This could have been me, sitting at sunset on a beach in Langkawi, with a typewriter on my knees, writing….
When I was young, I wanted to become a journalist. As a teenager, I started writing for the local press in Sollefteå where I grew up and later also for the national newspaper Expressen in Stockholm. For someone still attending school, I earned good money. But my parents did not like the idea. Being a journalist was not having a real job.
Instead, they found a role model for me. One of their friends was a successful banker in Stockholm, Wilhelm Rodius. “Look at Rodius”, my mother used to say to me. “See how successful he is”. Sometimes when we passed through the middle part of Sweden, we used to stay with the Rodius family in their big apartment at Drottninggatan in Stockholm or at their mansion outside Stockholm. I remember Wilhelm Rodius – rather tall, grey hair with some baldness – with the looks of a respectable banker. After some years, my parents had convinced me – I should go to the Stockholm School of Economics and then join a bank.
Wilhelm Rodius became my parent’s role model for me – until the day the bubble burst.
In Swedish criminal history, Wilhelm Rodius has gone down as “The Fireplace Murderer” (“Kakelugnsmördaren” in Swedish). When the family was at the country side, he invited one of his clients to the apartment at Drottninggatan – a retired, unmarried but rich dentist with no close relatives. In his apartment, he killed the dentist, cut his body into many pieces and burnt the pieces in the three fireplaces in the apartment. And of course, he embezzled his money.
My role model Wilhelm Rodius spent more than 20 years in prison. I spent more than 30 years in a pharmaceutical company.
We all find different paths in life….