About Marv

Marv RubinsteinSome personal history plagiarized from a booklet I gave out during my recent 85th birthday party at Yosemite National Park.

NICE JEWISH BOY MAKES GOOD

–– OR DOES HE?

... and pity us all,Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.For of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

John Greenleaf Whittier

Hubert Horatio Humphrey served as Mayor of Minneapolis, MN for two terms, as a beloved and much admired U.S. Senator for well over twenty years and as our Vice-President for five years. In 1968, he ran for the presidency against Richard Nixon and unfortunately lost, defeated by less than 1% of the popular vote. When he died at the age of 67, one would think that, during his last year or two, he would have looked back on a very successful and exciting career, a lively and productive life well spent. I think not. I strongly suspect that he considered himself a failure, having seen his lifelong goal, being President of the United States, slip through his fingers. Perhaps the same might be said of Al Gore.

As an octogenarian, while evaluating the success or failure of my eighty-five years on earth, I often think of the fate of Hubert Humphrey. Was he a success or a failure? Should I consider myself a success or a failure? A daunting question.

When I was in my late teens, if you had asked me what I wanted to be, I would have courageously answered that I hoped to achieve three aims — becoming a U.S. Senator; being hailed as a successful author and becoming a multimillionaire. No humble lad, I. And why not? I had always been head of the class in grammar school and both school President and Valedictorian in my senior year at high school. This was followed by admission to a prominent university –– Cornell –– with three scholarships to my credit. I had a bright and promising future ahead. Or did I?

Well. I never became a Senator. I did dabble in politics for several years while in my twenties, but the highest position I ever achieved was as an Alternate Delegate to the national Progressive Party convention which nominated Henry Wallace. He lost. I ultimately had to admit that politics was not my forté. I was too determined an advocate, inflexible and unwilling to make the compromises a successful political career apparently demands.

I did become an author, having published to date two engineering books, a book of humor entitled Net-Wit.com, a memoir on three years I spent in Israel fifty-five years ago, entitled Feather in my Yarmulke, and a book on the American language. Only the last –– The American English Compendium –– was successful, having gone through three editions and having sold over 10,000 copies. Not too bad for a specialty book, but miniscule as compared to book sales by Hilary Clinton or John Grisham. My first novel, Womanizer, “Knowing” Wonderful Women and Now You’re Cookin’––with Tea, a cookbook on the use of tea as an ingredient both came out a few months ago.

I have had articles published in the New York Times, the Japan Times and the Village Voice and over one hundred articles in engineering, marketing and language journals. While my writing and publishing activities were gratifying, none of them achieved sufficient circulation or acclaim to result in my being hailed as a successful author.

Only in the third area did I “succeed,” but only modestly. I have for many years been a multimillionaire. Unfortunately, the meaning of that term has changed since I was eighteen. My early concept of being a multimillionaire was to achieve the status of a Bill Gates or a Donald Trump. My being a multimillionaire today provides a life of comfort, security and numerous luxuries. I drive a Mercedes, live in a lovely Manhattan apartment, own a condo in Maui, travel frequently and eat in gourmet restaurants –– as do so many others with a similar financial status. I understand that my assets and income put me into the top 1 1/2 percent of the population. If true, however, since the population of the United States is over 300 million, there are at least five million others in the same boat. Big deal!

Pretty meager returns when I think of the aspirations of my youth. If I dwell only on the failures to reach my teenage goals, I can only conclude that I have been a failure. I have squandered my talents, sold out my life for a mess of pottage. So much for the power of negative thinking.

On the other hand, if I look at my life as a whole and tote up a myriad of less pretentious aims, I have not done half bad. I have studied both chemical engineering and law and am a member of the New York Bar. My career as an engineer and an entrepreneur was fruitful. For over twenty-five years, I owned and was Chairman of the Board of a small but well-known international company, Selectrons, Ltd. We had factories in Connecticut, England and Sweden and sales offices in New York and several different parts of the world. The company for many years provided the principal support for over 100 employees and their families. Mine was one of the first small companies to achieve millions of dollars of exports, contributing in our small way to lowering the U.S. trade deficit.

In the publication field, as previously noted, I have had seven books published, including two this year, a novel and a cookbook. For several years each, I published two newsletters, one entitled Tea Timers and the other called The Affable Curmudgeon. Leonard Lopate interviewed me on WNYC radio to discuss my American English Compendium. This book has gone through three editions and has become a perennial, widely selling to interpreters, translators, writers, editors and publishers, who place it on their bookshelves next to the dictionary and thesaurus. Gene Shalit interviewed me on NBC television about my Tea Timers newsletter, covering the trials and tribulations of tea lovers and aficionados in a coffee-loving world.

My primary residence is my beloved New York City, but I have lived in Israel for three years, in London for one, in Bangkok for six months and in Carmel, CA for two years, where I served as an Adjunct Professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. (My wife Chie was getting her M.A. in Translation and Interpretation there.) As International Sales Manager for my company, I have traveled to over 70 countries and 49 American States, many on numerous occasions. I know well and feel at home in most of the world’s major cities, and am particularly familiar with their finest cuisines.

While traveling on business, I took time off to visit all easily accessible places of interest. You name it, and I have probably been there. I have friends all over the world, some of whom are here today. My 80th birthday party in Paris was attended by guests from as far away as Australia, Israel, Japan and Thailand. On this, my 85th birthday party at Yosemite National Park, you will find tablemates from England, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

On a personal level, I have been married twice, both times to lovely women. My first wife, Ruth, now a Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, was Israeli. My second and last (I hope), Chie, a professional Translator and Interpreter, is Japanese. During my single days, I had the good fortune to spend time with many charming and interesting ladies, both in the United States and abroad. Some are still friends; a few are present today. In the words of Cyrano, “I have loved, lusted, won and lost, sung and wept.”

Best of all, I have three amazing children and two wonderful grandchildren. My oldest son, Jonathan, at the age of 49, retired last year as Senior Vice-President of Apple Computer. He recently re-emerged as the Executive Chairman of Palm. My second son, Jay, is a prominent physician and surgeon, known the world over for his profound knowledge in his specialty, otolaryngology. He also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and manages a research facility at the University of Washington dealing with hearing difficulties. Breaking the pattern, my daughter, Sari, is in show business. She is a singer and musician, but also runs late night parties. Attended by over a thousand young people, each Rubulad party provides entertainment experiences for young actors, singers and musicians. Sari is now the hostess with the mostest. Bottom line, and extremely important, in a world where children and parents are often estranged, I think of all my offsprings as friends.

Icing on the cake. Among the young, I have suddenly become a celebrity. Jonathan headed the Apple team that developed the iPod. He can rightly be called “the father of the iPod.” When kids hear that I am the grandfather of the iPod, I suddenly become the center of attention.

So, while I never became a U.S. Senator, a renowned author or a super-multimillionaire, I have led a very exciting and productive life. On my virtual tombstone (I plan on being cremated), you might engrave, “HE ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE.” It’s been a wonderful life –– and it’s not over yet.

Success or failure? Take your choice. I am 85 years old, in reasonably good health, have a beautiful young wife, great kids and grandkids (Joanne and David) and am still very active. And productive. After duly weighing the arguments on both sides, I have reached a conclusion:

I AM A SUCCESS.

And yet, and yet . . .

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