My sister will be 40 on March 1. I gave her a trip to Oslo. We'll be cruising together in a commodore captain's cabin, which means that you get both the view and the champagne for the entire duration. I gave her the present in advance as she needs to arrange some vacation, so I couldn't keep it a secret. She was ever so enthusiastic. But the more excited she got, the more suspicious I got. “What do you mean, you love Norway?” I asked her. “I introduced you to Norway. Norway is mine.” “No, it's not,” she retorted. “Yes it is,” I said. “No, it's not,” she said. “Yes. It is. Period,” I insisted. And I was ready to hit on her head. We did this for 10 minutes. We were back in kindergarten. It occurred to me that what gave me this strong sense of entitlement over Norway is my strong desire for Norway. So I made the inference: desire equals entitlement. Hmm, is this always the case, I asked myself, while adopting a philosophical air. I wasn't so sure I liked this equation. Then I thought: Bloody hell. We live in a culture of entitlement. My students are entitled to good education, and never mind that they hardly ever come prepared to classes. The government is entitled to ask us to publish our shit in the toilet they assign for this very comfort. My friend, the genius Herr Lektor, has just informed the world that he had just submitted a paper, which he wrote every single word for, devised every single strategy for, and thought every single idea for, to be accepted in a 4,2 rated for importance, impact, relevance and the other blah's Journal of Mathematics. The only problem is that another schmuck felt entitled to have his illustrious empty head feature as the main author of this very paper, as my friend made the mistake of “prostituting” himself for the greater good of academic life. (Herr Lektor, your lektorship, don't kiss ass in the future; it's hardly worth the trouble). Given this scenario, I made a second inference: lack of entitlement equals misery. Or what? Today I got up with this thought in my head. I must say, “I love you” to someone. Say it directly. On second thought, though, I wasn't so sure I was entitled to it. And even if I were, hasn't this been a fact of life, since the dawn of days, that love needs no words? If I'm entitled to anything, I'm entitled to believing that. Thank god for second thoughts. They entitle us to always think twice.