Michael Thomason mug

Michael Thomason

At my great and advanced age I should be long retired, exploring America in Bermuda shorts and black socks behind the wheel of a huge RV. Every year of late, I think of what I could be doing before deciding to stay in the self-employment game for one more lap around the calendar. It would seem from the economy today the safest thing to do is sail along as is. Lord knows, it’s better to have a job than not, rather than just getting by on a fixed retirement income. I get by just fine.

I’ve got a pretty good racket going these days. I come in every morning when I feel like it, around 9 a.m. more or less. By that time, the place is buzzing with activity. Margaret is on the phone with customers and suppliers while the guys are starting on their daily routine. My routine is dealing with paperwork scattered on my desk and post-it notes Margaret has stuck to my chair.

She sometimes lets me get settled in before including me in the morning mayhem. Other times, she stops me at her desk with a look or a gesture. I like to tell customers I just own the joint. If you want to know how it operates, ask Margaret.

At my desk, I get my head wrapped around the general outlines of the day. I see the boys come and go in the trucks and vans, and hear the jangle of the phone and marvel at the growth our little company has seen over the years. Once upon a time, it was just me. I take calls and make notes for a while before I head out to visit customers or the bank or the post office. It’s a routine, but not a rut. I still enjoy the whole experience.

Once upon a time, all I ever thought about was owning my own business and making it a success. I’ve gotten there, I think, and it feels pretty good. But I don’t ever want to become complacent. Complacent people can become lazy, even dangerous, people.

I was just reading up on the fate of the HMS Bounty mutineers who settled on uninhabited Pitcairn island in 1789. The rebellious crewmen were led by Fletcher Christian. After setting Captain Bligh adrift with a few loyal crew members, they sailed back to Tahiti and picked up some Tahitian men along with a gaggle of Tahitian women. The group then sailed off to start a new life of on faraway Pitcairn Island, burning the Bounty to prevent discovery and perhaps- escape.

They did well for a time, according to contemporary accounts. But there came a time when boredom and indolence set in. The two opposing groups of men began to argue over the women. The European fellows felt superior to the Tahitians and before long took to lording over them rather than partnering with them. They maneuvered things around to make the Tahitians the laborers and them the masters. After a time, someone figured out how to make liquor from local plants, and that’s when the fun really began. Here you had an island with more women than men, two groups of males competing for their attention, and all the time in the world to plot and plan. Now, add alcohol to the mix and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. It was the beginning of the end of paradise. I am too lazy to look up the statistics just now, but it was not very long at all before every man on the island was dead but one. The Tahitian men murdered the Europeans first; mostly in one night. They had all the women and alcohol to themselves for quite a while. But as time passed, the survivors turned on one another and there you have it, a group of folks living in but not content with paradise, running all over the place drinking like fools and killing one another for sport and women. Ah, the good old days!

I never want to become lazy and complacent. I want to enjoy what I do and remain eager to go to work as I always have. I want to stay curious and involved. I doubt I will ever retire officially, so long as I have such a racket going. And I swear to myself I will never take advantage of others just because I’m too lazy to do something myself.

Well, enough of all this! Instead of taking care of business, I’ve been sitting here writing. Margaret is calling from the front office and I need to get up anyway and see what the world has in store for me today. I think I will be fine; so long as I can avoid mixing mutiny, Tahitian women and alcohol. Near as I can tell.

Trending Video