That’s how I was livin’?  Surrounded by girls and strangers.  I chose not to choose.  I chose not to be like you, like them, like anything.  A Rebel Without a Cause, or a Clue.

Is this really what it’s all about?  Going to a good school, and getting good grades, so you can get into a good college, so you can get a good job, so you can have a good marriage and kids, who you put into good schools, so they can get into a good college and get a good job that will afford a good marriage and good schools for their kids…?

This was not my future, spending the best hours of the best days of the best years of my life sitting in a cubicle?  Living in a cube, staring at a tube, dreaming of a picket fence?

I don’t want “the job, the family, the f—ing big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die”?

You know in Maine there was this fisherman, he lived by the sea.  He had a simple life.  He wasn’t poor or rich.  When he had a good catch, he’d take a couple of days off.  When he didn’t, he’d head in early and live to fish another day.  One day, a businessman from New York, a stockbroker, came to the coast of Maine for vacation.  He was on a walk and he saw this fisherman, so he asked him,

“What are you doing?”

“Well, I set out my lobster traps and now I’m going to take a nap and check ’em later?”

“Whaddo you do with your lobsters?”

“Oh, I sell ’em to the local market, a truck drives by every morning and evening.”

“Oh, buddy, lemme tell ya:  you’ve got it all wrong.”

“Really, whaddo you mean?”

“You should go to a bank and get a business loan.”

“What’ll I do with that?”

“You buy yourself a lobster trawler, you know, the boat.  Then you hire an assistant, and you and him will be lobstering 24/7.”

“Well I guess we’d catch a lotta lobster.”

“You betcha you will.  And soon enough you’ll have your loan paid off.  Then you can invest your profits.”

“Invest ’em?  In what?”

“More trawlers, that’s what.  Pretty soon, you’ll have your own company.”

“My own company?  What am I gonna do with that?”

“You’ll dominate the region.  Imagine, you, not going to the market, not selling to the market, but owning the market.”

“Well, hell, that’s outta sight.  Then what?”

“Well, you can branch out into other ventures, lobster-related of course.  For example, you could open your own chain of restaurants.  What’s your name, buddy?”

“James.  James Thomason.”

“James…  Thomason…  Hmmm….  JT’s By The Sea.  That’s the name.  JT’s By The Sea Lobster and Seafood.  How d’you like the sound o’that?”

“Best name I could think of.  But, mister, your ideas sound good and all.  But where does it all end?  I mean, this sounds like a lotta money and hard work.”

“This is the good part.  Once you’ve gotten your chain of restaurants and wholesale and distribution, you take your company public.”

“Public?  Public like what?”

“You let investors put money into your company.  It’s like a fundraiser to have money to do more business.”

“Well can I keep any of it?”

“That’s the point!  You can cash out, sell all your shares of the company and put it all- all of it- into the bank.”

“Really?!  You’ve got some really good ideas.  Whaddo you reckon I should do with all that money?”

“Why, retire, of course.”

“What’ll I do after I retire?”

“Well you buy yourself a house on the beach, and spend the rest of your life fishing all day…”

Why not just take the shortcut, live the dream instead of just dreaming about living the dream?  Really, how long is it gonna take to get a good enough job to pay off the school loan you took so you could get a good enough job to have the income to take out a mortgage for a house big enough to get a home equity loan to pay your kids’ way through college?

Is there a bigger dream than having enough money to borrow more money?

But what’s there to reach for besides the pie in the sky?

“Sometimes I look up at the stares and analyze the sky

and ask myself ‘Was I meant to be here?



Quotes from picture and 4th paragraph from the 1996 film Trainspotting.

Final quote from Ghostface Killah’s “All That I Got is You.”


3 comments on “Choose.

  1. Salaam wa 3leikum. I believe that we should add financial literacy into our public school system from the primary level onward. As Mark Cuban put it, going to college is a business decision: from which school to attend, how to fund your education, etc. I believe too many people see college as a birthright and they feel entitled to all its luxuries without having to pay for it. Our schools have oversold college; they’ve made it into a mandate for student (i.e. middle and upper class students) and if you don’t, something’s wrong with you. I battled with many colleagues on this issue. From my first year teaching, I opposed their mantra of “every kid is going to college”. To this day, my mantra is to teach to where the student will have “the wherewithal and full competence of making the decision to go to college or choose another path.”
    We need more efforts, early and strong, on career planning from an occupational and economic standpoint from our schools.

    • wa ‘alaykum asSalaam. You’re right. School should prepare them for life: balancing a checkbooks, the life of a loan re-payment, basic job skills, etc. In my “Honors” World History class, we watched Braveheart to “study” the Middle Ages, and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life to study the 1800s. Can you imagine how much more a student could have gotten out of that time. College (University) is only as good as what it leads you to. You have to know your target, then adopt an approach, which may or may not include college, and even if it does there’s still the matter of when. Our schools are failing us intentionally.

      Here’s something for you to chew on for awhile:

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