August 2, 2011


Something there is in me that demands I postpone every enjoyment until every unpleasant chore has been completed. I could blame my father, I suppose. He always exhorted me to eat my vegetables before my dessert. My father was a first generation German which meant he had an unyielding temperament when it came to perfection and work. My mother, a Latin, was the leveling influence. She always put play before obligation, which explains why their marriage didn’t last. It was a case of Aesop’s fable about the cricket and the ant. My mother’s gravest complaint when I was growing up was that I was too like my father.

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Mother was right. I am very like my father and so, my world must be in cherry pie order before I give myself permission to play. I exhibit the same habit when it comes to reading. Fifty percent of the books I buy are substantive, books like the growing economies in India and China (“Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger” by Prem Shankar Jha) or “Your Government Failed You” by Richard Clarke. Being human, of course, I’d rather curl up with Carola Dunn’s latest novel, “Anthem for a Doomed Youth” or Murakami’s “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World,” both of which are on my night stand waiting to be read. But discipline demands that I finish George Lakoff’s “The Political Mind” first. Given the behavior of our Congress, it will probably take me ages to read and understand..

To anyone reading this blog I want to be clear: I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL.  Everyone knows that like money, wisdom can’t be taken to the grave. That alone is reason enough to question the virtue of total discipline. It may keep the bookcases dusted, but shouldn’t life be more fun? Why can’t dessert come before broccoli?


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