Monday, November 20, 2006

700 Hits and Counting...

Gee, it was just three weeks ago that the counter hit 500, having taken several months to reach that level. And now it's at 700. Moreover, Yahoo! has stopped saying "Site may not exist" when I type the url into the search box, and instead provides a hot link to one of my older blog entries. Does this mean I'm starting to "succeed" in the blogosphere?

Which leads one, of course, to a philosophical rumination on definitions of "success." How do you define it, dear reader? Here in Disneyland East, of course, the yardsticks are pretty simple: is your house bigger, gaucher, and more soulless than that of your neighbor? For many parvenus in this town, that seems to equate with grabbing the brass ring.

For others, it is the latest automotive toy, or the snazziest yacht, or the biggest private jet (forget time-sharing - it has to be your own, free and clear). And then, of course, there's always the trophy wife competition: is your second (or third, or whatever) hotter and more bodacious than your neighbor's? Despite the Biblical proscription against coveting your neighbor's spouse or maidservant (we call them nannies here in Greenwich), it often seems that the whole point of acquiring these nubile persons is to make your friends slobber with lust. And I will say that even as all the children in this town are above average, it certainly seems to be true that all the women are much prettier than the norm. New York City may have a higher overall pulchritude rating, but that's only because many women sow their wild oats there before they land their investment banker and move to Greenwich.

Whatever happened to the good old God-fearing days when success was defined as how well you followed the Golden Rule, or by how many good deeds you could do by stealth before you were found out? Well, at the risk of sounding cynical, I don't think we ever had any such good old days in this town, where the early settlers bamboozled and then massacred the original inhabitants, and "Boss" Tweed brought his Americus Club cronies out from the city each summer to spread their ill-gotten wealth among the eager citizenry. Lincoln Steffens took on the political machine of his time, and had his Riverside garage torched for his pains. Even today, as faithful readers of this blog know, Greenwich is still probably the safest place in the country to commit murder, or almost any other major felony. If Bunyan were alive and writing today, he would probably not bother to disguise his apothosis of materialism as "Vanity Fair" (which, of course, used to be published here); he would simply call it Greenwich.

Fortunately, there are still a few Pilgrim types to be found here in town, and I suppose you could equate some of the local clergy like Ken Kieffer to Mr. Valiant-for-Truth and not be very far off the mark. To me, it is part of the human comedy to see saints in the making juxtaposed with the most ardent worshippers of Mammon as part of the everyday fabric of life right here on Greenwich Avenue; perhaps things haven't changed that much since Bunyan's time, after all.

Let's wrap up this discourse on "success" with the well-known words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -
this is to have succeeded.

Of course, the kicker is that Emerson never wrote these words. However, I am sure Bessie Stanley would enjoy seeing them in this blog, even as I enjoy seeing that little counter go up, and up, and up....

2 Comments:

Blogger saraclaradara said...

"Give fools their gold
and knaves their power
Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall, who sows a field, or trains a flower, or plants a tree, is more than all."

JG Whittier

"Actually, the true measure of success in Greenwich is an invitation to one of the AuthorBabe's political Saloons."

The Cognoscenti

November 21, 2006 11:04 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Nice quote, Author Babe! Both of them, actually. Are the Cognoscenti related to the Illuminati? Perhaps one of us should write a Dan Brown-like novel about them...

Any similar wisdom to impart re the Date from Hell?

November 22, 2006 1:46 PM  

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