Jewish Journal


September 18, 2013




By Dean Steinberg

I have recently begun increasing the size (and seemingly unattainability) of my fantasies. It appears that I have to make them unrealistic because the moment I get what I seek, I don't want it anymore. My presence on this earth, and the idea of my own mortality, can at times be so overwhelming that in order for me to continue to exist, my desires must have my objects perpetually absent.  It's not the IT that I want, it's the fantasy of IT; so my desire supports my crazy fantasies.  You see, I am only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness.  After four decades of this charade, it is no longer wise for me to "be careful what you wish for," not because I just might get it, but because once I do, I'm doomed not to want it any more!

I need to get it (and keep it) in my thick, stubborn brain—that living by my wants will never make me happy. I must internalize that what it means for me to be a fully human, spiritual being, is to strive to live by ideas and ideals, and not to measure my life by what I've attained in terms of my desires.   But I understand how this concept is a conundrum, because one has to be somewhat copasetic with their own basics, their own position in life, before they can really conceptualize and take in another. In other words, it's hard to be all warm and fuzzy about your fellow primates when the bananas are way too ripe (or green) in homeland, and there-in lies the missing piece to the puzzle. The way we can join the higher social functioning (and learning) of our fellow rhesus monkeys is to do just that—join. I had me a gaggle of friends throughout my adolescent and teen years, and yes, most of our deep connections were funded by a mutual love of getting shitfaced, but they were still friends, and when they or I moved on, I always thought no big deal, good friends are easy to come by. But if you are getting on in years as I am, maybe you've noticed they aren't. I can count my friends on one hand, and my close, connected, dear friends on one finger. Who gives a shit about acquaintances? They're like parsley on the dinner plate, take it away and you'd never even notice. What I do notice is how good it feels to think, connect, and attempt to provide for those I care about.  It's everything. The craziest part though is that sometimes these people, the one's I care about and push myself to sacrifice for, yeah those people, oh my F#@$%!G god, let me down. Yes they do, and it is still everything. Because these moments of compassion, rationality, and self-sacrifice, as in valuing the lives of others, in the end, seem to be the only way that I can measure the significance of my own life. Not, by what I've attained. Or as Bud Fox says in an insufferable moment of frustration perpetuated by Gordon Geckos greed, in the film version of this blog, Wall Street, "so tell me Gordon, how much is enough? How many boats can you water-ski behind?"

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