I while ago, I bumped into Halley Suitt's weblog Halley's Comment. I think I was originally led to her site by a link on her notes on α Males – well-observed and funny writing – and sort-of stuck around. It's a nice read.
Of course that whole Alpha Male thing, poses the nagging question of my own α-ness. Hm, a tricky one. Of course, ages ago, I have decided that being α is the way to go when reading Brave New World. And of course the α-way works perfectly – there's no denying that. It's not that important to do things well, but doing them boldly is essential could be a lesson learned from it. I sometimes have the impression that considering work I've done I've received the most honest appreciation and back-patting for some of the dodgiest bits of work – the quality of which I covered by presenting them boldly. Similarly, trying to present solid work modestly caused it to go by virtually unnoticed.
And I think this is where the caveat for me in the whole α-business. While I may manage to act somewhat α, I would most probably feel bad about it, making it essentially acting rather than being α. Now, it could be discussed whether acting α is all there is to it – but I guess it'll buy me a downgrade into the β crowd. Tough one. Keep the drugs coming, then....
Another thought I had about that α-thing was that I always tend to associate 80's-style stockbrokers à la Patrick Bateman with it. In particular I ask myself whether being α is actually a reasonably big advantage if you spend your life doing worthwhile things, i.e. not working as some business junkie. It seems that out of the realms of business, management and all that, what you talk about may actually be more important than the form you present it in. But what do I know?
And apparently Halley is over in Holland now and missing Dutch Guilders. Now, that's a bit sad. I thought it was one of the nicest thing about getting the Euro – get rid of all those different currencies. Just keep in mind that having money is simply a means to an end and there shouldn't be any emotional value attached to it. And obviously you can still tell you're in Holland without needing to look at the currency.
Having said that, I must of course point out that in particular the Germans were proud of their Deutsche Mark (or Deutschmark as foreigners tend to say) and getting them adjusted to the thought of losing it, was probably a tough job for political propaganda. But now – merely a year into having the Euro – it's only very few places (like when trying to recall the price of the bike you bought seven years ago or something along those lines) where you are actually reminded of the existence of the old currencies. The new one works just as well – even better, as I can pop over to Holland or fly to Italy now without having to worry about banks ripping me off with bad exchange rates.
The second note is of course reminding people that there are distinct Euro coins for each country. And while you can use all of the coins everywhere (and this has apparently been a pain for vending-machine manufacturers), you still have an idea of the origin of the coins. I tend to think the Italian Euros are prettiest, by the way. Still, the essential idea remains, that the currency isn't important – it's the culture, the language, the people that count. Very few economic decisions have a positive spirit like this attached to them.
While being at the subject of travelling through Europe: I saw in the news that there's a exhibition of Magritte works in Paris until June. That should be a good excuse to go there and visit Marie. Will have to find an affordable way to travel...
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