When It Comes to Tipping, I’m Reaching My Tipping Point

When It Comes to Tipping, I’m Reaching My Tipping Point

I’m a big believer in tipping generously for quality service. I never would have been able to afford college were it not for the tips I earned waiting tables to pay for school. But lately, it seems tipping for services is getting out of hand.

I’m a big believer in tipping generously for quality service. I never would have been able to afford college were it not for the tips I earned waiting tables to pay for school. But lately, it seems tipping for services is getting out of hand.

The tradition of tipping service providers has been around for at least four centuries. Evidence suggests it first began in Europe during the 17th century, when aristocrats would give people in lower classes extra money for their services. In the United States, the practice of leaving tips began shortly after the Civil War, often in the form of added remuneration paid to freed slaves working in difficult conditions.

It is speculated the word “TIP” may come from the phrase “To Insure Promptness” – and not, as I had long theorized, “Totally Inexcusable Piracy.”

Okay, enough with the history lesson. While I appreciate the noble origins of this practice, it’s starting to feel like it’s getting out of hand. Is it just me or does it seem like everybody is expecting to receive a tip these days? I have no problem tipping waiters, taxi drivers, and the occasional bellman who errantly brings my luggage to the wrong hotel room.

I routinely give my stylist at the hair salon a 20% tip – which is generous, given how little hair I have left anymore. I’m a believer in the importance of tipping, especially for low-wage earners. I waited tables for three years during college. Without tips, I never would have been able to pay for my education and would probably have dropped out to become a Walmart greeter.

Tipping is as American as apple pie … and as confusing as calculus. When I was young, 10% was a normal tip. At some point, this changed to 15%. But lately, it seems servers get offended if you leave anything less than 20%. Some restaurants even tack on an automatic 20% tip surcharge. What are the rules for when you should tip, and how much? I have no clue anymore.

Not long ago, I was at a restaurant. When the server brought the credit card machine to the table, the readout gave me three options for the tip: 20%, 25%, and OTHER. I wonder what would have happened had I selected OTHER and entered 15%. I’m guessing my receipt printout might have read, “Wow, you are one cheap bastard!”

How long will it be before you’ll be expected to tip your local fireman for putting out your house fire? It looks like he did a crappy job. I wouldn’t give him more than a 10% tip, personally.

How long will it be before you’ll be expected to tip your local fireman for putting out your house fire? It looks like he did a crappy job. I wouldn’t give him more than a 10% tip, personally.

Last week I went to a fast food restaurant. I ordered my meal and paid for it at one of those new self-service kiosks. When I pressed the button to pay by credit card, it prompted me for how much of a tip I’d like to include. How about NONE? Yeah, that seems like the right amount for my having to punch in my own order on a computer touch screen, then wait 12 minutes at the counter for my order to arrive.

Recently, I’ve been invited to provide a gratuity for things I was never expected to tip for in the past. In the last month, I’ve been prompted to cough up a $weetener at a fast food drive-thru window, a shop that changes my car’s oil, the airport check-in counter, and even my physical therapist’s office.

There’s even a name for this phenomenon: Tipflation. There’s also another word for it: Tip shaming (okay, technically two words). I’m starting to feel like I’m hemorrhaging cash faster than a broken ATM. In many cases, I’m not even dealing with a human being at all, leaving me to wonder who is really on the receiving end of my generosity.

Is there anything we’re not expected to tip for anymore? I half expect to find a tip jar on my dentist’s reception desk the next time I go in for my semi-annual cleaning: “Don’t forget to tip your dental hygienist for a great job.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for showing gratitude for good service, but where do we draw the line? I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of time before I buy a pair of sneakers on Amazon.com, and as I check out, it will suggest I enter a gratuity of 20% to 30%. I’m sure Jeff Bezos could use the extra money.

On a future vacation, at the end of my flight, in order to be allowed to exit the plane, will l be required to insert my credit card next to the screen in the seatback in front of me, to indicate the gratuity percentage I’d like to use to thank the pilot and crew for getting me safely to my destination?

The future is looking increasingly unsettling. I can picture a time not too far from now when I may receive an email from our veterinarian reminding me of our cat Zippy’s upcoming appointment. And the email explains that it’s customary to include a 20% tip to ensure proper medical care. So, if I opt not to pay a 20% tip, might Zippy have “an unfortunate accident?” I can barely afford my own healthcare, let alone tipping my cat’s vet.

Every day it seems more and more people are expecting to be tipped, just for doing their job. What’s next? Paying your heart surgeon a tip for a successful double bypass? Hope you got an extended warranty.

Every day it seems more and more people are expecting to be tipped, just for doing their job. What’s next? Paying your heart surgeon a tip for a successful double bypass? Hope you got an extended warranty.

