From: "Talking with David Frost", 1977
David: Do you in a sense, feel that, resignation was worse than death?
"In some ways... uh I didn't feel it in terms that uh, uh the popular uh mythologists about this, uh era, uh write, that uh, well resignation is so terrible that I better go out and fall on a sword, or, uh take a gun and shoot myself, or this that or the other thing, I wasn't about to do that, I never think in those terms, suicidal terms, death wish, and all that. that's all just, just bunk.
But, uh, on the other hand, uh . . . I feel myself, uh, that life without purpose, uh, I feel that life, in which an individual has to-is forced to go against his intuitions, about what he thinks he oughta do, uh, that life then becomes almost unbearable.
And so resignation meant life without purpose, as far as I was concerned. I had nothing more to contribute, to the causes I'd so deeply believed in.
And also I felt that uh, uh, resignation . . . uh, meant that I would be, uh, in a position of ah, uh, not having really anything to live for, uh, and related to the fact that it was life without purpose, not having anything to live for, uh, that uh, it could be uh, a very very, uh, uh, . . . shattering experience, which it has been, and it to a certain extent still is.
But Y-You see people, the the average person, and I understand this, I'm, I do not consider myself to be other than an average person, none of us should really. . . we all think we're, a little smarter than we are...but,, you feel, that, that gee isn't it just great to, you know, to have enough money to afford to live in a very nice house, and to be able to play golf, and to uh, uh, have uh, nice parties, uh, and to wear good clothes, and shoes, and suits, etcetera etcetera etcetera, or travel if you want to...and the answer is, uh, if you don't have those things, then they can mean a great deal to you. When you do have them, they mean nothing to you.
To me, the unhappiest people of the world, are those in the watering places, the international watering places, like uh, uh the South coast of France, and Newport, and Palm Springs, and Palm Beach, going to parties every night, playing golf every afternoon, then bridge, drinking too much, talking too much, thinking too little, retired, no purpose....
And so while I know there are those who totally would disagree with this and say "gee, boy if i could just be a millionaire, that would be the most wonderful thing. If I could just not have to work every day, if I could just be out fishing or hunting or playing golf or traveling, that'd be the most wonderful life in the world," . . . They don't know life
Because what makes life mean something is purpose, the goal, the battle, the struggle, even if you don't win it!
I know a lot of people, I can understand, that say gee whiz it just isn't fair, you know, for an individual to uh be uh, get off with a pardon, uh, simply because he happens to be president, . . . and another individual uh goes to trial, and maybe has to serve a prison sentence for it, uh, I can understand how they feel. uh, I can only say that uh. . . noone in the world, noone in our history, could know how I felt. Noone could know how it feels to resign the presidency of the United States.
Is that punishment enough? oh probably not. "