Coded dark.

Monday 7 August 2000


Pic of the day: Here I am, half glowing, half freezing in the hot room.

Confessions of a sick man

I was peacefully playing Civilization for Windows just before 9 in the evening when I suddenly got a sharp headache. Now that would be hardly worth mentioning, except that I almost never have headaches. I think I've pretty near mentioned every single case since I started this diary. And you will notice that they don't show up every week, probably not every month either. (Not counting the upper jaw / sinus thing.) Then I started shivering in the hot room. And then I suddenly felt terribly tired. After about an hour, my face is flushed with heat, my feet feel like ice, I'm shivering and my vision is swimming. In short, I don't feel too well.

This is one of the few downsides to living alone: I have no one else to take care of me if I fall ill. So far I have been spared the serious illnesses that come to people sooner or later. A flu every other year has been the worst. The digestion problems have not been life threatening so far, uncomfortable though they may be.


I have sometimes pondered a verse in the Bible, in 1st Corinthians 5: "You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." I dare say that this is a very uncommon ritual these days. And personally I would like to have as little as possible to do with Satan, in any function.

I've long been of two minds here. It does seem to me that I am more likely to think of God and all related issues if I am ill, compared to when I am in excellent health. This does worry me. It does look like what the gospels call snakespawn fleeing the coming judgement. As in, my motivation for religion would be a desire to escape eternal death rather than true love of good. That is a worrying thought, I dare say. It also reflects very poorly on the religion I profess, in general. People might say: "That religion is a faith for cowards, for those who fear death or the uncertainty of the hereafter."

Still, isn't it a good thing that there's something at least that makes me sit down and look at my moral audit trail? And even better if it could effect some lasting change (apart from deleting some of my fiction and my collection of pajamas pictures from Jennicam). Who knows how arrogant I would have been if not confronted with my mortality from time to time.


When I was younger, I had a lot of sins to confess. These days, the list is quite short. That's not because I am living a holy life (though I am hardly a criminal in the eyes of the law). Rather, I now see one all pervading problem in my life. There is one flaw in my character, which causes most of my behavior. I am an absolute egotist. Even now, as you see, it's all about me. Ironic, isn't it?

You may say that egotism is the human condition, that we don't ever do anything for any other reason than that we want to. But I will counter that I do recognize love when I see it. For instance, there was this woman on the morning bus which had 3 pre-school children. Very cute, too. But what struck me was the way she gave them all her attention all through the bus ride. This was certainly a good thing, because you know how small children can howl and scream when they lack attention. But not all parents act like that. It was evident from her posture and her actions that she really loved the small creatures, that they were uppermost on her mind, more so than her own comfort.

Well, I do love my young female friends, and in particular my best friend for the last few years, the one I call "SuperWoman". For instance I would just as well - or more - buy stuff for them (and especially for her) as for myself. I guess that means something. And contrary to what you may believe, I have no desire of carnal union with any of those, even though they are certainly the type that could take a man's sleep away and make his heart wander. So I guess I'm not ALL bad and rotten to the core. Ahem. Still, these are people who make me feel good. They deserve it.

When it comes to feeding the poor, for instance, I am a real miser. I don't regularly (or even frequently) give to the hungry or the naked or the homeless. There are organizations that are reasonably reliable and that do help the most needy. (Though I have been surprised by how many "charities" are little more than frauds, spending most of the money on their own people and little enough on the poor.) Anyway, I do know some which I am convinced would spend my money more charitably than the pizza outlet and the clothes store do.
(I am more likely to show up when it is FREE to feed the starving ... as in The Hunger Site.)

Anything I have not done to one of the smallest, I have not done to Jesus, or so he said. It is worrying that I who believe in good will to all men, still can close my ears to the cries of the needy. While I seem to have very keen ears for my own interests of any kind, body or soul. I may have lost a few pounds and stopped piling up new clothes and gadgets lately, but the basic focus has not changed. I still think of myself as The Real Thing, and other people as Non-Playing Characters. Not really as real as I am. Especially those I don't know at all. Then again, could I bear the truth?

There was a time when I actually used to borrow money and use credit cards to indulge in my buying whims and binges. I've cut that out and am paying back my small loans, and paying my bills ahead of time instead of well after they were due. I guess if I could keep that up, I may eventually have something to give to others too. But so far there has not been a true change of heart. I have just found other cheap pleasures: Playing old computer games that I have lying around. Buying smaller but still tasty quantities of food. Downloading free books from the Internet. (Been reading "Gods of Mars" today, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. You would probably have noticed, if I had stuck with my original entry for the day. I am easily contaminated by flowery language.)

In short, it is still All About Me. This may not be too bad for you, who have presumably come here to read about me. But I worry about the state of my soul. I worry that if I die before I wake, my soul may be basically worthless. And that if I survive and live on in good health, I will still go on through the rest of my life just consuming, not really making life better for anyone. What a tangled web.


As I end this entry a little before midnight, my condition has stabilized for now. It may be the sinuses again, in some form. I feel a cold draft from my nose down towards my throat for every breath I take, at least on the left side, indicating that the air passes through hot inflamed tissue on that stretch. I've survived that before. If I do so again, you will probably hear from me again tomorrow. Then you will also be able to find out if I am still a big egotist.

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