Sunday 26 December 1999


Pic of the day: This drawing is handcolored by my best friend, the adorable young Superwoman. She put a lot of work into it, and gracefully allowed me to share it with the world instead of a photo of her. :)

If you are so smart...

To continue the tradition of this place, I dreamt heaps tonight again. This is no doubt because I sleep more lightly, but even so. The first dream was about me being a galactic superhero stumbling upon a planet with two races were one was threatening to eradicate the other. I sided with the underdog without checking out anything else at all. I guess I am adapting to the American way ...

The second dream was long and took place in a city where ghosts were as common as living people, if not more so. The streets and parks teemed with ghosts, a very mixed crowd. They walked right through things and often each other too, like holographs, but occasionally some of them interacted with each other or with the living. Even so, it was a terrible shock when a ghost in a fit of jealous rage killed a guy who was going out with his widow. (The widow had nothing if not encouraged the guy, and it's not like he had anything to do with her husbands death.) Most people (and ghosts, it seemed) were shocked that it was even possible for a ghost to throw a metal bar like that. (I guess he was some kind of latent poltergeist.)


Another lazy day. I did not get up until breakfast. Superwoman was also feeling better after a good night's sleep, though it did not last all day. We played cards, ate sweets, and tried to figure out a nickname for Superwoman's cute young sister of 18. She reminds me a lot of Francine from Strangers in Paradise, only cuter. (Now, a generation too late, all the cute ones pop up. Oh well.) I was tempted to refer to her as Francine, but since that is a real name, there could be all kinds of confusion. Perhaps just The Cute One? Of course, that is not very spesific either. I guess I should need more time to think about it.

For dinner at six o'clock we had hamburgers which we bought from the nearby tavern. They were quite edible. Three burgers, one for me, one for Superwoman, and one for Cute One. A certain brother drifted by and got part of Supie's burger and fries. The rest of the fries somehow disappeared while I was otherwise engaged, I guess Cutie might be involved. She just recently told me that she intends to only drink water tomorrow. :)

In other memorable news, we watched a video called Blade. A typical Magnus film, I guess. Vaguely related to Matrix, just without any deeper philosophy (that I could detect), just the black clothes and the shooting and the special effects. I wonder if I should make a Daywalker class for Daggerfall. :)


You know about Nancy Birnes, the professional writer who also happen to write a (free) online diary called Perforated Lines? I'm sort of anxious about linking to her since you may never come back, losing yourself in her archives. But sometimes you must, as James Redfield famously puts it, "trust synchronicity". So, hoping that you're already a regular reader of hers, I just have to point out her delightful entry on Dec 19. The little quote about the wise man and the fool was worth it alone, but there is a question down there with a really good answer. Notice that I did not say it was a good question.

"If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"

You have hopefully read her answer already, which is basically that to be rich you have to love money, while many other smart people love something else. Ideally their job. (Or that was what I got out of it.) Personally, I cannot remember ever having been asked the question. I think it is archetypical American. To be rich is not nearly as highly esteemed here in Norway, though people certainly prefer it to being poor. Other things are just as important, though. A happy marriage (or a similar arrangement). Being respected. Having friends. None of these are built directly on money here, though it does not hurt to have some when the bills come due.

I fairly recently asked an idealistic young man another question in the same vein. I asked: "If you are not happy, why do you want to change other people?" I guess that was sort of rude, and I am afraid it made him less happy, if anything. Still this is more of a mystery to me. If you are not happy, why should people follow you? And if they cannot follow you, how can you lead them? If you want to lead people, they should be able to see you and find that you are fundamentally happy, even before chemical additives, before the cheering on by others. If you are so smart ... or so good ... or so right, why are you not happy?

Rich? Kick rich in the rear. If you have what you and your family need, and you can't be happy because you haven't won the lottery or gotten the top job, you are not going to be happy even if you do. Rethink values. Set realistic expectations. Replace the American dream of wealth with the American dream of freedom. As the saying goes, nobody volunteers to die for GDP (the most common measure of a nation's wealth). If you know what you would die for, live for it. Or them. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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