I’m not exactly sure what Greenberg is about and as often happens I may have unintentionally misinterpreted the message. (I always thought that book Who Moved My Cheese was about dealing with little annoyances, you know, like someone messing around with your cheese in the fridge, when the reference is really about mice in a maze and dealing with change. Ok, whatever.)
I think Greenberg is about an emotionally immature, bitter, 40-something Park Slope douche who’s angry over missed opportunities. I’ve noticed a bit of, “I don’t need to see that, it’s in front of us” on blogs (and more than few “hated so much I walked out of the theater” mentions). But I don’t think it is.
This certainly describes a lot of guys in their 20s, creeping into their 30s…it’s 40s and beyond where I balk. At least in upper-middle-class Brooklyn.
While NYC is home to a disproportionate amount of those who’ve made it, so to speak, the number of humans in the world who write for the New Yorker, play professional sports, are in a famous band, are CEOs, win Nobel Prizes or own multimillion-dollar homes, is extremely small. Most of us fall somewhere in that great broad spectrum of accomplishment. Some of us are ok with our achievements; some are paralyzed by unfulfilled potential.
However, nature has a remedy for self-doubt and dwelling on roads not taken: babies. Park Slope is downright homeopathic in this regard. Focusing all of your energy on another living being is the perfect distraction from thinking about your own inadequacies. That is why selfishness is the biggest criticism of women who do not want children.
I don’t want to be a Greenberg. I also don’t want to be a parent.
I imagine this is how passions for gardening, bird-watching, stamp collecting (and hoarding) develop.