Sunday, October 16, 2011

A letter written by a wealthy industrialist to his son (to be read in the event that their corporate empire collapsed)

Dear son,

Something big and bad has happened to you or you wouldn't be reading this letter. I am writing this letter to tell you to calm down about the bad things and kind of look around and see if something good or something important anyway happened on account of we got so rich and then lost the boodle again. What I want you to try and find out is, is there anything special going on or is it all just as crazy as it looked to me?

If I wasn't a very good father or a very good anything that was because I was as good as dead for a long time before I died. Nobody loved me and I wasn't very good at anything and I couldn't find any hobbies I liked and I was sick and tired of selling pots and pants and watching television so I was as good as dead and I was too far gone to ever come back.

That is when I started the business with the Bible and you know what happened after that. It looked as though somebody or something wanted me to own the whole planet even though I was as good as dead. I kept my eyes open for some kind of signal that would tell me what it was all about but there wasn't any signal. I just went on getting richer and richer.

And then your mother sent me that picture of you on the beach and the way you looked at me out of that picture made me think maybe you were what all the big money buildup was for. I decided I would die without ever seeing any sense to it and maybe you would be the one who would all of a sudden see everything clear as a bell. I tell you even a half-dead man hates to be alive and not be able to see any sense to it.

The reason I told Ransom K. Fern to give you this letter only if your luck turned bad is that nobody thinks or notices anything as long as his luck is good. Why should he?

So have a look around for me, boy. And if you go broke and somebody comes along with a crazy proposition my advice is to take it. You might just learn something when you're in a mood to learn something. The only thing I ever learned was that some people are lucky and other people aren't and not even a graduate of Harvard Business School can say why.

Yours truly,

Your Pa

[from The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.]

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