Great, but good?

Mum: "Why do beautiful songs make you sad?"
Oskar: "Because they aren't true."
Mum: "Never?"
Oskar: "Nothing is beautiful and true."

This came from a book I’m reading now, quite obsessively by relative measure. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is turning out to be a remarkable read. Oskar is nine years old, and his dad died in 9/11. This much is told by the book’s cover, so this wouldn’t count as a spoiler. Everything else is worth putting work away or sacrificing time for sleep. I’m halfway through the book, and I think I just might break down and cry at some point in the next few pages.

Just kidding.

Mondays are great because I get rest time after a weekend’s worth of work. What did I do for a day out of the kitchen? A lot of sleep, reading the book with some cake and tea by my bed, and making garlic butter. I guess being in the kitchen is possibly one of my raison d’être, but we can never be too sure about life. Something could be beautiful and true. Nevertheless, after an evening of softening butter, roasting garlic with rosemary, a dash of pepper and salt, pinches of paprika and nutmeg, and finishing with zest of lemons, it’s time to stock up on mouthwash for all the stinky breaths! Hope it turns out well for the pastry team barbecue tomorrow!

Raison d’être translates to ‘reason of being’. Oskar is self-conscious about his raisons d’être, overly so for a nine-year-old. It was reminiscent of the times when I could be frustrated over something like that. I’m less caught up with issues like that now, or so I hope. My raison d’être is to have breakfast everyday. Not bad huh?

On a serious note, it struck me how we try to be ‘great’ people, and not necessarily ‘good’ people. For sure there are some overlaps, but we are often not content to just be good. Our desire to achieve leads us to high-paying jobs and glitzy careers. As much as I wished it wasn’t true, it is an inescapable fact that we are socially engineered to be so. It is human to desire achievement, but what ‘great’ means is rather dependable on upbringing and society. It feels better to think that being good is enough, and perhaps it is more difficult to be good than great. Like… being a good son, a good friend, or just a good person. It’s not mediocrity; I can’t live a mediocre life. But this perspective really helps.

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Here’s to a good Tuesday!

Neko

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