Chapter 10 Summary
In “The Third Tuesday: We Talk About Regrets,” Albom once again returns to Morrie’s home with food. This time he has also brought a tape recorder. He hopes to record Morrie’s lessons, but then he worries that he has introduced an invasive and foreign object into their intimate discussions. However, Morrie explains that he welcomes the tape recorder because he wants to share his life with Mitch.
Their conversation turns to regrets, and Morrie explains that many people focus on certain things without realizing they should be pursuing other goals as well. This is why people need teachers and mentors—to help them keep track of what they have not been paying attention to. It seems that this is the role that Albom needs Morrie to fill. On one of his flights to Boston, he begins sketching out the conflicts, or the tension of opposites, that make up his life. Should he embrace tradition or reject it? Should he satisfy others or satisfy himself? Albom points out that there is an entire economy of self-help books, television shows, and counselors available to Americans, but he does not consider them meaningful. Instead, he thinks Morrie has gained a clear vision of his values now that he is facing death, and he realizes that he wants to gain as much from his professor as he can, which is why he is glad to be able to record his conversations with Morrie.
Morrie suggests that the American culture does not encourage people to think about their regrets. Albom suggests that this may be why the country seems so lost in comparison to what Albom describes as Morrie’s “mystical” clarity. He recalls his time in the airport during August after the air conditioning has gone off. Everyone looks ready to kill someone, even though they are really only a little uncomfortable. In contrast, Morrie is dying yet he maintains a positive, caring attitude. Even though there are many self-help books in America, there is still a need for a great teacher like Morrie.
The second part of “The Third Tuesday: We Talk About Regrets” discusses Albom as he approaches his graduation. He had taken so many classes with Morrie that he has nearly earned a major in sociology. At his professor’s prompting, he decides to do a thesis at the end of his program. He chooses to write about the rituals and social interactions inherent in American sports. At the end of the semester, he shyly and proudly presents his work to his professor, who suggests that young Mitch should consider graduate school. Although Albom admits he is attracted to the idea, he declines.