SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Snow is a heck of a lot of fun, providing an excellent reason for being outside in cold weather while skiing, sledding, building snowmen or forts, and having snowball fights. Because of those enjoyable activities I’ve loved the winter ever since my youth but to tell you the truth, due to this year’s above average snowfall I’m ready to say enough is enough. Last week’s storm deposited an additional 21 inches of the white stuff on top of the already enormous glacier at the end of our driveway, increasing its height to over seven feet, and there was just nowhere else for our plow guy to pile the snow without blocking the garage door. That’s just one more reason to say that I’m delighted to see Spring Training in full swing, signaling that another baseball season is only two weeks away.
As in every other year I can’t wait for the games to begin and imagine that the boys of summer are even more excited than I to finally get to play the sport they love. How fortunate they are to actually get paid to do something they, and the rest of us, have willingly done for free since childhood. How many other occupations are there where the participants can’t wait to get to work each day, not only because it’s fun but because they get the chance to bask in their fans’ adulation. Is it any wonder that most are so reluctant to have their careers come to an end, since while signifying that they’re aging it also means they’re going to lose the limelight they’ve enjoyed for so many years.
Like the vast majority, I was never a professional athlete but was lucky nonetheless to fall into a field of endeavor that provided a decent living while being interesting and pleasurable enough for me to cheerfully go to work each day, and also one that kept me continually employed until retirement. I say “fall into” since it was just by good fortune that the computer industry was in its infancy and IBM was hiring at the precise moment I came out of the Army. Had I been discharged a year or two either way, who knows what I would have done for a living, for don’t most people find their life’s work strictly by chance? How unfortunate it would have been if I was stuck in a job that I dreaded to attend, for after all we spend more waking moments working than doing anything else. Money alone is not enough compensation and it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as it’s something you like.
Rich folks get ulcers, die young, or even commit suicide as much as anyone else, maybe even more, so accumulating wealth without being happy seems pointless, or just plain sad. One day last week while taking my usual afternoon walk around the neighborhood for exercise I happened to see our letter carrier deliver a small package to a neighbor’s front door. While walking back to his vehicle he bent down, made a snowball, and playfully lofted it onto the top of his mail truck. Noticing that I was watching his childish behavior, he sheepishly grinned and said “you gotta have some fun while you work.” Fun indeed. I gave him a thumbs-up and replied that with that attitude he’d never really work a day in his life. I never did either.