Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The One Big Score!

Editing note: The following is my opinion. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my co-author (I didn't ask). It is also meant to be humorous and not snarky. I leave it to the reader to determine if I succeeded in that. But any way you slice it, it is my opinion. Feel free to disagree with it. It's not sacred. Nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Just so you know.


There are three types of people (actually, depending on how your judging there can be as many as there are individuals, but roll with me on this one). 1) People who operate on the someday principle, but never really pursue anything in any concerted manner ("Waiting for the Fairy Godmother") ; 2) Plodders who plug away step by step in pursuit of their goals (not terribly exciting, but effective); and 3) People planning "The One Big Score!"

"The One Big Score" is what reality television is all about. All I have to do is put in a LOT of effort for a VERY short period and I, too, can have millions of dollars. It plays into a lot of the American mythos. Anybody can be president, anybody can be a millionaire, we're all equal after all.

I hate it.

Let me say why. Yes, there are people who win at Powerball. There is one contestant on each of those shows who will win whatever the prize is. But you see, they won't have learned what to DO with it once they've got it. So a lot more times than people think the money gets pissed away before the "winner" knows it and they're left wondering "what the hell happened?" and "What'm I gonna do now?" And it happens just often enough to make people who don't want to work very hard or for a long time ammunition to say "SEE, SEE, it IS possible, it ISN'T STUPID, it COULD happen to ME!" So that they don't feel like they HAVE to do anything and a whole LOT of them piss away the chances they get, risking the success they have for something bigger, brighter, shinier and NEWER.

But you can't tell 'em that.

If you plod away at something with serious determination you will probably eventually get where you're going (barring life altering disaster). It won't be pretty. It's not going to be terribly exciting. But, (and this is a big one) you will have had years of experience and minor setbacks to teach you what works and what doesn't. You will also probably be a whole lot more careful what risks you take with money it took you a lot of time and sweat to earn. The risks you take will be calculated risks. And if you do lose, you have all that experience so you know how to do it over again (and faster, with less mistakes) if you have to.

Can you tell I'm a plodder?

I am.

Boring as hell too. (Apparently, although I of course believe I am possessed of immense charm, humor, and great wit. Those cretins who think otherwise simply do not understand! [If you can't see the sarcasm there, please put on your glasses and try again.])

But here and now I stand proud and defiant in defense of plodders everwhere. They stand behind me unknowing (because they're busy taking care of business) in their sensible shoes (because after all, if you have to plod you'd better be comfortable) and keep the world moving in a somewhat orderly forward motion, bearing the scorn of those who feel that a life that includes toil is a life wasted. (Now I grant you, constant toil -- not so hot. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt, sweat shirt, and shiny silk jacket.) But you don't appreciate (wow, I sound like my mother) things you don't earn. (Yeah Mom, I'm admitting you were right. And no, to my knowledge the world isn't ending).

Balance people, balance. Some toil, some fun, more toil, more fun. Because if all you do is toil, you burn out. But if all you do is screw around, your life in the long term will most assuredly suck. (Unless you're one of the lucky fractional number of winners or you marry a plodder who loves your impish charm).

Plodding pays off long term. Laziness pays off short term. The question becomes, which is more important to you consistently. Because what you do consistently will determine your future.

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