Have you ever thought to yourself, “Boy, if I could have back all the money I spent on racing …?” I make it a point not to think about that, at least until tax time, but occasionally the thought creeps in, usually the result of “discussions” with my wife about what I’ve spent on what she considers a hobby.
Of course, racing has become more than a hobby to me, and she has been tolerant and understanding over the years, so I can’t fault her for concerns over household coffers and things like college for our kids, retirement and other matters that come with adulting. In a way, it reminds me of that old story about the Mexican fisherman and an American investment banker, which goes something like this:
While the banker was vacationing in a small coastal Mexican village, he watched a fisherman come in and dock, and noticed he had caught several large fresh fish, and asked him how long it took to catch them. “Only a little while,” the fisherman replied. “I sleep late, fish a little, and take a siesta with my wife.”
The banker asked why he didn’t stay out longer to catch more fish. The fisherman said what he caught was enough to support his family’s needs, and that he usually spent the rest of his day with his family, walking on the beach, sipping wine and playing guitar with his friends at night.
The banker said he could help the fisherman. If he spent more time fishing, he could use the proceeds to buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, he could buy more boats, then a fleet, then his own processing plant and cannery. The banker explained the fisherman could control the product, processing and distribution, but he probably would have to move to a city. The fisherman asked how long it would take to build such a business. The banker replied 15 to 20 years. “Then what?” the fisherman asked.
The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become rich. You could make millions.” “Then what?” the fisherman asked.
The investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to the coast, sleep late, fish a little, take siestas with your wife, walk on the beach, sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”
The moral of the story, of course, is that the fisherman already had what the banker sought to create for him, and that kind of loosely brings me back to racing. If I could have back all the money I have spent on racing, what would I do with it? How do I look at it? Like the fisherman or the banker?
In the end, I’d probably end up spending it on cars anyway, or racing, so I can certainly see the fisherman’s point. I could put some toward good wine, maybe a place near the beach for my wife and me and maybe enough to send the kids to college. The rest I’d probably squander.