Wednesday, January 25, 2012


HE WAS A MISFIT IN HIGH SCHOOL---He looked wierd---and he stuttered---was teased---was the brunt of jokes--was not intellectually gifted.  (how do I know this?  By an incredible stroke of luck, I was able to interview a classmate---and friend) So off he went into the world---short of all the qualities we think desirable.  AAAh but he had three hidden qualities that guided his life to what I consider a spectacular success: 1. He knew what he wanted---a life of leisure, freedom and mobility. 2. He developed an iron WILL to press toward his goal. 3. He conceived a PLAN to get him there.

Meet Jeff----a spectacular success in my opinion---He no longer stutters---carries himself with pride--Is well aware that--like the tortoise---he has won the race with slow and steady steps.  Long ago he won his liberty, leisure, financial security and mobility----YET HE HAS NEVER EARNED MORE THAN A COMMON LABORER'S WAGES---- working only seasonally for  State or National parks---and then only half a year---after which he collected unemployment for a half year before returning to work.  HIS BIG SECRET STRATEGY WAS NEVER TO PAY RENT OR A MORTGAGE.   
For 23 years he has lived in this trailer----always rent-free in the parks or nearby.  He says he saved almost everything he earned---and the money piled up---till now he has enough to coast out the remainder of his life.  His monthly living expenses, he says, are about $200 a month.  Traveling only about 2000 miles a year, he moves from low-warm areas to high cool ones---"hanging out" much of the season at Lake Havasu, Az to wind surf.  I met him in Yuma, AZ.
Note this posture---I immediately flashed on that classic picture of an Australian Aboriginal, totally relaxed, standing on one foot, exuding the quiet pride and satisfaction of being stress free---at home in his universe.  You are looking at a man who has found his groove.  I'm humbled.
And so is his high school friend Tim---who gave me the early years story.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: What Jeff has in common with the Aboriginal is EFFORTLESS LIVING.  Both look with disdain at the mass of humanity---tripped up by its own traps---seeking to solve " the problem of a livlihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself." (Thoreau)
Tim--no doubt--as awed as I am of Jeff's effortless living style--comes to camp with his friend
on occasion. 



Barbara and Ron said...

You had me until the part where he lived for six months a year on unemployment.

Steve said...

Hi Barbara and Ron. I don't understand what you mean. I'm just asking for clarification.

Anonymous said...

He works half the year and someone pays him not to work the other half.
Other than that he drifts thru life having fun and waiting for tomorrow.

Waiting for tomorrow IS his life.

Steve said...

Yeah I don't see the waiting part. I see a man who changes with the seasons by doing what's needed in order to maintain the lifestyle he's accustomed to.

Paul said...

Have to agree with Barbara and Ron, as well as anonymous. I'd feel better about the story AND the guy if he wasn't dependent upon the Nanny State for his income half the year and, in spite of his "stress free" lifestyle, actually got by completely on his own.

If all he wants to do is windsurf and "wait for tomorrow," fine. But he's doing it, at least partially, on societies dime. Not cool!

Paxie said...

I'd also like to comment on the body language...His foot is curved inward and his left hand is between his legs (common). He is anything but relaxed. Perhaps a little insecure about your conversation and photos.

If it's good for him, so be it. But it lacks purpose and commitment in my opinion. For what THAT's worth LOL

Randy said...

Ron: Barbara: Paul: I ask you to reconsider: Collecting unemployment is not dishonorable in my opinion--it is a dole in disguise and I approve of the dole (if it is cheap enough--$400 to $600 a month)for these reasons:
1. There is not enough work to go around (that's a good thing--machines have liberated us)
2. We can afford it--if we stop doing other stupid things like wars
3. Having no guaranteed safety net (food, clothing, shelter, medical care)is a fundamental cause of GREED ---which is the real culprit in the VAST DISPARITIES OF WEALTH. (fear of need is A cause of greed)
4. It is a SUPER EXPENSIVE SANCTIMONIOUSNESS (ask me why it is expensive)to insist (as the crazy right does) THAT EVERYTHING SHOULD BE EARNED.
5. And it is a nation-wrecking sentimentality (of the crazy left)to want the national wealth divided anywhere near evenly.
6. Jeff is a living model for reconciling the left and right BECAUSE HE LIVES CHEAPLY. (and doesn't reproduce)
7. CHEAP LIVING can prevent immense suffering and the revolution it eventually provokes.

