Daddy said… (24)

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You know what the problem is? There are too many people who hate other people; that’s why there are so many terrorists.

So I went out and had a look.

And I found a world torn by war. I found many places destroyed by bombs, people bleeding, children crying for their mommy’s who had just been blown to bits. I also found that most people were disgusted by the terrorists, yet hated their guts and wanted to return the favour. That was the straightforward bit.

I also found a lot of people who’d fallen into the fairy tale fish pot of YouTube (and other anti-social media) who’d started to believe our supreme leaders actually drink the blood of our children – and want to start a war to out them; for example by shooting up a pizza shop. Those terrorists breed hate too.

“Where is the love?” I asked, but all bystanders thought I was singing.

Areas dominated by one race, one culture, appeared to be dominated by a humongous hate of those who are different. People were ready to die in the fight to make the whole world like their own. In those areas I could mostly hear two credos. One was: “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” And the other went: “The whole world is out to get us,” sometimes suffixed with: “… because our way of life is better than theirs; and they envy us for it.” Two credo’s I’ve come to associate with a desire to point out the differences in the world, and not the similarities.

Surprisingly, the greatest amount of love – or should I say, the best acceptance of one another’s differences – I found in places where many different people lived close together. In such places I could hear people saying: “I hate people who hate other people.” Few people realised though, that the unknown is feared and resented. Those who don’t know people who are different from themselves, resent them. Those who don’t know what our leaders actually drink, fear that they drink our children’s blood.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame a bat for not seeing his neighbour! You can’t blame an anthill for attacking the other!

When trying to fight terrorism, we shouldn’t use bombs. We should try to take away the cause that brings it about. Talk about a cheesy solution, perhaps, but the way to achieve this is simple; and probably pleasant too! We should all get to know those who are different. This can easily be accomplished, with a smaller budget that you might think. All you need is a pair of binoculars, and a notebook. With this you can check out what the neighbours are doing. This way, you get to know someone who is not you, and who most likely lives differently. The better the binoculars, the more people you can get to know. The higher up your apartment, the bigger the crowd again. The notebook you can use to keep track of what they do, and truly familiarise yourself with their lifestyle.

This system will not only help take away the cause for terrorism, it will also help the authorities find the culprits behind illegal blasts. All they need to see is your notebook, to find who was there, and who wasn’t. A two-edged sword solving our problems!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2008, but tweaked a bit to incorporate the current situation.

Daddy said… (23)

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You know what the problem is? It’s too hard for the train driver to keep the train on the tracks. For as meagre a salary as he gets, I’d delay the train too!

So I bought a ticket, and had a look.

The first thing that struck me was the curiosity of the lady at the ticket office. She asked me where I was going… I told her Chiang Mai, but decided to get off in Phitsanulok instead; this way at least she wouldn’t know where I was!

I settled down in the back of the train, which happened to be an old fashioned one, with a locomotive at the front, and a window facing backwards. Watching the tracks shoot from under me, seeing the rails meet far in the distance almost put me to sleep. When we changed tracks, the interruption of the rhythm woke me up. And I was amazed indeed by the driver’s skill.

So I headed to the front, and found the driver only had an accelerator and a brake. When I asked how he steered, he explained me that the train was locked in the rails. This really dropped my respect for him more than a little. I thought he’d have to keep the train on the tracks with a wheel!

So was my daddy right?

Obviously not! You can’t blame a snail for being slow! You can’t blame the hare for losing from the tortoise! The driver isn’t the cause for the delayed train. It’s the people lazying around boarding and alighting. There are just too many lovers determined to stretch their semi-dramatic good-byes. And in some countries, there are too many people who think it’s wise to board without letting anyone get off.

I can see only two ways to make all trains run on time. One is a lot cheaper than riding a train in the first place, the second one is cheap.

The first one is simple: just stay at home. What is the real desperate need to travel in the first place? Stay home! It saves you the train ticket, and if there are no passengers, there’s no one to notice the delayed train! In this day and age, can’t we all work from home? I’m doing it! You’re reading the result.

