As I have loudly and often proclaimed herein, one of my goals is to start meaningful, rational discussions about the current state of our world, and how to get from here to utopia—or at least, next week. To that end, I offer the opportunity to others to post ideas, rants, soliloquies, musings, and just plain old talking points on this blog.
Occasionally, someone will take me up on my offer. Today’s guest poster is Donald Treder, my father-in-law. Take it away, Don–
Just for the fun of it
By Donald Treder
Lately, I haven’t heard many people answer, ‘Just for the fun of it,’ when I ask them why they’re doing whatever it is that they’re doing. It’s not that they are opposed to having fun. A great deal of their time and money is spent trying to have fun. Just watch TV for more than five minutes and you’ll be enticed with hundreds of electronic gadgets, cars, cruises, food, etc, etc, etc. All offered with the promise of unbelievable fun. But after you buy some, or all of this stuff, you end up asking what the little old lady asked on the TV commercial a few years ago, ‘Where’s the beef?’ Instead you end up asking, ‘Where’s the fun?’
Remember the good old days? Remember the times when we would get a few of our friends from the neighborhood together and play hide-and-seek. It was a fun game to play after school, but it was really exciting if we played when it was dark. Wow, scary. First we’d have to pick who was going to be the seeker. No one wanted to be the seeker. Everyone wanted to hide. So we put a stone on the ground and then we tossed pebbles at the stone. If you hit the stone you were out. The last person out was the seeker. Usually it was Peter. Peter was a lot smaller than everyone else. Besides he didn’t seem to mind. When it was dark he really didn’t like going off by himself into the dark and hiding.
So, Peter would cover his eyes as he stood by the tree, which was the goal we had to race toward if we were found. If we got to the goal first, we could hide again. But because Peter was so small, he never got there first, so we made a rule that if he found one of us, all he had to do was yell out our name. Otherwise he would never be able to hide, and no one thought that was fair. It wasn’t until we played the game for a while that we realized that without the seeking, the hiding wasn’t any fun. Anyhow, Peter would stand by the goal with his eyes covered and count from one to ten and then yell, olly-olly-oxin, come in free, if you don’t come, you’ll be ‘i’‘t’. I never could understand what olly-olly-oxin meant, and even though I never wanted to be ‘it’, I never ran in just because it was free.
When it was dark, there were hundreds of places to hide: behind trees or bushes, under the porch, behind the trash cans, in the trash cans. It was great. We all played until a little while after the street lights went on, then our mothers called, which ended the game and the day. We never thought much about where the game came from. No one had to go to Walmart and buy it. It didn’t come with directions or a rule book. It just seemed like we all knew how to play and have fun. If there was something about the game we didn’t like, we just changed it. We didn’t have to ask anyone, we just yelled at each other a little, argued a little, and then changed it.
So, what’s the point? It’s called hide and seek, not hide and find. We knew the fun was in hiding and seeking, not finding. When someone was found, the game was over. No one wanted the game to be over, so when someone was found, we immediately started another game. As we grew older we understood the need to balance the seeking and the finding. Oh, it’s true that when we work hard and strive toward a goal, we feel a certain sense of accomplishment if we actually achieve it, but it doesn’t take long before we set a new goal and start the seeking all over again.
At first being elected as a town councilman seems great, but it isn’t long and becoming a county commissioner is viewed as much better. It soon becomes obvious that a State Senator, then Governor, then U.S. Senator, and of course the Presidency would be the only logical course to take. I’m sure it won’t be long and someone will create a position that can only be filled by ex-presidents. Whether it’s politics, water ballet, or football, the greatest fun is in the seeking.
It’s not that this seeking business is something new. The word ‘seek’ appears in the Bible 238 times and in the Qur’an 430 times. It sounds like there was a lot of seeking going on in those days. Of course the most notable, “Seek and ye shall find.” seemed to place more emphasis on the finding than the seeking. Today, there are still some people who believe in the “ask and it shall be given you” philosophy. But the load of stuff in the shopping cart doesn’t seem to result in the fun that was expected.
I think it may be time to yell at each other a little, argue a little, and then change some of the rules. Let’s place a little more emphasis on the seeking part of the game. I know we changed the rules to help Peter a little, but we never changed them to the point that allowed Peter to become exempt from some of the seeking or some of the hiding. We knew if we did, the game just wouldn’t be fun anymore. So, let’s try and reconnect the stuff we have in our shopping cart with doing something that helped get it there, that is, with doing some of the seeking as well as some of the finding. Why should we bother doing that, you may ask? The answer of course is, just for the fun of it.
Donald Treder has experience in several disciplines:
- Electronics – Taught the use of computers in electronic gun control systems in the Army.
- Writing – Senior Engineering writer at General Motors, AC Electronics Division, assigned to various ballistic missile systems and the Apollo program.
- Construction – Applied computer and CPM Scheduling experience to the construction industry.
- Controls Management – Assisted in Strategic Planning.
- System for Tracking Quality, Walker’s Estimating & Construction Journal
- Integrated Project Database Concepts, Engineering News Record
- Computerized CPM scheduling Systems, Florida Constructor