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Effortlessly Average

Sort of half-heartedly leading the charge into mediocrity since, oh, let's say around 1987 or so.

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Location: Roaming (additional charges may apply), Argentina

Proof that with internet access and a powerful laxative, even insipid people will blog; the place where your excellence and my mediocrity collide; where my Karma whips ass on your dogma.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Man with Simple Goals

When I told my father that my wife was pregnant with our first child, he told me something I have come to accept unequivocally: that becoming a father would change my goals in life in a very profound way. No matter what my goals were, he said, one look at that little pink Bologna loaf would change it all. At the time I wasn't sure I agreed.

See, I've always been ambitious. As a child I identified more with Alex P. Keaton than Joe Montana. By the time I was 19 years old I had a multi-year subscription to The Wall Street Journal, had studied the titans of business and how they had made their fortunes (J.P. Morgan, Nelson Rockefeller, John Paul Getty, etc), followed the movements of gold, silver, and currency more than I did football scores, and could name all the companies on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The reason why is complicated, but likely born of equal parts personal views about how society values those with wealth and my own lack of self esteem. But whatever the reason, my heart or my views, at that stage I had specific things I wanted out of life:

I wanted the 40 room house with the five car garage.
I wanted the private jet, or at least a jet powered helicopter, piloted by a Brit named Nigel.
I wanted a Ferrari or Aston Martin or, what they Hell; both.
I wanted a maid (preferably one with a smoking body and a desire to polish anything).
I wanted a butler named Franklin.
I wanted to be able to date the world's most beautiful women (read, sleep with).
I wanted to be able to make my desires reality via a simple phone call or, better yet, pay someone to be able to do it by merely insinuating to others what my desires are.
I wanted to be able to travel first class to any port of call on Earth.
I wanted the echo of my words to force changes in national economic policy.
I wanted women to adore me and men to be envious of me.
I wanted the world's powerful and wealthy to wish they were me.
I wanted my face on the $5 bill.
I wanted to be able to influence nations and economies.
I wanted to be wealthy enough to not know exactly how wealthy I was.

Ah, memories. How nice it was to believe that my only quest in life was conquoring the world for my own satisfaction. Back when I believed all that was required was my idealism and the benefit of having before me that magical day that makes everything possible: Tomorrow. It didn't take long following graduation from my undergraduate program to realize that desire and time are not the only factors necessary to achieve grotesque luxury. Indeed, they're often not required at all. There exists a randomness to success that is entirely beyond your control; those who say differently are selling something.

Over the years my father's words have proven true. As soon as my daughter was born, I let go most of the materialistic desires, only wanting to be a good father, husband, and guide. Besides, Ferraris are over-rated and temperamental anyway and who wants to be so famous that every little thing you do is obsessed upon by so many others? And my wife wouldn't really go for my having a nubile, eager-to-please maid, nor am I sure I possess the wisdom required to favorably influence nations.

Nowadays my wish list is pretty short. Today I look back on what I wanted all those years ago and marvel at my intention to swing for the fences without a weapon capable of getting me there. Age, experience, and a healthy dose of reality have replaced my unwavering belief that I would someday rival the likes of Gates, Morgan, or Astor. How humble have they become? Well, let's just say that aside from unleashing stable kids on the world my loftiest goal in life is to lose just enough weight so that my stomach doesn't giggle when I brush my teeth.

- The Number of People Stunned by My Mediocrity