Roy Exum: Would You ‘Live’ For It?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

A very wise man once asked another if there was one thing, anything so very majestic, that his friend would give his life to preserve. The other guy sat for a moment and said, “That’s harder than it sounds … that I would be willing to give my life with the promise things would turn out for the best … but, yeah, I guess I would do it for my family … my wife and children.”

The smart man, a smile playing with his face, then asked, “Then why don’t you live for them? If you are willing to die for something that is noble, but to live for something is far more grand.” It makes great sense, too. All too often we human beings get it mixed up and the very ones we most care about get left in the wake of our dreams, ambitions and our hurry-hurry lifestyle.

I bring that up because many years ago I read a story about a content Mexican man from some obscure fishing village who may have had this thing we call “life” all worked out. Not long ago a dear friend sent me another copy on the anonymously-written story and I think it should be read by all of us as the month of March is now just a day away, daylight savings time resumes next Sunday (March 10) and hopefully warmer weather isn’t too far away.

* * *


A man was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The man complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied only a little while.

The man then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish? The fisherman said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The man then asked how he spent the rest of his time. The fisherman said,

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Senor."

The man scoffed, "I am an experienced businessman and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution."

"You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The fisherman asked, "But Senor, how long will this all take?" To which the man replied, "fifteen to twenty years."

"But what then, Senor?" asked the fisherman. The man laughed, and said,

"That's the best part! When the time is right, you would sell your company. You'll become very rich, you would make millions!"

"Millions, Senor?" replied the fisherman. "Then what?" The man then said,

"You would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your then grandchildren, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

* * *

What a wonderful spring this might be if we all took more time “to play the guitar with our amigos.”

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