You may accuse me of being hyperbolic. Perhaps. But it’s only going to get worse. I’m waiting for the day when we’ll all be expected to tip the greeter at Costco for letting us enter the store. Or the electric utility if we’d like them to restore our power sooner rather than later. Or our cat sitter for taking care of our cats while we’re away. (No, wait. I actually do tip her for that. She does a great job.)

My point is, I think we’re rapidly approaching the point when we’ll be expected to tip for just about everything – even when there’s no human being involved in the transaction at all.

On a completely unrelated note, if you’ve enjoyed reading this article, please show your appreciation by leaving me a small tip. The recommended gratuity is $50, but if you’re on a limited budget, I guess $25 will do. I also accept Venmo. Please give generously, won’t you? It’s hard to pay for my upcoming European vacation on a humor writer’s salary. Just saying.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook. 

Subscribe to my View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my latest book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’m Open to Suggestions).

Why Trump Should Be Immune From Prosecution But Biden Should Not

Why Trump Should Be Immune From Prosecution But Biden Should Not

[Author’s note for the humor-impaired: This week’s article is political satire. – TEJ]

The case before the Supreme Court is far from black and white. They must decide whether a former president is above the law or not. Okay, well, maybe it IS pretty black and white, now that you put it that way.

The case before the Supreme Court is far from black and white. They must decide whether a former president is above the law or not. Okay, well, maybe it is pretty black and white, now that you put it that way.

I’m mad as Hell. I’ve been watching nothing but News Max and Fox News for two weeks straight. They’ve got me so riled up, I’ve only had seven hours of sleep in the past three days. Perhaps it’s lack of sleep or the 12 Red Bulls I’ve ingested in the past 15 hours, but I’m feeling a little cranky. And I need to get some things off my chest.

One thing’s become clear to me: All 257 current and pending civil and criminal prosecutions being waged against Donald Trump are politically motivated witch hunts by the Deep State.

Based on that, I totally agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear Trump’s immunity claim. The issue before the court is this:

Can a former president who has engaged in a series of criminal acts break the law whenever he wants and get away with it?

Answer: Of course he can. And he SHOULD be able to get away with it. Because presidents can do whatever they want. Trump assured us it’s in the Constitution (I think in Article 11. Or maybe it was Article B). The verdict is still out as to whether this immunity protection would apply if the president were a girl.

If they can prosecute the greatest president in U.S. History (Lincoln was lame compared to Trump) merely for some minor lapses of judgment (aka “criminal acts”), then what’s to stop our corrupt justice system from arresting anyone who’s committed a crime? Where will it all end?

Some of history’s greatest men have been arrested and imprisoned. Think about it. They put Nelson Mandela away for 27 years.  They prosecuted and murdered Jesus Christ. Our savior! (Well, at least if you’re a Christian, that is, which is the law in the USA, I’m pretty sure). And according to a commercial I recently saw on News Max, Trump is the new Messiah. Clearly, God wants him to be our king of kings. And God is never wrong.

If they can arrest Trump, they’ll soon be coming after you. Like Jesus before Pontius Pilate, Trump’s standing trial so you don’t have to. Such courage! And Donald Trump will do everything in his Constitutional power to keep you out of jail – just so long as you send $1,000 to his Legal Defense Fund.

Trump did nothing wrong. He was just trying to make sure that every vote was counted – including 11,780 extra special votes in Georgia. If the DOJ can go after Trump for every little miscalculation he made as president, who’s to stop them from going after other past presidents? In that case, Obama should definitely be prosecuted for wearing that terribly unpresidential tan suit at a press conference. Talk about fashion crime!

Who can forget this memorable, historic, patriotic day when President Trump urged his supporters to peacefully march to the Capitol, gently smash in the windows, politely break down the doors, and delicately hang Mike Pence.

Who can forget this memorable, historic, patriotic day when President Trump urged his supporters to peacefully march to the Capitol, gently smash in the windows, politely break down the doors, and delicately hang Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court absolutely should hold that Trump is immune from prosecution. It’s the only fair verdict, since he gave a third of the court their jobs. They owe him.

Meanwhile, the radical, communist-sympathizing, woke, America-hating, God-denying anarchists on the left want to let in all the Mexican drug dealers, rapists, and LGBTQ supporters. And they’re furious the Supreme Court accepted this case in the first place, saying it was an open-and-shut case that no president should be considered “above the law.”

But it’s just not that simple. I mean, where do you draw the line? If you can prosecute Trump for inciting an insurrection and attempting to subvert an election, what’s next? By that logic, should prosecutors come after him for obstructing the Mueller investigation? Sharing classified documents with the Russians? Trying to strongarm Ukraine’s president Zelensky to lie about Joe Biden? Firing whistleblowers? Repeatedly violating the Emoluments Clause? Causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans by not taking the COVID pandemic seriously? Of course not! Jeez, you liberals are such whiny nitpickers.