The second one involves buying a large bag of chilli peppers. It is common knowledge among the Dutch, that putting pepper in one’s bottom, makes that person rush. So take the peppers to the station, and just before your train arrives, apply the pepper to your fellow passengers in the appropriate place. This will make everyone rush into the train, and keep the train running on time!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009. Even the sentence about working from home isn’t new!

Conatus scribo

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I’ve started a manuscript called Borse Code; it will eventually be a book in Dutch. Occasionally, on some Wednesdays, I will post chapters I’ve written here – in English – to see if they work. Let me know what you think, alright? The scene too long, too short, for a book?

These attempts are not in chronological order.

Just before the start of this excerpt, my protagonist and his long-time girlfriend have decided to rejoin the social-media circus for research-reasons (the topic of which I will not disclose now). While driving home on a warm summer’s night, he’s started to sign on to Facebook; she was driving. Then they arrive home…

While Sally greeted Darwin by cuddling the long haired Berner Sennen, Harry walked past them without looking away from his screen, and plopped down on the sofa. He had just strategically filled his profile with the research-specific details, when Sally sat on his lap; her bare knees next to him on the sofa, and her buttocks under her short skirt heavy on his knees. She took the phone from his hands, and put it on the table behind her, without taking her green eyes from his. Then she put her arms on his shoulders, grabbed his head and kissed him passionately. Harry kised her back, took hold of her buttocks under her skirt and pulled her closer. He started to grow in his pants, while she wiggled her hips. He pressed his head back into the sofa, with which he forced her to move forward and press her breasts into his chest, as they still locked lips, tongues entangled. His hands moved up, under her t-shirt, towards her bra, which he managed to loosen after a little while. They both laughed mentally at a reference to Charley Sheen – Harry would never be that good.

They disentangled their tongues and they each pulled their t-shirt over their own head, after which they continued kissing. Talking was unnecessary; they knew each other well enough. Her naked breasts pressing against his chest pushed the tension up a few notches. He caressed her back, where he felt slight irregularities due to her tattoo. He’d grown so hard by now, that he was sure she would’ve noticed his hard-on through her panties.

Today he took the next initiative. He sat up straight, which put her nipples right about the level of his mouth. Without skipping a beat he took one nipple in his mouth, and the other breast and nipple received manual stimulation. His other hand travelled back to her buttocks, which he relieved of her panties.

Just before his fingers reached her labia, she suddenly got up. She sensually wiggled her hips, dropping her skirt and panties to her toes. She stretched herself with her arms above her head, and stood there a moment graceful as a nymph in front of him. Appreciative, desiring her, he allowed his eyes to explore her body. Even though she wasn’t famous for her beauty, Harry was proud that he could call this beautiful woman his own; nobody knew her like he did.

“You are beautiful,” he said.

Immediately she dropped to her knees, blushing shyly, pulled his pants down and start to give head passionately. With a pleasure moan he fell back into the sofa, and indulged in the moment, cautiously aware that he shouldn’t come just yet. Quite some time before that happened, he pulled back, lifted her up, and put her on the sofa; her turn. She was already very wet when his tongue touched her for the first time that night. A slight shudder travelled through her body, and the sounds of pleasure filled the room. He knew her body well, and just before she orgasmed, he penetrated her. While he moved above and inside of her, she fixed his eyes with hers, and moaned uncontrollably. The tension in her eyes increased quickly until, suddenly, she came explosively.

As two satisfied rag dolls they lay spent on the sofa, together. He caressed her face, his fingertip following her hairline. She held him tightly around his torso, with both arms. Between them the heat was tangible. Sweat made for a slippery sensation. But the mutual flow of wordless emotions was too strong to let go just yet. Until Sally found her voice.

“If we’re going to do this, I want a strict agreement. If I ever have to take your phone from your hands to get your attention, we quit it.”

Daddy said… (22)

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“You know what the problem is, the only animals that go extinct, are the ones that can’t take care of
themselves.

So I went out and had a look.
First I found lots and lots of dead animals. Especially along Australia’s highways I found so many dead kangaroos, that I thought they’d be extinct by now. But as it turns out, only some of them are truly endangered, and the larger ones have even increased in numbers since Europeans first saw them.

