flat on the bottom

Stopped to talk to a buddy who’s refurbishing an old house on his property.

He’s using a lot of red oak tongue and groove paneling that he had milled from some lumber that he had drying out for a couple of years…using some hickory that was in the same pile of rough sawn, too.  It looks great.

I asked him how it was going..and he mentioned that he had to take a break to fix his lawnmower.

“I’ve got to fix that tire….it went flat on the bottom”.

Flat on the bottom…ahhh, I love that.

I’ve mentioned before that most of how we find life is just a matter of perspective…one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor….and this is a really nice example of that.

Sometimes, I don’t know that I’m supposed to feel bad until someone reminds me.  “Don’t you know?  It’s just not fair…you should do something about it.”

Well…life isn’t fair, things aren’t equal, some folks have it better, you never really get a break….etc., etc., etc.  Alright already…I get it.

But, like that t-shirt said…Life is G….

Makes me think of a story that I heard that I really liked about a Mexican fisherman….

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you.  You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat.  With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.  Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing, and distribution.  You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

That’s a hard thing to accomplish if you’re already skirting close to the side giving the fisherman advice …to make the move to a sustainable retirement… without working at making the move to a sustainable retirement….that’s a hard thing to figure out.

When work and life are so intertwined that where one starts and the other ends is impossible to measure…how do you arrive at that destination?  How do you make what you love your livelihood?  Or is it just a question of figuring out how to love what you do for a living?

And who wants to “jump ship” when you’ve got a good thing going?  No matter how nice the island in the distance seems with its palm trees swaying and all the coconut milk you can drink, on the ship you get to suck limes and never worry about getting scurvy.  And I think people respect that decision.  It is expected and to be respected that when someone asks you, “howzit goin’ ?” you can say, “pretty good…I’m still sucking a lot of limes…”

Sucking limes…flat on the bottom…I guess in the end we all just kind of muddle through and watch the days zoom past.

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