Its the beginning of another seemingly pointless day. In a seemingly endless string of them. Sip my bland, slightly-bitter tasting instant coffee. Eat a bland-tasting banana and an 80 cent turkey pot pie for breakfast. Another day to try and fill with god knows what. . .
For some reason I think of something the billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch once said to a reporter who was watching Murdoch eat his typical morning breakfast — a bland and tasteless bowl of oat meal:
“Fodder for the work-horse,” said Murdoch.
That line stuck with me for several reasons. 1.) Murdoch the billionaire, with every pleasure on the face of the earth at his disposal. And yet he dines on the same bland breakfast as a million other peasants. 2.) Murdoch’s image of himself as a dull, mindless “work-horse.” Grinding out his hours in dull, pointless toil. The work-horse’s only “reward” for his labor is fodder — dull oats. Nothing more than fuel to keep the machine moving.
And it struck me as another example of how life can be such a “shell game.” From the outside-looking-in Rupert Murdoch’s life might look “glamorous” and “successful.” Certainly he is the envy of many a man who would gladly give up their right testacle (and more) to take his place (they’d give up their souls but they already gave those away a long time ago).
And yet the reality of his life is probably that of a tired old man mindlessly stuffing oatmeal in his mouth. Trudging off to yet another day of pointless labor. Mindlessly aquiring more and more wealth that he would never have the time, or the inclination, to actually enjoy.
Of course he could “retire.” But then what would he do? Sit there at his kitchen table in his underwear munching on his oat meal all day long?
I once read this biography that focused on Murdoch’s pursuit of the Wall Street Journal newspaper. A property that Murdoch had long coveted. It was this glorious jewel in his mind that one day must be his. And he pursued it relentlessly for decades. Stalking it like a predator wolf. You can almost see the hungry glint in his eyes. Like Gollum obsessively lusting after his “precious.” You can tell that that’s what most excites Murdoch. The hunt. The thrill of the chase. And finally, after a long and intricate series of chess-like business maneuvers and power plays, the Wall Street Journal is finally his! “Mine!” All mine!!” You can imagine Rupert getting an erection as he conquers the Wall Street Journal.
Once he gets it , of course, it quickly becomes just one more toy in his grotesquely over-stocked toy room. Tossed on top of the pile with all the other junk. And then the hunt begins again. Just like the rest of us. In search of something that we perpetually lust after. That is forever just out of our reach. That’s life, huh? Oh well. At least there’s still solid, dependable oat meal.