you can’t, and you should read it, because it’s the best book ever written.

Anyway, Frank and Claire are a team.

You can’t do it alone, no way. Forget your skills, let’s talk about emotions. You’ve got ’em, you need someone to confess to, bounce ideas off of. Someone who has your back and will not only conspire, but has the same interests, and I’m not talking about watching sports, I’m talking about achievement, accomplishment and the aforementioned retirement. There’s a reason spouses can’t testify against each other in court, or why they can exercise this privilege, more accurately, because…

Not that spouses don’t fight. That’s the mark of a great relationship, when you can have a knock-down, drag-out yet make peace thereafter and soldier on. As for those who claim they never argue, their relationships are a joke, that just means someone is not airing their complaints, and a person like this is no good as a partner, because it’s the yin and yang, the push and pull, the compromise that moves you forward. Life is about compromise. You make your argument, you lose some, you win some, and you know that you can cry all you want to but the only person who cares is your spouse, who will ultimately nurse you back to health and tell you to buck up.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t love your partner. But if you know what love is, you’re lying. Hell, at this point I think love is first and foremost commitment, knowing someone will be there for you through thick and thin, because without commitment, you’ve got nothing, no foundation. Sure, you can have fun screwing intermittently, but who are you going to confess to when you find out you’re HIV positive?

No one.

And the thing about marriages is they don’t necessarily end up at the perceived destination. They’re not bullets, or trains, you give it a go and adjust.

But we never hear this lesson.

We just hear about the “Bachelor” and Tinder and a bunch of other crap to take your mind off of what’s important. The truth is the successful don’t waste their time on gossip, unless they profit from it. I’m talking about TMZ/Kardashian gossip. As for business gossip, the world runs on it.

Sure, “House Of Cards” runs on plot twists. But even more it runs on truth, human truth. Little nuggets, aphorisms, are uttered regularly, and you see how the game is played.

And life is a game, get over it. Would you just run out on the baseball field without knowing the rules? Come on. Everybody can win at the game of life if you just hunker down and learn the rules and hone your skills. We hear every day from losers “I can’t do this” and “I can’t do that.” No, you choose not to do this or that and you’re afraid of falling on your face so you don’t put yourself in uncomfortable positions.

I live for art (well, skiing too, read Aleksandar Hemon’s article on the allure of the sport in today’s “New York Times” here:, but somehow people have confused art with marketing and promotion. Sure, there’s a skill in being able to draw attention to something, but it’s the essence that allures. And we’ve now got television shows that will hook us better than any album, keep us paying attention for longer, because those who make them are shooting for the stars and those who pay for them are getting out of the way and letting the creators test limits.

That’s right, creating and paying are two different skills, never forget that.

And they go hand in hand, as a partnership.

So you don’t have to watch “House Of Cards.” If you do, I’d start with the first season, it’s more riveting.

But how are you planning to improve yourself? How are you planning to get ahead? How do you plan to win?

And we all want to win, we’ve all got goals. But very few of us get a manual, very few of get instructions, or we’re myopic or the lessons we receive are incomplete.

But we listen to the rabble-rousers tell us what’s important, we hone our bodies not our minds and get caught in eddies and riptides and when we’re in our forties and our looks start to fade and our choices become prisons we start to have regrets.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Posted in: Bob Lefsetz