Then I searched closer to home, and found the Kho Khao Lamphun cow, which is used in the Thai
Royal ploughing ceremony. I wonder why this animal has become rare. Is it because kings have
become rare too? Or is it really because they can’t take care of themselves?

Last I went to a national park. And there I found a sick lot of animals feeding on the rubbish visitors
and residents leave behind. The animals were both common and endangered species.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame the fox for stealing eggs when he can! You can’t blame an elephant
for eating 100kg a day! It’s in the animals’ nature to come where easily accessible food is available. But
it is this diet that is killing them. A plastic bag works for a grey-shanked douc about as well as a three-meals-a-day-Mickey-D’s diet for us. Three weeks, and we’ll be in the ICU.

So when trying to preserve our endangered animals, is taking care of a healthy diet. Taking care that no plastic bags make it into the doucs’ living area is nigh impossible; it’s in the human nature to instantly drop anything they don’t need any more.

Instead, we should all soon take a trip to the nearest national park. There, we should trap a pair of grey-shanked doucs and take them home. At home it’s easier to control the animals’ diet, and thus it’s more likely to live a long life! A long life will guarantee the survival of the species.

This way we can save one endangered species at a time!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009.

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In a small village in The Netherlands – you may not know it, but Google maps does: Ophemert – the streetlights have been infected with covid19 since May 2020: they’ve had such a high fever that usually they are lit day and night. The villagers have reported this to the local council, and they receive an e-mail within two weeks saying ‘your report has been resolved’; but the streetlights are still lit (it’s October 2020 now). Expect that the electricity bill will be added to next year’s council tax invoice. In the current privatised ‘public’ sector, there is nobody politically responsible for this, and from a business perspective, Ophemert is too small, and therefore too expensive to really take care of. A company serves but one master: money. And money never serves the public cause, just the private cause.

For a large portion of the twentieth century, social democracy ruled The Netherlands (and quite a few other Western nations). This led to monstrous state owned companies, where inefficiency was rule rather than exception. They employed expensive yet incompetent people who were glued to their position so tightly that no cruise missile could dislodge them. The answer to this was implemented in the 1980s under leadership of Thatcher, Reagan, following the teachings of economists such as (among others) Buchanan: neoliberalism. The ideal became privatisation of everything the state used to organise. This was supposed to bring, on the one hand, a smaller government and thus lower taxes. On the other hand these formerly state owned companies would have to become more efficient in a free market, which would give the consumers a lower price for a better service.

We all know the result of this: hospitals can now go bankrupt; instead of one Transporter with packages, four of them race down every street, every day; and the Rijkspostspaarbank has turned into a morally unacceptable corporation where corruption, environmental pollution and weapons deals have become the way to make money. People have even talked of privatising the school system, making private companies responsible for the education of our children. This would be awesome for the rich kids, for they would be able to go to schools that can afford teachers on a real salary. For the poor children, it would mean going to the CocaCola-school in Overvecht or the Schilderswijk, where teachers would get nothing more than a contribution for voluntary labour. And a tax reduction has only been implemented for the very rich.

In the neoliberalist model, it turns out that profit is private, but losses are public responsibility. When banks make a profit, the shareholders and the board of directors share those profits; when they suffer losses due to continues mismanagement and poor judgements on risk assessment relating to investments, the population of a country has to cough up the money to prevent the bank from going bankrupt. When the corona-crisis has destroyed the tourism industry, a booking-agency that has sent billions in profits into private coffers, now is asking the public – the government – for aide to pay the salaries of their employees. Of course I do not begrudge the people who work there their jobs. But if their salaries are being paid through tax money, I expect that the billions that were skimmed off the profits of hotels in the previous years are handed over to the government. Of course it’s a very complex puzzle – who deserves help, and who doesn’t? Companies that made no profit before the corona-crisis… Do they deserve help? Don’t they? What is, and what isn’t fair? To make that call, we need a large government, with many capable officials who do not apply a one size fits all remedy, but decide on individual basis what is reasonable and fair, and what should be done in return for the help.

