Monday, August 31, 2009

Sign from God

The bacon was limp and the eggs over cooked, I hated both. At least the coffee was hot which help wash it down. Sitting next to me at the counter was an elderly gentleman in his late 60’s. Being polite I sent a good morning nod his way.
An hour later the bell rings. There at my counter is the same elderly gentleman from the restaurant. He is overwhelmed by the coincidence of having sat next to me at breakfast. Excitement soon rolled out a yarn of his great new business venture. A dream of always wanting to own his own business but never having just the right idea until now.

Having sat next to me just that morning and since I was a printer and printing was the key to his idea, it was like a sign from God, affirming his idea as fool proof. In addition, I was to be his new business partner. Well as much as he was overwhelmed I was underwhelmed with his idea. I already had a business and God must have forgotten to shine His light on the significance of sharing the same air at breakfast. I tried to explain I was a local printer and random meetings with customers at restaurants or grocery stores in the community was not that extraordinary. He bought none of it.
I listened, advised him, and tried to dissuade him all to no avail. I referred him to a web printer down town. Over the months he came into my shop seeking advice and hoping I would reconsider being his partner. He would report his trials and woes as his retirement nest egg frittered away on his business idea. For two years he kept at it but in the end he was broke. His eldest son had heard about me from his father and one day son stood in my office wanting an explanation for his father draining the retirement that his mother and father so desperately needed.
I showed him every invoice of product is father had ordered. I was glad it was no more than a few orders well under $1000.00. He went away sad that his father had been so foolish.
A principle in life: when a person is young he is allowed to be foolish because he has time to recover but when a man matures and is old he is not allowed foolish missteps. The reaper shows little mercy demanding payment in the form of low energy, discouragement, and little time to recover. He violated principle after principle and made decisions to move forward based on wishes rather than a foundation of knowledge. How very sad to lose a life time of savings on wishes.
The old man, creeping into his seventies, would try to find work. Few options were in front of him and his future was bleak. I never saw the gentleman again but I have often wondered how he and his wife fared. My guess is his children had to step up and support them.
Why do I tell you such a tale – maybe it is for me and not for you at all. A reminder that the different times of a man’s life has its own stage where prudence needs to be acted out, where wisdom and common sense should not be over ruled by wishful dreams.
Thanks for listening - Grayquill

14 comments:

Arkansas Patti said...

Aw gee, that is so sad and unfortunate that you were forced to watch the fall of that fellow. I guess you have to admire his dream, just not his hanging on to it long after it was dead.
There is a time to dream and a time to let go. Like you said, it is best done when you have time and ability to recover. Not only sad for him but for his family that must pick up the pieces.

blunt edges said...

i was hoping the story would end with the old man doing well in his venture after the initial debacle...a serious post does come from u every now n then that gets me thinking.

The Survivor said...

I agree that one does get opportunities to retrace their steps in the youth and becomes difficult to stay foolish and hungry at a later stage when they have to support others.

Taking risk is a good thing but it should be based on the foundations of practicability and viability not on mere wishes.

Choco said...

Oh..This was depressing.. But then that is life...for some...

Shanu said...

I have goosebumps. Truly a touching tale!

Sylvia K said...

It is a sad story and unfortunately, all too common. I find it difficult because of my age to see 60 as old -- I didn't retire until I was 67 and then only because the company shut down due to the financial crash in Japan. But even though I still felt young and frisky at 67, I soon realized that there is age discrimination and it was time for me to get another life, which I did. But it didn't involve trying to start a business, still I can understand one still feeling ready to take on the world at any age because it all depends on what your outlook is -- unfortunately, the world in general has a way of throwing a wet blanket over those people very quickly. Ah, the joys of growing old!! they're there, you just have to look a little harder and try not to get too carried away.

Betty said...

He must have wanted very badly to be productive. It's sad that our society seems to be of the opinion that the elderly should be put out to pasture after a certain age.

Grayquill said...

Arkansas Patti: What most frustrated me was here was a man in his sixties and he still was na├»ve in his thinking that people in business get rich quick and easy. He had no idea what it really took to be successful and the amount of hard work it would take, and money it would take. His idea could have worked but he couldn’t make it work. He was short on knowledge, energy, time and money. I don’t admire his dream in fact it ticks me off. I like how you said there is a time to dream and a time to let go.
Thanks for commenting.

Blunt Edges: I’m glad you are thinking – the alternative kind of stinks. Real life does have some good endings.

The Survivor: I agree…may neither of us ever go down that road.

Choco: Yes it is depressing; I probably broke the happy principle of blogging. Sorry.

Shanu: Welcome…Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again.

Sylvia K: You have a great attitude. I wish he would have made it but he didn’t.

Betty: Good comment. It was too bad he didn’t take on something that had less serious ramifications.

Anita :) said...

Sad, yet enlightening story, Grayquill. One with a strong theme and moral. Liked it. Wonder where that old man is, now. But although money is wasted, he followed his heart, I should say. In a world like this, one cannot afford to follow the heart. One has to follow the market trends. :)

Grayquill said...

Anita: A realist is in our midst. Your did a great summary. Thanks

As the Mind Meanders said...

I am just happy the old man tried... how many of us... at any age... have the courage to chase our dreams...

Debra said...

Awww, my heart goes out to the old guy. But I do see the lesson here and one that we would all do well to take note of.

aahang said...

I am with you when you say a young man has age on his side so has a higher risk taking ability but a man who has already seen the ups and down of life perhaps does not enjoy the same status.He needs to be careful with his money - it is not really the time to chase dreams but to stay safe and warm.
Idealism is good but only upto a point.

Grayquill said...

Mr. Mind Meanders: I have have found some are more cut out for risk than others. I really think it is that simple.

Debra: When we are young we don't realize a time will come when are strenght will be gone and time is no longer our friend.

aahang: A man of common sense. I guess idealism can be chased but it might leave the person homeless. Thanks for the comment.