Sunday, January 26, 2014

the utility of pipedreams

Last night, sitting on the couch, gabbing easily with my almost-20-year-old son before heading to bed, I was made privy to his latest guy-whimsy goal: "I have decided to make love to one woman from every country in the world," he said. The wishful thinking came on the heels of an amorous encounter the night before with a young woman from Chile. South America struck him as a good starting point for his geographical swordsmanship.

Since there are slightly fewer than 200 countries in the world, my son's announcement struck me as a bit ambitious but also reminded me of a time when my now-dead sister had wanted to quit college at about the age my son is now. "If you did quit," I asked as I tried to talk her out of quitting college, "what would you like to do?" She answered at light-speed, "I want to go to Italy and have a lot of lovers."

Well, my sister never did quit college and now there is no longer the chance to ask her if she regretted her decision.

I saw no reason to try to talk my son out of his guy-thing day dream. First of all, like the 18th century lover Casanova, he genuinely likes women as far as I can figure out. He is not a self-involved power drudge, but someone who enjoys what he enjoys and enjoys the people he enjoys it with. I doubt if he would enjoy what he enjoys if those with whom he enjoys it didn't likewise enjoy it. So, aside from making the obligatory parental noises about "protected sex," I left the topic alone.

How can anyone know they have bitten off more than they can chew without biting off more than they can chew? Look at practicing Buddhists seeking "enlightenment," for example: One woman from each country in the world, a lot of Italian lovers, enlightenment ... time passes and experience kicks in and, from the point of view of the initially-stated goal, who hasn't bitten off more than s/he could chew?

On the one hand, I suppose the whole adventure might be filed under "failure." But in more important ways, I think it can be termed a "success." Doesn't getting your head screwed on right entail -- indeed demand -- a lot of screwy, screws-loose, behavior and thought before the fact?

Of course sorting out what's screwy and what's sane may take some doing, but still ....

Which one of us has not been like the old joke about the determined ant climbing the elephant's hind leg ... with rape in mind?


  1. He could probably manage it within the confines of New York city. A job at the UN might help.

  2. Forget about New York. He has five colleges to lurk in.

  3. What the world's women think of this ambition is at present a moot point.