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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

As if to prove the point I made yesterday, I bought a four-cassette, six-hour Tom Clancy audiobook for 50p in a hospice shop at lunchtime today. So that car stereo had bloomin' well better arrive. There's no sign of it yet, so the seller's probably stealing it to order from the local council estate.

By way of contrast, I spent yesterday in a corner of Sussex so classy that it doesn't even have charity shops. The neediest locals are the ones who can only afford a part-time butler. There's not much for a commoner like myself to do at lunchtime (which explains the length of yesterday's blog post), but they do have other things going on...

One for the Ladies
Not only are they ladies, but they're British and they're amateurs. So a round of golf could take all week. I bet they're still hacking away as we speak. But still, it's the closest the local gentlemen are ever likely to get to a bit of rough in their neighbourhood.

That aside, it was inspiring place to spend a day, not least because of the text I found hanging on the wall of the GP's surgery I was working in. I remember seeing it when I was last there a year ago, but I failed to write it down or look it up. Having researched it last night, it's a story which appears on the internet in various forms, and seems to be about ten years old, but the author remains unknown. I thought it was worth reproducing...

The Rat Race Explained

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. "Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go to the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs... I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one, and a third one, and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise!"

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years." replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?"

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your time with your friends..."

And people wonder why I have no ambition...


Phil's Mum said...

I like it!  You probably have no ambition because you take after me.

jon the bassist said...


Dave said...

Of course, if one has millions in the bank, one doesn't have to worry what the family will eat if you're unable to catch any fish today.