Alternate Lives

When I was young, boys often dreamed of being Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon. But we soon realized that, tragically, such opportunities were unlikely to come our way. Fortunately, Western capitalism seemed to allow us to emulate Edison or Carnegie or Rockefeller if we were simply smart and worked hard enough. The more intelligent among us probably were content to be like their father or some local hero.

Then we grew up and, alas, became just the adults we were. Choices were necessary, sacrifices had to be made, risks were taken, fate often intervened. Many of us, I think, were fortunate to merely survive and ended up working hard at accepting whatever life had dished out.

The worst trap was the same for both hedonists and workaholics. That was a belief that tomorrow could always be different. Make a lot of money now, worry about friends and family and fun later. Or vice versa

I suppose I could have been someone else. Like everyone I have had dreams and regrets. But as I aged I put more time into decorating the situation I actually inhabit, tweaking life rather than hoping to start anew.

Fortunately, we have literature and its extensions. We can actually be one of those alternative people for a while. All we need to do is immerse ourselves in the media. There is little more fortunate than having a mind enabled for such “fake” experiences.

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