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From the Grumpy Old Man: I’m not an addict

It’s not a habit, it’s cool, I feel alive
If you don’t have it you’re on the other side
I’m not an addict (maybe that’s a lie)

These are some of the lyrics from the song called “Not an addict” by a Belgian group called k’s Choise . It kind of reflects my relationship with SDN. Despite all my good intentions to spend less of my spare time on SDN – here I still am. Some might say that it’s getting out of all proportion, and even doubt the worth of all of it, especially when you see that some people don’t even bother to respond, or reward points, when a (genuine) solution is provided for the problems that they posted in the forums. Maybe, maybe not. Who can tell?
I guess I’m a bit like my hero Peter Gabriel. He started telling stories when he was still part of Genesis. That band was notorious for their conceptual albums with all different instrument setups. That meant that performing live wasn’t easy. The time needed for tuning took so long that huge gaps disturbed the performance. So Peter started to tell stories, and after a while he dressed up in special costumes. It ended up with Genesis giving live shows where the music was the interlude for Peter’s acts instead of vice versa. Well, he still isn’t finished telling stories after 40 years in the music business.

It is true that I like to tell stories, and every second that my mind strays off I’m busy thinking about new story possibilities. That happened to me on December 1st, 2005 when I was in hospital for surgery, adding an extra screw (because I had a screw loose;-)). The moment I woke up the recovery room I was – high on laughing gas – conceiving story lines for the following web logs, and by the day after I was already responding in forums. My condition was even an inspiration for my Blank Canvas on the canvas-tag in Firefox. In fact my face was swollen and I looked a bit like Chip (or Dale) – you know the chipmunks from the Donald Duck stories – or a hamster. A few days later I turned yellow on top, so I looked like the smiley in that web log.

Having said this, I honestly don’t exactly know what drives me to contribute all the time (for more than a year now). Perhaps it’s because I find that SDN can be boiled down to the four virtues (of Prudence or Wisdom) described in De Officiis (On Moral Duties) by Marcus Cicero:

  • Scientia: knowledge or, in the case of SDN, the sharing of it
  • Beneficentia: noble. There is no place for expediency
  • Fortitudo: fortitude or determination
  • Modestia: temperance. SDN isn’t about ego-enhancement
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