When will there be a politician who has the guts to start changing this neoliberalist system? Piketty has shown that everything is a choice; there are several very smart economists who offer alternatives. My question that will determine my vote in next year’s general election in The Netherlands is this: who has the guts to stand for an alternative to neoliberalism? Who has the guts to really change our household books? Roughly forty years seems to be the life span of an economic model; it’s time for a change, and in 2060 we’ll look for something new again.

Do I have the answer? Not in the least. I’m not an economist. But here in Ophemert, I see that neoliberalism isn’t working any more. This obsolete system has had its chance (and has done good too), but it has proven that it doesn’t serve the public cause. A service engineer has to be employed all day; there can not be a day during which he has no malfunctions to fix. Liander (the company running our streetlights) has promised in early June that there would be a service vehicle available to fix our streetlights ‘within two weeks’. What this service vehicle has achieved is unclear; the lights are still on. Day and night. Because Liander doesn’t serve us; Liander serves the profits under the bottom line, 246 million profit in 2018. And the extra costs for electricity will be demanded from the local council by 2021. The profits of Liander is private, but losses are to be paid for by the people. And nobody is responsible for that.

Daddy said… (21)

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You know what the problem is? A man can only write so many words. That’s why so many great writers disappear into unproductive obscurity!

So I eh… I went to a library and read.

I found several writers who seem to have written a whole library of their own. A select few though have written well over five hundred novels. Top of the list is the late Mary Faulkner from South Africa who wrote a massive 904 books.

I also noticed that some great writers, with far fewer books in their stall, did suffer from writer’s block. At some point the words just wouldn’t come any more. Some eventually overcame it, and blamed fear, stress or a major change in their life to the fact that they couldn’t glue any more words together.

With 500 or more novels though, there doesn’t seem to be at all time enough in a life to ever suffer from writer’s block than during an afternoon tea.

So was my daddy right?

It doesn’t seem so. You can’t blame a swine for leaving an easy to follow trail! You can’t blame an elephant for leaving barely any! It’s not the limit in the number of words out there that causes writer’s block. It depends on the person. Lauran Paine nor Al-Syuti ever seemed to have suffered from it. Neither does Stephen King. But having read Lisey’s Story, we all know where he gets his diarrhoea of the typewriter. But that book does hold the cue to fixing this hard to overcome problem.

There’s lot’s of advice out there on the net that might work, and of course I don’t expect everyone to find their way to the pond where we all go down to drink, and some great ones even go out to fish (Many thanks to Stephen King for such great phrases). But it is the pond where we get inspiration. And if you can’t make your way to the pond, make it come to you.

The point with writer’s block is not a lack of words, but a lack of great ideas. And to obtain them we need to be creative. Share the story with a stranger, and ask them for a clue to what should happen next. That may give you surprising results.

The best way to get new inspiration though, is new viewpoints. And for that we need to get in touch with someone who really know how to make mind-blowing stuff.

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009.

Daddy said… (20)

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You know the problem is, that there’s too much blue in the Danish!

I didn’t see that problem, but I went out and had a look.

With his reference to the Danish, I first went to Denmark. There I found the weather to be wet and depressing, and I found many people felt rather blue. Quite like the Dutch, few ever smiled. However, I’m not a stand-up comedian, so I decided to check first if there was another meaning to my Daddy’s comment.

I went into a restaurant and saw on the menu a Danish Blue sandwich. As it was lunch time, I ordered one. To feel more comfortable during lunch, I kicked off my shoes and sat back – happily awaiting the food. Even before my sandwich reached the table, the smell of the cheese reached my nose, and then it hit me: daddy was talking about my feet.

With renewed interest, I went out and had another look. And I found that many people suffer from malodorous feet, in one way or another. Smelly feet are usually ascribed to sweaty feet, which is only partly true. It’s the interaction between the sweat and the bacteria that live in your skin.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame the chameleon for changing colours! You can’t blame the skunk for stinking! And a lack of fresh noble blood is not what makes your feet smell; it’s not caused by the blue in your feet, and it’s sure not from all those elephants stepping on your long toes.

There are many products available to keep your feet from smelling, they all cost a continuous stream of money – discontinuing their use will defeat their purpose. There is, however, a simpler solution, and cheaper than you might expect. All you need is three long lasting products.

