I’m on a plane to Berlin with a suitcase full of questions. I didn’t pay overweight even though the questions were really heavy. When I studied veterinary medicine and was treating pets I gauged myself completely irrelevant. I wanted to treat world hunger, not a dog’s flea itch. And then I specialized in livestock parasitology and became a buffalo doctor. And after that I went into the pharma business and brought new medicines to all corners of the planet. Eventually I saw less and less animals of sorts and increasingly more people of sorts. And along the way I solved some of the questions in my bag while adding others to the pile. One specific question posed itself increasingly louder and became increasingly harder to answer. To stop its nagging and gnawing at me, I decided to travel farther and work harder and meet even more people of sorts. And I met many people who were arguably very important, and then I met many people who were arguably very rich because they had always been arguably so very clever, and then I met arguably happy people. OMG! How arguably happy these people were and what arguably interesting lives they all had! Pitiful poor little me! And then I spent sleepless nights and weeks and months trying to be just like them; I stopped saving the world or anything or whatsoever and focused hard on being very important and having money and happiness and pretending to be oh so clever.
Yet the question lingered.
And here I am sitting on a plane to Berlin. The city where my mother was born on the eve of Crystal night and where my grandfather held her tight, crouched under the dining table, while bloodthirsty animals of sorts ran havoc in the streets below. And I was thinking how incredibly relevant it was that a grandson would go back there and work and dine and sleep in these very same streets and that a grandson could make his voice be heard in this very same place that had tried so hard to erase us, to deny us, to wipe us from existence.
And two seats away from me I recognized a young Belgian musician called Stromae, who is famous in my country and well on his way to become famous in the rest of the world too. And just beside me sat his manager, Dimitri. They were friendly and easy going fellows and we started talking. So they told me about showbiz and I told them about buffaloes and about pig business and in the end our jobs didn’t seem to be too different. And we talked about our travels and I had seen more than them but they had been seen more than me. And we talked about our children and I had more than them but they were just starting. And then I thought about Berlin and about my grandfather and I told Dimitri that I was proud of him and proud of Stromae because they had united Belgians of all races and languages and beliefs. And he thanked me and he brought his hand to his head as if to support an idea that was too heavy for words alone. And suddenly, there it was, leaving his lips and hovering midair between the palm of his hand and his forehead; the question that continued to weigh down my luggage ever since I left school twenty five years ago. Dimitri had almost whispered it, more to himself than to me:” It is all about how to keep the passion!”
And I will continue to travel, searching for relevance and meaning and I will meet people of sorts and new questions will come and some will get solved and most will never. But to know the young and the bright around me sharing this same quest with the same hunger and ambition is just great! It is simply and not at all arguably “Formidable”!
Alors on dance!