On the other hand, presidential immunity should not be granted to Joe Biden – because he’s not even our real president, so technically it doesn’t even apply to him. I’m not really sure what all the Hunter Biden / Burisma / Ukraine stuff is all about. Kinda complicated. But Hunter admitted to using cocaine in the past, including when Biden was Vice President. Hunter’s supplier was probably his dad. Disgusting. So, if you ask me, Biden should be prosecuted for running a drug cartel out of the White House – something Donald Trump has never been accused of, I might add.

Many on the subversive left also are up in arms – and not the good kind of arms like an AR-15 rifle – that by taking up Trump’s immunity claim, it will push the January 6th trial back until after the 2024 election. Sure it will, but that’s just how the justice system works. Cry me a river, you libs.

In my objective opinion, the Supreme Court should not hear this case until at least Spring 2027 at the earliest – to give Trump’s lawyers adequate time to prepare. After all, this is an extremely complicated case.

And let’s not forget the Supreme Court has a full docket of other equally pressing cases ahead of it in the queue, like whether a plaintiff can sue Buffalo Wild Wings for misrepresentation and fraud when they discovered the chain’s “Buffalo Wings” aren’t technically wings. (That’s an actual lawsuit.)

You can’t expect the Supremes to make a rushed decision overnight. That’s impossible. In fact it’s never happened in the court’s history (with the minor exception of Bush v. Gore, where they reached a verdict one day after hearing oral arguments, handing the 2000 election to Bush).

Supreme Court Justices are ordinary people, too. They have lives just like you and me. They need time to decompress, be with family, take a pottery class, or hit the road for a three-week vacation in their 40-foot $267,000 Prevost Marathon RV given to them by a rich benefactor with cases before the court. You can’t rush important decisions like this.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me in making a small donation of $500 to help Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. I’ve been assured that no more than 90% of your donation will be applied towards the $500 million in judgments Trump has been ordered to pay.

When Trump wins the election (with only minimal assistance from Russia), I’m confident his own Department of Justice will shut down all these frivolous prosecutions, so he can focus on Making America Great Again (just so long as you’re not black, trans, an immigrant, or Joe Biden).

Joe Biden, when that day comes, Trump’s Attorney General (who I’m hoping will be Marjorie Taylor Greene) won’t let you hide behind presidential immunity for all the Biden Crime Family’s misdeeds. In fact, I just learned on Fox News that you recently LIED by saying in a speech that the Grand Canyon was one of the NINE Wonders of the World. There are only seven wonders, and the Grand Canyon ain’t one of them. You lied to the American people – something Trump would never do.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my latest book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’m Open to Suggestions).

Taylor Swift, Please Don’t Break My Heart

Taylor Swift, Please Don’t Break My Heart

If you live in the modern world, you’ll recognize this woman as Taylor Swift, the superstar singer. And if you live in a cave without Internet access, this is my college girlfriend, Donna. We’re still good friends.

If you live in the modern world, you’ll recognize this woman as Taylor Swift, the superstar singer. And if you live in a cave without Internet access, this is my college girlfriend, Donna. We’re still good friends.

Dear Taylor,

Like 53% of American adults (and 98% of girls between seven and seventeen) I’m a BIG Swiftie, as we fans call ourselves. If the situation were different – and I was not twice your age, I honestly think we could have had a future together. But please don’t try to start something. It would only break my heart (and seriously piss off my wife – not to mention Travis Kelce).

Let me be clear. I’m a HUGE fan. And not just because you’re  young, stunningly beautiful, enormously talented, and so wealthy that you recently made an offer to purchase the nation of Luxembourg.

As close to perfect as you almost are, I have one deep concern about you. At 34 years of age, with all you have going for you, you still haven’t found the love of your life. (We both know you’re going to drop Travis before the next football season begins.) And no, Taylor, as flattered as I am that you might consider me to be your next special someone, I must tell you, I’m happily married (as is my wife, almost 35% of the time).

I’m worried about you, Tay Tay. No, I’m not bothered by the fact that, according to Fox News, you are apparently part of Joe Biden’s nefarious plot to steal the 2024 election by brainwashing your legions of adoring fans into voting for Joe for president.

No, I’m concerned because I hate to see you break up with yet another boyfriend, as I’m pretty sure you’ll do with Travis. That strapping young man went out of his way to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for winning the Super Bowl and present it to you. By the way, at some point, you’ll probably be asked to return the trophy to the Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t actually Travis’s to give to you. He just got caught up in the moment, I’m sure.

I can appreciate that right now, based on how you two hugged and kissed on the field at the end of the Super Bowl, things appear to be going just swimmingly for “Traylor,” as you two as a couple are called.