The first one is a large pair of clogs – you know, the wooden shoes the Dutch wear. Second, you need an old computer fan (old being an adjective to computer). And lastly a battery packed in the top of the shoe – of course, the rechargeable kind. Then cut the front of the shoe out, and insert the fan, connected to the battery. This set-up will keep fresh air flowing past your feet for hours at a time. And as long as the sweat from your feet evaporates, the bacteria will stay where they are, and not turn to cheese.

All you have to do is carry a spare battery, or a charger. I guarantee you, batteries are cheaper than smelly-feet-spray!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009. Do you think I could win a fashion award for this shoe-design?

Daddy said… (19)

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You know the problem with memory is, there’s so much people need to forget!

So I went to the bottom of many a glass, and often the bottle too, and had a lllllook.

And I found that alcohol does indeed cause temporary memory loss. But once one comes out of the inebriation, memory hits twice as hard, because with every bit of alcohol consumed, you get smarter. Well, according to the Buffalo Theory:

When a herd of (North American) buffaloes gets hunted naturally, and starts running, the strong ones run at the front, and the weaker ones at the back. The weaker ones will be caught first, thus the group as a whole gets stronger. When you drink alcohol, some brain cells die. These are, naturally, the weaker brain cells. This is why you feel so clever after ten beers.

I also found that people going through painful experiences, turned to the bottom of many a bottle, not just the glass. When going through an expensive divorce, forgetting the pain through alcohol is not really effective: the side effects are just too cumbersome. Before you know it, you’ll be on the floor, either being beaten, pretend to beat someone else, or just rolling around in regurgitated booze and fast food. But with big enough troubles, the relief obviously seems worth this drawback.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame an elephant for remembering his childhood foe! You can’t blame a dog for not realising it’s its own tail that it’s chasing!

When battling alcoholism, the first generally accepted step is accepting that you are addicted. I say this step is wholly unnecessary. Admitting you drink, is not the hard part. Because it’s not the desire for the alcohol that keeps you drinking! It’s the persistence of the problems that keep driving you mad and thus drunk.

I suggest instead, to adopt the Dutch approach for drugs: make it free. Provide free alcohol to anyone who admits to have a drinking problem. This will take away one appeal of the drink (‘I shouldn’t, but…’), and it will alleviate the financial burden of a drinking problem. With money to spare, many problems can be solved, and thus the core of the drinking problem will evaporate.

A side effect of this approach is that ex-alcoholics will be near-geniuses once their alcohol dependency is relieved. Imagine what we’ll achieve once this approach has been in place world wide for a few years… This will make the world a better place indeed!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009. On a little side note here, I feel I should add that I don’t really believe to have solve alcoholism. Any addiction is a disease and should be treated; I’m no expert, but this text is just for entertainment purposes.

Daddy said… (18)

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You know the problem with the poor people is that money rules their life!

So I went out and had a look.

I went over to the nearest slum, and I found many people working the craziest jobs for scraps of money. They’d do anything for money. In exchange for a bit of cash, one would carry me on his back, another would allow me to penetrate her anywhere, and yet another was offering to kill me if I didn’t give him money. Money seemed to be almost constantly on everybody’s mind. I also found that a little bit of money, takes you a long way – all the way across the slum. When I came out on the other end, I found that prices rose dramatically, but other than that nothing much changed.

Even with loads of money, all people could think of was just that: money. And even filthy rich people were willing to do the craziest things to increase their wealth. One was running a limousine service, another an upscale brothel, and yet another offered to kill me if I gave him some money. Also here, money was on everybody’s mind.

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. You can’t blame gravity for causing a fall! You can’t blame the sun for the night! Money is not the cause of poverty. It’s the value we give it.

Take a look at the happiest families around, for example. They’ll do anything for each other without the use of money, just the exchange of love; valuing merely the services rendered, not the coins changing hands.

When trying to rid the world of poverty, we could donate to charity. We could also make poor people work harder, and pay them fairly for their efforts, but all of this is being done by many socially concerned bleeding hearts, but there’s plenty of evidence that it isn’t working.

