Be Honest With Me

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by James Altucher: How
To Disappear Completely and Never Be Found



I want everyone
to be honest for a second and tell me. Because I don’t really
get it.

1) Doesn’t
wine taste bad?
I mean, isn’t it AWFUL? Am I really the
only one who thinks this? What would you rather have: a milk shake
or a glass of wine? Now, I get it, you want to get buzzed or drunk.
Or you want to get the girl you are with drunk. I get it. Been there,
done that. So you drink wine. But several things:

  1. The actual
    taste is bad.
  2. You can’t
    sleep because of the sugar.
  3. And then
    you feel bad in the morning (because, after all, alcohol is a
    depressant). You might even go to work, sort of sluggish, maybe
    a headache, and you think, “Oh man, I drank too much last

But just be
honest for a second: taste test – wine or vanilla milk shake.
Which makes you happier?

2) Be honest:
Do you really remember anything that happened in school? I’m
not going to go on an anti-college rant here.
I’ve done
that enough. And I’m sure there are people out there who learned
a lot in college. But seriously, I’m really trying hard to
think what I learned in my classes (not counting what I learned
outside the class, which is more or less what most 18- to 22-year-olds
learn whether they go to college or not). I learned that the “==”
sign means equals in computers. I learned that people need 9 hours
of sleep although later research might’ve changed that to 7-8.
I learned the words “supply”and”demand” although
I’ve never correctly used them after that. I’m 44 and
I graduated college when I was 21 so maybe its reasonable that I
forget a lot. But I remember what I learned when I was six (cursive
writing, Greek gods, how to spell my last name) more than I learned
in 4 years of college. Quick, without looking it up, when was Charlemagne

3) Children.
Are kids that great? Like, I have two kids. And I love then.But
they were HARD when they were growing up and I don’t think
I even did 10% of the real work. Now they make me laugh but it’s
still hard. Would I willingly be friends with an 8 year old? Not
really. Would you?

Do I see myself
in their poetically twinkling eyes? Not really. I hope they like
me when they are older for all the shit I do for them now.

4) News.
Is the news that interesting? Ok: Obama, Romney, some celebrity
with big breasts, Greece worries (still), a horrible crime with
a head decapitated and nobody can identify the body, and sports
scores. Was it that great to take up 20 minutes of your life? Wouldn’t
you rather read a funny book or watch a funny movie? Perhaps the
only news that’s mildly interesting are the porn mags like
People magazine. But ok, its titillating but much better
to find it in real life.

5) Theater.
I love a 90 minute funny movie. That’s about my limit.
And it has to be hilarious. I need to be laughing. Or crying. Like
“oh, the horror!” On occasion, I don’t mind good
music in a movie, and I don’t mind quasi-religious things like
“The Force” in Star Wars. For instance, the
roller-skating scene
in Xanadu is acceptable to me. I’m
not smoking crack here. I realize that this is a matter of personal
taste. (But click on the above link for the best three minutes of
your day).

But do you
really like theater? I just took my kids to a play. “Guys and
Dolls”. THREE HOURS! With an intermission in the middle. Is
it that great they had to see it for three hours?

By the way:
If you want a movie recommendation: Here are my top ten. I mix them
up in genres so if you don’t like some genres you can skip

  1. Schindler’s
  2. Lawrence
    of Arabia
  3. The
  4. Superbad
  5. After
  6. A
    Night On Earth
  7. Blade
  8. The
  9. Slumdog
  10. The
    Blues Brothers
  11. Groundhog
    (I threw this in as #11).

Oh, and for
a #12. American

And the list
can keep going. Please add to this list in the comments. Would you
really rather see a play than any of these? ANY. How can anyone
even do a play about Schindler’s List? And for that matter,
is any play going to be better than the tv series “Arrested

6. Voting.
Have you honestly ever voted for anyone on more than a local level
that made your life better. Did Bill Clinton make life better? He
was impeached and sticking cigars up interns vaginas while Osama
Bin Laden was planning our future. And W was no better, killing
tens of thousands in two or three or ten unnecessary wars. Who have
you voted for that made a difference (above the micro-level, where
believe it or not, if they made your life better then you are probably

7. Meditation.
“Oh, I calm my mind when I meditate”. Shut up. Forget
about everyone else for a second. Do you really feel better, calmer,
or wiser, because you meditate? Don’t answer if you are a Tibetan
Lama. I’m not saying all meditation is bad. But the kind where
you sit in the lotus position for 30 minutes and try to think of
“no-mind”. i.e. “American meditation”. Does
that really help you deal with life? Be honest. That’s 30 minutes
you do every day. You could be watching cartoons instead. That will
clear your mind. Stop bullshitting yourself. If you meditate then
call people names on internet message boards then meditation did
not help you.

8. Money.
This is a tricky question. More money is definitely better.
Or is it. I have a sample size of 44. (44 years old). My happiest
year was 1995. I had no money at all. I didn’t even have a
girlfriend for most of the year. I lived in forgotten outpost of
NYC called Astoria. I played chess and backgammon and drank coffee
every night with funny people. I watched movies for free every weekend
at the Museum of the Moving Image. I wrote my phone number down
on two dollar bills to waitress and strippers but nobody ever called.
I was very happy all the time. Then I started to be an entrepreneur.
Then I wasn’t happy anymore. It just took four years from then
to be suicidal. So much for money. Be honest: what was your happiest
year ever?

the rest of the article

31, 2012

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