While we're all busy going about our tiny mortal lives, Oprah is doing some weird shit over there on OWN. Seriously, Lindsay is the most regular thing that network has ever done. Case in point: Lifeclass with Bret Michaels — the most profound hour and fifteen minutes ever released as an online extra, in which noted expert of life (seriously, though, the guy has been through some stuff) Bret Michaels expounds upon his personal roses and thorns, fields questions from people who might be well served by seeking out a mental health professional, and promotes his terrible new single, "A Beautiful Soul."
In the words of viewer Jen, "So great to see this icon from our youth has transitioned so beautifully to an incredible life coach." (!!!!!!!!!!!) I could paraphrase some of the wisdom imparted during this momentous event, but I think it's most powerful to let the man's words speak for themselves. Eat your heart out, Iyanla!
On Medicines: "I've learned in my life that, you know when people talk about one of the best medicines in life, right — besides insulin…insulin is good! — one of the best lessons I've ever learned in my life, truly, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, is laughter."
On Brain Hemorrhages: "You know, when they're operating on your brain, it's not a lot of fun."
On the Profoundly Obvious: "You know you come to crossroads in your life, things in your life you hit that are absolutely going to stop you…or you're going to continue."
On Being a Language Innovator: "I have a self-proclaimed word I use called 'drealist.' And as a drealist, that is a dreamer…and a realist. And that is my biggest blessing."
On the Benefits of Community: "I tell this to everybody, surround yourself with great people. It takes a village to make things awesome."
On Earned Wisdom: "All of us are teachers. All of us have our cross to bear. We've all been through a roller coaster of a ride."
On Psychic Abilities: "I don't want you to think I'm having a moment as a medium, here."
On His Wig: "I feel blessed to be comfortable in my skin."
On Vocabulary: "Heighth."
On Aging: "Oooh God, no one wants to see me, especially me, in a pair of spandex now."
On Passion and Perseverance: "If I would not have made it and been able to do this as a profession, I woulda still got up every weekend and gone out and karaoke sang. I woulda played guitar till people booed me off the stage."
On Being the Number One Halloween Costume Three Years Running: "It was bittersweet, because…this is the way I look."
On ????????: "Don't ever, ever give up on a dream. With the dream starts to go the crack of hope."
On Making "Drealist" Happen: "I'm gonna be a drealist first, okay?"
On O: "Trust me, when Oprah heard I was gonna be here, she left Chicago."
On Opportunity: "But in my life, in life class, opportunity does not knock itself…what I'm saying is when you're…when you're doing something and it hits…they don't come… no one comes running…the things they make in the movies are a lie."
On Diabeetus: "I know I say that word incorrectly."
On Mortality: "In that hospital, for me, all I could do, as being part of a fighter, is every time someone told me I can't do something it makes me fight more. Now I know, one day, that we all, that…that…that day comes, right? That day comes. With you [counsel-seeking audience member], I feel like, even though…are [your] kidneys failed?"
On Learning that the Kidneys Are Less than 10% Functioning: "Okay, so that's bad. I'm not going to lie."
On Life Coaching Someone Who Has Stopped Dreaming Because Her Kidneys Are Less than 10% Functioning: "Please…help. I need help here."
On Emotions: "My eyeliner's smearing!"
On Connections: "All of us have to make an effort to contact. Let's exchange numbers."
On 21st Century Skills: "My life coaching is good, my sense of modern technology is not."
On Small Mercies: "Most of the music that I wrote never sees the light of day."
On Rolling with the Punches: "This is not the beer I ordered, by the way." [Drinks beer.]
On a Photo of His Kids: "Rain's teeth are great, a little jacked up, we get them fixed up, all right...My kids have taught me unconditional love."
On Statistical Odds: "You will miss, I guarantee it, 1000 of the shots you take if you never take them. I guarantee you'll probably make 50 of them at least if you try."
On Lifeclass with Bret Michaels: "And with the day and age that we live in now, with the internet, there's nothing we can't do."
Through it all, Bret showed a genuine ability to connect with the audience (which did seem to be stocked with fans), as well as legit empathy for audience members seeking his counsel, many of whom were battling personal tragedy or serious illness (see above re: kidneys). He looks pretty much the same at 51, with a bandana around his weave (and, I believe, stuffed into his pants) and facial hair that may or may not have been painted on.
Yes, he tended to fall back on clichés (sometimes prefacing them by saying, "I'm not good at generic terms") but also talked up the virtues of plain old hard work, grit, and not taking yourself too seriously. And since he almost died like 16 times (brain hemorrhage, heart surgery, emergency appendectomy, diabeetus, intimate exposure to Rock of Love contestants and Donald Trump), he has some perspective on when life does and doesn't suck.
Bret treated us to a few fun facts, like how he refused to be a 1986 throwback on Rock of Love (and credits the amazing women on the show for its success), that he wrote "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" in a laundromat, and how Poison had the foresight (or dumb luck) to hold on to their publishing ("…At 32 million records later, it didn't suck"). We also got to repeatedly experience his magical manner of sitting on a stool — a balletic waddle/squat that was readily admired by the two retired strippers in the front row.
There were also occasional hints that this might be more than a one-time thing — a message of hope for the drealist in us all.