The most effective option is one that is easily done, but everyone has to help. We should value money only to the paper it is printed on, or the the data-carriers it’s transported on. Value the coins only to the possibility to make use of their material. Then, not having money won’t be a problem. The only thing important will be the ability to work; the ability to make things or render services. Would you want a stack of paper, in exchange for the table you made? Would you want a lump of nickel in exchange for the massage you gave? No! You’d want your tires fixed or a house built in exchange for the miracle you’ve just performed.

So expect a favour in return for a favour, and a thing in return for a thing! This way, there’ll be no place for poverty in the world!

And of course, thou shall love thy neighbour.

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009.

Daddy said… (17)

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You know what the problem is? People with motion sickness are just too fidgety.

So I went out and had a look.

In the places where I found the most fidgety people, there also was a lot of sick, but it didn’t seem due to the movement. In the nursery, the kids never stopped moving – or puking – but the adults around there assured me that this was normal. Having recently had a son of my own, I must say, it’s surprising how little milk the brat actually needs; he throws up so much! Surprisingly though, especially when he’s lying still in his bed.

Then I rode the bus. It didn’t make me sick in the least. First I sat in the front, where I could look at the road ahead. My mother insisted that this was the place where no one got sick. So I moved to the back. After I’d wriggled my lovely behind between two fellow passengers, I waited for the great regurgitation, but also here it didn’t come.

Next I placed my bum in a seat halfway down the aisle, which very shortly after concluded my research. The person I had landed next to, asked me why I was so restless; and I realised that I’d moved more than my fellow tourists, yet I hadn’t the slightest form of sickness. So to kill the remaining 12 of the 13 hour bus-ride, I decided to read a book.

So was my daddy right?

It doesn’t seem so. You can’t blame a cow for regurgitating. You can’t blame a Llama for spitting. It’s not the fidgeting that makes you sick! It wasn’t until I started reading that I got sick; but perhaps I’m lucky, because during my hours in the bus, I talked to quite a few people who felt sick without reading.

While for some the cause for motion sickness may seem obvious, I still feel the need to mention it here. It’s not fidgeting, it’s a person’s sensitivity to being shaken, or stirred for those suffering seasickness.

This leads to an easy conclusion: If you know you’re prone to motion sickness, you need to invest in a decent computer and a great internet connection. This way, you never have to leave your home. Great travel blogs, vlogs and vr-experiences are out there, and even greater ‘work from home’ opportunities float around the web – many more in 2020! And thus the only reason to get out of your armchair is to go over to the kitchen, or the nearest six-12 (I wouldn’t dare making an ad here!) for some food. Now who can’t do that on foot?

As some sources say that nearly 80% of the people suffer from motion sickness in one form or other, this will instantly solve many problems in the world; too many to list here, but other than traffic problems, I suggest you let your imagination run wild!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009, and made one slight change, now – did you notice? I thought I’d post this anticipating the reopening of society; some thoughts before we go to work in the office again.

Daddy said… (16)

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You know what the problem with traffic jams is, the roads aren’t wide enough!

So I went out and had a look.

In the process I got a lot of on-road experience. And I found that traffic jams in Thailand are confined only to certain areas. Bangkok is one, Chiang Mai is another, and on the weekend, seaside towns like Pattaya, Cha-Am and Hua Hin get congested too. Only occasionally you will encounter a surprise traffic jam in the middle of nowhere. After Thailand, I explored some of the rest of the world. Although it is true that the more you see, the more you know of that you haven’t seen, I figured out soon enough that this was valid everywhere: on only certain roads, traffic snails along, and these are rarely the narrowest ones.

As I always want to drive at the front, I learnt that the human is a herd animal. Most people like to drive close together, many slow drivers unwilling to pass each other, and thus blocking both (or all if there are more) lanes. Because of this, I think it is surprising that traffic jams are confined to fairly small areas; most people must love them!

So was my daddy right?

Well, of course not. You can’t blame a snail for slithering slowly! You can’t blame a cow for liking its friends’ company! Traffic jams are not caused by a traffic light! A multi-lane blocking accident doesn’t cause traffic to slow! It’s the people’s desire to drive together. This is why they say that traffic is like water: when there’s space for it, it fills up.

