The title of today's blog is one of my absolute favourite sayings. I didn't realize the value of it until much too late in life. If I could go back in time, I think I would have it tattoed on my wrist (in Hangul and English) as soon as I was born. Like all too many things in my life, this value was acquired after painful experience proving why this is true. Or is it? Is there truly that binary? Most people would desire play now, play later. Very few people can pull this off, unless you were sperm lucky, happened to be a trust fund baby, never touch the principle of your investments, and still have an unbelievable life. Sadly, for the 99.9999999% of us that don't fall into that category, the only other absolute that is available to us is pay now, pay later. And tragically, many people reside in this bucket of yuck. But there are a healthy enough percentage of people that are given the choice. Play now, pay later or pay now, play later.
I used to use this example all of the time when I had my own marketing firm. Lots of recent college graduates would start working the entry level job that I was hiring for. After a couple of hours of honest to god real, actual work, the seeds of doubt would start creeping in. This was just too hard. You could always tell what they were thinking, the fear was broadcast all over their face. They would always come up sheepishly and ask if they could have a minute of my time. I always had a sympathetic perspective to these kids because at least they had the courage to come back to work and try to quit versus bolting from the field and never coming back. It happened enough times that we actually coined a phrase for it. Anyway, I knew exactly what these new employees wanted to talk to me about. They wanted to tell me that, yeah, this isn't what they thought it would be. I would patiently listen, accept their resignation, and then tell them that I had one last parting gift of advice. I said by quitting, they were choosing to play. Play is doing what you want. Pay is when you don't. Plain and simple. I can only think of one time in my life where play was actually pay.
There is a rumor going around that I was born into this world wearing French cuff shirts and then started conducting a lecture to the doctor about European style option strategies as a hedge against volatility. That is simply not the case. I was lecturing about AMERICAN style option strategies. Sheesh, the details are super important, you know! Actually, I like to think I was a somewhat normal kid in that I liked to play with toys and you know, have fun from time to time. Fun and toys were an interesting concept in the Fisher household. Especially for the middle kid. Who has two thumbs and was the middle kid? This guy! (Imagine me pointing my thumbs back at myself. You know what, never mind. It doesn't fucking work typing this shit out, it's a complete waste of time). My mother believed in the concept that if it was fun, it should be banned. This policy was strictly enforced when it came to my toys, it was slightly relaxed for Shitbrick and my sister. Come to think of it, I don't know what the hell my sister did, because she sure as shit didn't ever play. I think MTV was her best friend growing up, she had a thing for Simon LeBon. Anyway, enough about my sister's gross romantic fantasies, this is my blog, dammit! So where was I? Oh yeah, non fun toys. This might not make any sense to you, but they exist. Just like vegan meatballs. And they are EXACTLY as horrible as vegan meatballs. One year for Christmas I got a magnetized puzzle map of the world. You got to put all the countries on the board just right in order for the map to be finished. Fucknuts got a Fisher-Price Garage system. I got the Rubik's Triangle. That's right, you heard me. Not the Rubik's Cube. The Rubik's Triangle. Or as I liked to call it, training on how to remove stickers. It was a pyramid and you had to get all five sides the same colour. I think my parents bought 20% of all the Rubik's Pyramids ever sold in the US when they bought the one that became my Christmas present.
Here's the thing. I'm quasi-griping about this because I need to entertain you. But I'm very glad and appreciative that my toys conventionally sucked ass. Yes, I did not get to play with cap pistols. I didn't have any GI Joes, or Transformers. I had Lincoln Logs, erector sets, and things that forced me to visualize and use my brain. What I wasn't fully aware of was that my "play" was actually pay. I was developing my mind to work and think in ways that most other people weren't addressing. Combine that with my constant punishment of not being allowed to watch tv, the only thing left to do besides play with Bristle Blocks was to read books. And that was my childhood. It has caused me to do some incredibly cool things in my adult life and is the primary reason why I've had the jobs that I have had without a degree.
I am most definitely paying right now as I go back to school. I'm trying to find the silver lining in that this is actually fun, but I can promise you that it most definitely is not. But I'm able to pay now and not mind because of the mentality that all those shitty toys back in the day imparted upon me. I think that's why my nephews and niece have amazing conventional toys. My siblings are overcompensating for the types of toys we had as a kid. IF I were to become a parent, I can guarantee you that my kid would be given a peach pit and a bag of scrabble tiles for Christmas. Hey, what can I say, Santa Claus is a real prick.
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