Let me generate some envy among my friends. While they're heading to Baltimore for four days of schmoozing, drinking, and carousing at Bouchercon, the world’s largest crime fiction conference, I am getting ready to spend a day meditating and praying and fasting. Let them eat (don’t say that word to me tomorrow) their hearts out.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, starts this evening and the fasting that goes with it is supposed to encourage introspection, I guess. The rules are tough in one respect – no liquid or food from sundown tonight till darkness tomorrow – but reasonable in another: the young, elderly, nursing, pregnant, or sick are absolved from fasting. As regular readers of this blog know, I am a tea addict. The hot green liquid fuels my writing engine. Part of being an addict is craving. The other part is a physical reaction when your addiction goes unsatisfied. I qualify on that score, too. If I don’t have tea, I end up with a whopper of a headache. An iron band closes around my forehead, while the top of my head is used as an anvil by an invisible blacksmith. Several years ago a rabbi-friend told me that God doesn’t want me writhing in agony during services. So once or twice tomorrow, I’ll swallow a couple of Excedrin, a dry cocktail of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine.
Living amidst the riches of Silicon Valley requires a level head and good balance. (One daughter had her locker next to a classmate’s whose father made more than $250M in salary and bonus in a single year.) Otherwise, one would spend all his time bursting with envy. An underestimated factor in garnering Silicon Valley wealth is luck. There used to be an eTrade billboard on 101 that said, “Someone will win the lottery. It just won’t be you.” Exactly. In the middle of a wall in my office, I have a piece of framed parchment with a quote from the ancient sage Ben Zoma. In Hebrew it asks, “Who is rich? The person who rejoices in what he has.” I keep trying to remember that as I watch my savings evaporate. I have my family, friends, colleagues, writing, and more – despite the confounded stock market, I need to rejoice more. A worthy resolution for year 5769 on the Jewish calendar, don’t you think?
May you all be sealed in the Book of Life for a good and sweet year.