The problem of traffic jams though, is that the average speed is too low. So while we develop a more independent mind, so we can drive by ourselves instead of in a herd, we should also work on our speeding skills. As long as the (Thai) police aren’t using their speed camera’s, this can’t be hard. Every new car sold, should have a first and a fifth gear (and all in between), so that when at a traffic light, we can speed away, thus creating more space for other drivers behind us.

This driving style will cause petrol consumption to drop: we drive faster, spend less time driving, ergo, we use less petrol. Another side effect is that the accident rate will go down: Each car spends a shorter period of time in one place, thus making it less likely to get hit by another one. Any shooter among us will confirm that it is much harder to hit a moving target!

Previously posted on My.Opera, when they still had a blogging service. I’m rerunning the Daddy Said series here; when I feel like, I’ll write a new episode. This one I wrote in 2009. I thought I’d post this anticipating the reopening of society; some thoughts before we go to work in the office again.

Conatus scribo

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I’ve started a manuscript called Borse Code; it will eventually be a book in Dutch. Occasionally, on some Wednesdays, I will post chapters I’ve written here – in English – to see if they work. Let me know what you think, alright? These attempts are not in chronological order.

“You still believe in conspiracy theories”, she said.

“Conspiracy theories? You think that what I’ve discovered isn’t true?”

“Indeed, I don’t think it’s true. As a rule of thumb, you should check how many people have to be sworn to secrecy in order to keep it a world wide secret. And that number in your theory is simply too great.”

“Five.”

“Five?”

“Yes, five. The rest is dead. Who those five are I will show you in a minute. But first I’ll address your allergy for conspiracies.” He started to get worked up, but he didn’t get the chance to finish. She interrupted him.

“Conspiracies are a result of atheism. In the past, the inexplicable chaos that this world is, was explained as the will of God, or whichever deity was locally revered. This chaos was structured referencing the different holy scriptures. And despite contradictions…” She interrupted herself. “Did you know there are supposedly people in India who believe contradictory things can co-exist – they explain it as the will of the gods; you may not understand it, but they – the gods – certainly will. But I digress. Religion structures the world, shapes this chaos surrounding us into something recognisable. Religion makes it manageable, and as long as everyone in a community believes in the same religion, it is easy to talk about it; it’s easy to explain to each other the order in the chaos – as everyone is talking from the same frame of reference. It takes a special kind of intelligence to be able to accept this chaos without religion! The desire for structure is deeply rooted in us. And when religion disappears, the average human searches for something new that provides guidance. And conspiracy theories are a grateful victim for this guidance. Science is not, because any good scientist will immediately admit that they know very little for certain. No scientific research is phrased with the certainty that conspiracy theories are. The latter tell you what the truth is, the former what research shows that the truth may be. The former portray the world as a structured place, with evil rich people at the top, who control us like puppets – just like an all mighty God does for the religious. And now you have concocted the latest chapter in the conspiracy gospel: Hailey has been developed by abuse and murder.”

“Your comparison with the Bible is…”

“I never mentioned the Bible.”

“That’s childish. You talked about religion and holy scriptures. The gospel even! I just add a name to it, and suddenly you haven’t said it. Don’t argue like a coward; stand for what you say. And have the same respect I’ve given you: let me finish.”

Silence.

“Your comparison with the Bible is accurate. In the Bible you can find a lot of decent advice, and a lot of nonsense. At the core the Bible is good, the explanation of the Bible isn’t always. The core of conspiracy theories was, at the turn of this century, that the richest of the rich in this world were enriching themselves shamelessly; and in the process they supposedly had the desire to control the poor; their goal is absolute power, and leaving the common man in hopeless poverty – and at the same time giving these poor the illusion of freedom. But that freedom was of course limited, because anyone who complained about it, would be exiled into the damned corner of crazies and conspiracy theorists. In that corner you can also find the crazies who claim that Finland doesn’t exist. Being associated with them is an easy way to exile a theory into the ridiculous.”

“Chemtrails.”

