16 dec 1999         



- chronos ist moolah -

We had a meeting this morning with our accountant, one of the 657,342 accountants who have offices on Ventura Boulevard.  We came away with the knowledge that we're doing okay financially, which is nice, but it's the meta-meeting aspects of these get-togethers that interest me most.

As we all know, the main criterion for judging the capabilities of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and accountants, is the appearance of their desks.  I'm happy to say that all the professionals with whom I have a business relationship have desks that appear as if they've just come out the other end of a typhoon.

As part of my campaign of Success through Osmosis, I've put tremendous effort into arranging my own office accordingly.  To see every horizontal surface in this room covered with papers, books, envelopes, wires, small boxes, diskettes, photographs, receipts, remote control devices, and videocassettes, is to see the pinnacle of personal achievement.  Unfortunately, with a room like this where every item is a window to another world, distraction is the enemy.  To keep a thought on track requires incredible focus, and only by completely disregarding all these available resources am I able to express a clear idea.  Though my office is small, the installation of a sensory deprivation tank may be the only road to greater productivity.  But I digress.

The main subject of any discussion with an accountant is money, of course.  And although one of the most popular phrases of business is "time is money," in such a meeting the topic of time is treated not as something valuable in and of itself but rather as something that must be gotten through in order to get the payoff.  It cannot be otherwise in a talk with an accountant -- economics ain't metaphysics -- but in our lives in general we may lose regard for something as invisible as time.  When we set about to manage it, we do so as if we were trying to find more space, but time and space are the same thing only in cosmic terms.  They are quite different when we're trying to manipulate the building blocks of daily life.  Time is the most valuable asset a human has, the one that's needed before any of the others can be enjoyed, and how we perceive it often correlates with how we perceive ourselves, and how we put value on "doing" as opposed to "being."  Our brains crave patterns, and when we are not in the habit of savoring silence or moments where nothing is produced, an encounter with an open afternoon may only make us nervous.

All this time and money stuff hits close to home for me because in my little stay-at-home world, the one made possible and affordable because my wife works, time is the coin of the realm and what I spend in trade for a happy life with my family.  I don't think I can make any claim on having a better perception of time, but having it as my standard currency does give me an unusual outlook and an admittedly slower pace.  That's nice, but the downside is I get to watch a lot of busy people -- very slowly.  It's like being in the middle of one of those time-lapse videos. 

In the meeting this morning with the accountant I was pleased to hear him talk about his advocacy of parents who stay home with their kids.  It's nice to get verbal support for what I do -- the irony is that it can sometimes come at $200 an hour.


Time.  I am baffled by the seemingly vast reservoirs of time available to some journalers.  Their output is prodigious despite parenthood, full-time employment, and marriage.  The combination of any two of those is enough to stop a bull moose, but do they keep writing?  You bet they do.

This kind of success, where all the plates keep spinning on happy little sticks, never fails to amaze me and piss me off at the same time.  My only guess is that these people do not sleep.  Ever.

I have one journaler in mind who shall remain nameless, but it rhymes with Mike Reed, who demonstrates an overpowering ability to remain afloat and aware atop the vast sea of politics while staying married and raising a kid at the same time.  And he has a job!  The bastard.

He reads this.  But fortunately, Mike hates it when I get all philosophical like I did a few paragraphs back.  So I know there's no chance he's read this far down.  I'm smarter than I may appear.

Now what do you suppose his desk looks like?


  today's music:

"Doin' What Comes Easy To A Fool" -- Junior Brown -- GUIT WITH IT


today's wisdom:

"An editor is a person who knows more about writing than writers do but who has escaped the terrible desire to write."

- E.B. White