Steve said...

What Randy said!!!!

Seriously though. If the man works 6 months a year he is paying into the system he takes from. Since he's not on the high income end he's most likely not collecting much by way of unemployment benefits to begin with. His earnings from working are higher than when he collects unemployment. The low monthly expenses go a long ways towards saving whatever extra he make. I can't see a thing wrong with what what he's worked out for himself. That doesn't mean it's how you or I would choose to do it.

Kudos to the guy for finding his happy place in life!

squire said...

Hi Randy,
I talked to Jeff several times when we were both staying in the Riverside Casino parking lot in Laughlin, Nv. Very easy going character. I enjoyed his company very much.

Jim said...

PLUS he has saved enough over the years that now (according to my reading) he no longer works at all (not even seasonally) and therefore is no longer eligible for unemployment. Even if one thinks he gamed the system for a while, he's no longer doing that -- a reality missed by everyone's knee-jerk reaction. Surely it annoys those who think they have worked so hard for every little thing they have to learn of someone living large with a lot less effort. Work smarter; not harder! I say, "Right On, Jeff -- good work -- liberate yourself from the system by any means necessary."

pia lou said...

to each his own....he has a seasonal job that allows him u.e. benefits. he is not the abuser of the system. the abusers are all around you in your world - they have smart phones and suv's credit debt; and work the system. he is living life and i say go for it........i sense some envy in your comments but you are entitled to your opinions. peace

D0N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D0N said...

I forgot to mention that if I knew a guy in high school that... "looked wierd---and he stuttered---was teased---was the brunt of jokes--was not intellectually gifted"... I'd actually expect him to end up living as he is now... Didn't you back then?

You expected him to be a successful white collar worker with a nice house in the suburbs and 2.5 kids?

He was the most unlikely to succeed and by everything you'e posted... he didn't "succeed"... at least by the definition that most Americans who have "succeeded".

Randy said...

Thanks Don for the challenge---sorry you deleted the Troll comment--I would have enjoyed pointing out the vast difference between these two men.
Jeff is a success because he earned and enjoys his freedom. His brain is on fire with purpose--he harms no one---inspires some--is healthy (not addicted to substances). Do you think you are as "happy" or successful as him?

Randy said...

And P.S. Don: Wait till you see the next guy up---an investment banker---tell me if you think he's a success.

Raul said...

I got you guys beat by a country mile. My friend has collected unemployment 15 years of the last 25. He is on his 2nd -99 weeks and has $600,000 equity in his house and his credit score is 850. He makes cash on the side buying and selling crap on craigs list. He is the dumbest, most crap lazy person I ever meet, just lucky as hell. He gives God the credit for his success in life.

It's really his wife that has carried the crap lazy smuck for the last 25 years, why she won't kick him to the curb only God knows???? If it was not for her he would live his life under a bridge!!!

D0N said...

It's all in how you look at it I suppose.

The vast majority of Americans (95%?) would say that he has absolutely not "succeeded" at anything other than being a bum.

I guess from your perspective (living in a cargo trailer towed by a beat up old truck) he has succeeded.

His brain "is on fire" and he's "earned" his right to "enjoy"... being a bum. We should call a spade a spade. He's a bum. There's nothing wrong with being a bum but let's not glorify it.

I don't know the guy... just what info you posted about him (with his blessing I hope?). So, am I happier or as "successful" as him? How would one gauge that and does it even matter?

And yes, I can't wait for your dissection of the investment banker. I am sure it will be life changing for me and all your readers.

Spork said...

Another great story Randy, thank you!

Red Meador said...

I cant see where it was any different than laying bricks in Wisconsin in the summer and drawing unemployment in the winter. The guy worked and saved his money and the only person he needs to please is himself.

If he is happy and has a joyful life he is a success..... To bad more people cant understand that.


Maria Meiners said...

We all have different grooves and ideas of success. To me success is being happy and living exactly as you want to. Whether in a tent or mansion.

Success is a state of mind, with very different outer appearances.