“Exactly. To make a theory seem ridiculous, all you need to say is that it looks like a chemtrails-theory. And nobody worth their salt azwill believe it any more – except the crazies. Serious thinkers, the rare intelligent people, no longer dare burn their fingers on the topic. And then the average people remain; which automatically means that you’ll also find incoherent, average studies that are easily discredited. But twenty years later an intelligent person like Piketty climbs in the pen and shows with statistics and numbers that the rich actually are enriching themselves. Shamelessly.”

He stopped. He had composed this rant on the spot. The conclusion of this story needn’t be verbalised, right?

“Sooo… You’re saying you’re one of those rare intelligent people and that Piketty is crazy.”

“You really should go into politics. You are a master in twisting words and misinterpreting conclusions. No, I am not a rare intelligent person. I can barely understand what Piketty writes, let alone that we operate at the same level. I’m only saying that at the core a narrative that appears like a conspiracy theory, needn’t be trashed automatically.

Around the turn of the century they were called the Illuminati, who were supposedly enriching themselves shamelessly. Following that accusation, the most outlandish and insane theories were added to it – for example that the Illuminati were one well-greased organisation. They aren’t – the world is chaos. But like I started saying, people desire order, so they make the order up. But the fact that the richest of the rich are mercilessly enriching themselves, was true. And John Keane added to that story how they are controlling the masses.”

“And you’re now going to tell me that you have a solution for a better world?”

“Who do you think I am? Karl Marx? Of course not! I am not one of the rare intelligent, did I tell you that? I have only discovered something isn’t right about Hailey – and I’d like this truth to be publicly known. I haven’t made anything up; I have refrained to add a motivation to the theory that would be swallowed by the conspiracy crazies like cake. No, the motivation of Stork and his cronies is just enrichment. But to get there, they don’t shy away from torture and murder.”

Silence. They both drank their coffee.

“Your passionate story made me forget for a moment why we were here. Hailey – that’s why we are here. Thank you for reminding me. I still think that you’ve made up a conspiracy theory. But you have argued passionately and convincingly why the core of your story could be true. I will take your story to the most intelligent person I know. And if he is convinced that your story is true, you can write it up in one coherent article and publish it; and I will pay for it.”

“And who might that person be?”

Daddy said… (15)

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You know what the problem is? People ‘d rather be six feet under than six feet apart! That’s why one virus quickly turns into a pandemic.

So I went out and had a look. And at first, oh grand surprise, it seemed my daddy was right! Despite health officials’ sternest of advice, people got together in grand numbers. People got together to protest, to party, to go shopping or to go to the beach; most were aware of the advice, and ignored it wilfully. Very few were unaware.

Some of the people who were aware, though, screamed to stay out of their aura. I saw them trying to maintain a distance, yet continuing to live their life. This seemed a tough challenge. I mean, getting groceries and other stuff delivered is easy; even exhibitionism is easy during a lock down. But what seems to be a little more difficult, is maintaining real human connection. Everyone needs a hug sometimes, and we all desire just a little more than that, but six feet apart, a condom isn’t really necessary, is it?

So was my daddy right?

I don’t think so. People don’t desire death! You can’t blame a phoenix for igniting! You can’t blame bees for sticking together! It’s not that people have become suicidal that makes them flock together, it’s the desire for human connection, for a human touch, that drives us to ignore the advice of health officials.

And the harsh reality is that nature has no moral conscience (disregarding some monkeys). Nature creates something when a pest becomes too incessant; humanity has been called a plague before. Now something has come into the world that will not end us all, but is starting to thin the population a little. And us, moral creatures that we are, have our knickers in a not.

Another harsh truth is that we will all die, sooner or later; for most people that, of course, happens rather later than sooner. But one way to rid ourselves of the advice (or laws) that force us to stay six feet apart, is to say our goodbyes to our loved ones, mourn everyone in your life as if they were dead already, and migrate. Each of us should move to a place where they know nobody. We should take eachother’s jobs and homes, form new families and communities. And while we’re forming new relationships, some of us will die due to covid-19 – but that won’t matter, because the people who care about us, already mourn our loss. That way, those of us who survive this virus, will be able to love and be loved all the time; just by new people.

This, obviously, is a new post in the Daddy Said series.