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Thursday, October 6, 2011
Current Affairs ...

There’s a cute little advice-column parody at the end of The Atlantic mag, called “What’s Your Problem” by Jeffrey Goldberg. In the October issue, Goldberg presents himself with a mock question about how to come up with a “things I want to do before I die” list, given all the choices that a young, rich person might have. Goldberg’s mock advice was to come up with a reverse list, i.e. things you definitely do NOT want to do during your lifetime. He then posted 25 items that would appear on his own list. I thought I would comment on some of them.

1.) Climb Mount Everest
2.) See any movie or read any book about self-actualizing rich people who climb Mount Everest
3.) See that movie about the guy who cuts off his arm in a ravine that isn’t even on Mount Everest

COMMENT: So far I’m totally in synch with Goldberg. I have no intention of seeing 127 Hours either. I like hiking, but not that extreme stuff.

10.) Collateralize a debt obligation

COMMENT: Best to avoid debt obligations in the first place

12.) Colon cleanse

COMMENT: It just gets dirty again anyway, and fast. Pretty much like house cleaning.

15.) Create a coat of arms for my family

COMMENT: I agree, coats of arms are over-rated.

18.) Play golf

COMMENT: On a nice day, I’d rather be hiking, myself. But not hiking under big boulders.

19.) Make love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape

COMMENT: I don’t like pina coladas either, nor getting caught in the rain (ditto for Rupert Holmes and ‘Escape’).

20.) Swim with dolphins, because swimming with dolphins means swimming in dolphin s . . .

COMMENT: So true! Most people don’t think of that.

21.) Spend a week in a monastery
22.) Spend a day in a monastery

COMMENT: Now here we differ . . . up to a point. I don’t call myself a ‘Catholic’ these days, but I wouldn’t mind spending some more time with the Benedictines or Trappists out in the boonies. I do call myself a ‘Zen student’, but I would dread spending any time at a Zen monastery. People who run such places are always trying to make a point. And the point of Zen is not to make a point. Monasticism is pointless in the modern world. As it should be.

23.) Join LinkedIn

COMMENT: Oh yea? Well I’m still holding out from Facebook! So there!

24.) Update my software

COMMENT: I wish the whole world would stop updating itself all the time.

25.) Write an advice column

COMMENT: Hey Jeff, don’t quit while you’re ahead!

PS – speaking about quitting while ahead, I see that the laissez faire capitalists of the world are getting a bit flustered with the “Occupy Wall Street” thing that’s been happening lately. Their defenders are quick to point out that many of the young protesters bring along their Apple notebooks and Sony video cams and Droids or iPhones with great 4G service provided by some of America’s most profitable telecommunications companies.

Relax, Wall Street. Those kids have no idea on what to replace you with. Unfortunately.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:50 pm      

  1. Jim, I can agree (mostly) with you and Jeffrey Goldberg. Someone I know very well tells me each time he sees one of those “wilderness” reality series, “Hey, they got themselves there in the first place.” By which he means, he gives them little sympathy for the situations they find themselves in. Somehow I tend to agree with him.

    As to not wanting to be in a monastery: That’s a tough one. In some respects it definitely does not work (take it from someone who spent 15 years in one). In other respects I think it works very well and fine. So, I would not throw out the baby with the bathwater on that one.

    As to the whole Facebook and Linkedin thing: I am completely uninterested in either one. Don’t even know and have never heard of “Linkedin”, so have no clue abou that. Doubt I’d want to be “linked in” to people I don’t know. As regards Facebook, I’ve recently been “found” by someone from my past. On the basis of that experience, I’ve decided Facebook is not some place I want to be where people can “find” me. Oh, no! The people I already want to find me know how to find me; all the others, best left as we are–not found by each other. Life moves on.

    As to “updating software”: I did it recently as my computer totally pestered me, like a 3 year old driving me nuts until I gave in. Now I know I never will again “give in” to such “pestering.” “Updating software” is definitely something that takes up time when I want to do something else and has nothing useful about it as far as I can see.

    And lastly as to the Wall Street “kids”: In some respects I think they have a point. But somewhere in there I wonder where, not only is the “middle class”, but where are the poor represented?

    I’ve noticed that all the protesters have always been (check out all the various countries and even in times past when I/we was/were the ones protesting)…it’s always the young who protest. They often don’t really know what it is they want instead of what they are protesting, but somehow often they do bring about change.

    I can’t say I have a lot of sympathy for the Tea Party, but the “Wall Street Protesters” do get my attention and my goodwill more than the Tea Party–much more. Would be good if the WSP could come up with something positive to suggest for the middle class.

    I’d also like to see some hint of altruism on the part of those who have entirely too much money and have no idea of how to spend it and tend to berate the middle class because of “entitlements” that are not “entitlements” but earned by hard work. Maybe the protestors could come up with some positive solutions to helping the “rich” become a little more altruistic. That would be a good contribution, if the “rich” would listen. (Like that’s gonna happen.)

    This is not a particularly organized comment; sorry about that. But I do enjoy Goldberg’s column myself. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — October 7, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

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