Sunday, September 21, 2008

Open Letter to a Nephew by Steve Wheeler

by Steve Wheeler

Dear Nephew,

Unaccustomed as I am to giving advice to anybody these days, I must do this: lay down some guidelines for the younger generation. It feels like an inescapable weight on one’s shoulders, a duty and obligation. Whoever said that youth was wasted on the young must have known about the principles.

The three principles which I will list and attempt to elucidate. These principles will ensure survival and success in today’s and tomorrow’s world.

From a lifetime of observation and other sources, I have gathered this wisdom and will now impart it to you, my nephew and all who know you. Even those who don’t.

1. Borrow as much as possible from family and friends. They’re usually the last ones who’ll turn on you, giving you the benefit of the doubt, holding off their fury because you’re related or know someone who knows someone.

An unfortunate corollary to this type of activity is the necessity for a packed bag and alternate identities, with pictures, if possible. In case of partners’ unfounded accusations of overspending or, God forbid, fraud.

It’s getting harder to manage in these days of everybody killing each other for various reasons, but it was always thus. The killing was just cruder. There is always a way. Always a means of obtaining a false identity.

Of course, families and friends should also be involved with you in as many business ventures as possible. This stimulates, among other things, their careful observance of your health and well being.

Once you have wormed your way in, ingratiated yourself, made yourself indispensable to them, with the least amount of work, you are an asset, a part of the company.

The corollary can also come in handy in these enterprises, if things don’t go well.

When one shakes off the impetuous dreams of youth for a moment, one can clearly see upon which side one’s bread is buttered. Business relationships with family and friends should be encouraged and manipulated with care.

2. Don’t fall for that security versus creativity stuff. Go for the security, of course. You can look like you don’t care, act like it, say it, especially when women think you’re romantic because of it, but nobody wants to starve, so, keep a back door, a way out. You won’t have time for shame when you’ve bailed out on the co-op and you’re trying to survive.

Accumulate as many toys as possible. Gather all and sundry and lock them up. Collect things, the more valuable, the better. Never too many of the valuable ones. There’ll always be a place to put them.

The creative urge is sneaky and devious. It is more seductive than the security side, but you don’t want to grow old without being surrounded by as much security as possible.

The creativity side may look attractive when you’re young. All that freedom etc., but the odds against anyone producing security out of creativity are huge. It is a foolish longshot, not worthy of a man who is serious about security.

Let the starving artists drink beer in their roach infested garrets after you’ve accumulated their creations. Exceptions are made for long legged beauties in black tights. Temporary cohabitation is permissible there.

3.Honesty is not always the best policy. In most cases it’s downright foolish. All of the great wealth has been accumulated by dishonesty of one sort or another. Things change. Perceptions of certain activities change.

Cunning, guile and deviousness have their place in the ready arsenal of a young man trying to make his way in this world. Lying hypocrites are survivors. Politicians in any age are shining examples.

Machiavelli’s wisdom is always good bedtime reading.

There can be few more refreshing pleasures, when one wakes up in the morning, than a good bullying session. A suitably inferior person can be fooled into thinking they must take the abuse which you hurl their way, thus proving that dishonesty is most often triumphant and replacing the need for a brisk walk to start one’s day.

I’ve imparted some hard truths here. I wouldn’t have bothered except that you’re my sister’s kid and my own children haven’t spoken to me for twenty years. The divorce was between their mother and me, none of their business.

After all, one must consider one’s office staff. (A specific tip here: refuse point blank, in no uncertain terms, any job offered you without a suitable office staff. Secretaries and receptionists should be young, attractive, ambitious and immoral. Attention to these details will ensure an enjoyable workplace when one has to attend)

The males of our clan always passed down the three principles before they died from the effects of their short, brutal lives.
I know what kind of a family you must survive in and what kind of world you face, so I feel compelled to tell you, though it’s bad news: they get the last laugh.

Women in this family, in general, outlive men.

After all the fussing is over, at the end, you die and they keep going.

It doesn’t seem fair, but it was always thus. There are many years to come before you’ll have to worry about it.

In the meantime, think of your old uncle and remember, cannibalism isn’t a notion which should be lightly dismissed on long flights.


Uncle Steve

Editor's Note: "Open Letter to a Nephew" was originally published at Savage Manners.

Author bio:

Most of Steve's published work can be found at Wheeler Write, and Wheeler Write at Blogger.

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