A personal blog is the ultimate tool of the narcissist. I have these thoughts that must get out of my head. I know it’s not your problem, but you could be part of the solution. Come on. Just a few minutes of your time, that’s all I ask. Not much more anyway.
So many different writers of so many different temperaments write for so many different reasons. You must have read some of them. It’s bold on my part. Ambitious. I know what happened to Icarus. I’ll be careful. Look, I’ve tried being humble but it doesn’t work out well. The mystic poet William Blake says “prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by incapacity.” You see my problem here?
Walter Kaufmann, an accomplished philosopher, understood the importance of balancing humility with ambition. He invented a clunky word, “humbition”, to express his idea of “humility winged by ambition.” I know, the meek are supposed to inherit the earth, but I don’t need the whole earth. I just want a few minutes of your time. “Meekness says, Judge not, that you be judged! … Humbition replies: Judge, that you may be judged!” I’m going to follow Blake and Kaufmann, throw caution to the wind, and embark on this foolish journey. You decide if it’s worth your time.
Like most people, I’m sure you’ve said “Nothing!” when asked what you were thinking. We all do. You were probably thinking about something or at least feeling something even if you were, as we often say, “just chilling” or “spaced.”
In The Myth of Sisyphus Albert Camus put into words what sometimes happens when we are thinking of nothing.
“In certain situations, replying “nothing” when asked what one is thinking about may be pretense in a man. Those who are loved are well aware of this. But if that reply is sincere, if it symbolizes that odd state of soul in which the void becomes eloquent, in which the chain of daily gestures is broken, in which the heart vainly seeks the link that will connect it again, then it is as it were the first sign of absurdity.
It happens that the stage sets collapse. Rising, streetcar, four hours in the office or factory, meal, streetcar, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday according to the same rhythm—this path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the “why” arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement.”
Wow! If only I could write like that. Camus spoke often about absurdity. He once said “there can be nothing more absurd than to be killed in a car accident.” Ironically, he was killed in a car accident. Absurdity finds us, even when we are thinking about nothing. Especially when we are thinking about nothing according to Camus.
So, absurd or not, I have these stories, and I’m going to write them down. Theoretically all of life could be summed up in a series of stories, but I have no intention of going that far. I’ll just tell you the stories I know, and I hope you will enjoy them. One group of stories is about what it was like running a restaurant where people come and people go but nothing ever happens like in that movie Grand Hotel. Another group of stories focuses on what I learned from managing people’s money. Managing people’s money is just as fascinating as frying their eggs and fixing their dinner and mixing their drinks. People are pretty much the same whether they’re eating or investing. And, that’s the point. People are people. I’m going to write stories about people. You might wonder if the stories are true. All stories are true in some way or they wouldn’t be stories.