But trust me, we both know you’ll eventually break it off – just like you’ve done with every other guy you’ve dated over the past fifteen years. Need I remind you? It’s an exhaustingly long list – from Joe Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers) to Zac Efron to Jake Gyllenhaal to John Mayer to Harry Styles to Harrison Ford to Tom Hiddleston to… well, you get the picture. Okay, I’ll admit, you haven’t actually been linked to Harrison Ford – yet. I just wanted to see if my fellow Swifties out there were paying attention.

At right, that’s Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the many famous celebrities Taylor broke up with, then wrote a scathing song detailing their failed relationship. Somehow, Jake found the strength to get back on his feet, later dating Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Rachel McAdams, and about 15 other glamorous Hollywood stars.

At right, that’s Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the many famous celebrities Taylor broke up with, then wrote a scathing song detailing their failed relationship. Somehow, Jake found the strength to get back on his feet, later dating Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Rachel McAdams, and about 15 other glamorous Hollywood stars.

T-Swizzle, the reality is I am deeply concerned about your inability to stay in a long-term relationship. And then, when you guys break up, you have this unhealthy pattern of writing songs trashing your recent ex.

I learned that your song Forever and Always was about Joe Jonas. Your song Dear John was a biting rebuke of your former lover, singer John Mayer. Then there was your smash hit We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, in which you eviscerated Jake Gyllenhaal. But I have your back on that one. Personally, I never liked the guy. Jake had it coming.

Where am I heading with this? Honestly, I’ve no idea. An hour ago I polished off a sleeve of Oreo cookies, and I’m having a serious sugar crash right about now. Oh, wait. Now I remember my point. It’s just a matter of time, my dear Taylor-made, before you break Travis’ heart, send him packing, and write another devastating song about your failed love tryst. If you do, have you thought about a name for your song? Might I suggest “You May be a Tight End, But You Can Kiss My Tight End Goodbye.” Do you like it, Tay Tay? If you use it, all I’m asking for is 5% of the royalties, okay?

Travis, with his heart irreparably broken, will probably slip into a deep depression, get cut by the Chiefs for a dramatic drop-off in his production, end up playing Arena Football for the Tallahassee Parrots, doing local TV commercials, and saying things like, “At Art Johnson’s Buick, every customer is a WINNER.” Don’t do it, buddy.

Then, Taylor, you’ll probably make $50 million in record sales from your song about your steamy, volatile star-struck affair with Travis. Hey, I just thought of a better song title. How about “You Wanted to Score a Touchdown, But My Heart Wanted to Punt.” No? Okay. I’ll keep working on it.

This got me to thinking, Taylor. What if your next target for a lover was me? I better nip this idea in the bed, I mean bud, before I have to do some serious explaining to my wife. Taylor, if you’re still reading this, let me stop you before your heart gets the wrong idea about pursuing an affair in which people would inevitably be calling us “Tay-Tim.”  (Personally, I prefer Tim-Tay, but let’s not squabble.)

Please don’t knock on that door. I’m happily married. It simply could never work out between us – in part because at 5’11” you’d be an inch taller than me, so you could see my bald spot. Also, I hear you’re allergic to cats, and I have three of them. Here’s the deal. No cats? No Tay-Tim. It’s a package deal. So how about we both forget about this crazy notion and just remain friends, okay?

Poor Travis Kelce. He has no idea about the heartbreak waiting for him, just as soon as Taylor can think of a catchy song about their relationship. Taylor, I have another song title suggestion for you: “I Wanted to Cuddle, But You Just Wanted to Huddle.” Not catchy enough? Okay, I’ll keep working on it.

Poor Travis Kelce. He has no idea about the heartbreak waiting for him, just as soon as Taylor can think of a catchy song about their relationship. Taylor, I have another song title suggestion for you: “I Wanted to Cuddle, But You Just Wanted to Huddle.” Not catchy enough? Okay, I’ll keep working on it.

Besides, if I know you, I know what would happen next. After four months (or perhaps four minutes) together, you’d tire of my jokes. Maybe you’d even unsubscribe from my View from the Bleachers humor column. And you’d leave me for some other older man – probably Harrison Ford. People have been talking about you two, ya’ know.

Then you’d probably pen some catchy, danceable tune in which you reveal to the world my quirky habit of singing to my cats. I’m not sure I could recover from that embarrassment.

So forget about me, Taylor. Try to make things work with Travis. He’s a great catch. (Get it? Catch?) And besides, I’d prefer to avoid giving him a reason to beat the crap out of me for stealing you away from him. I hope you can understand.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook. 

Subscribe to my View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my latest book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’m Open to Suggestions).

The Sad Lives of Couples Who Opted Not to Have Kids

The Sad Lives of Couples Who Opted Not to Have Kids

Look at this pitiful couple, just sitting there, with no kids in sight, on a tropical beach, forlornly sipping on frozen margaritas. Think how much happier they’d be accompanied by a hormonal teenage daughter explaining to them how they’ve totally ruined her life.

Look at this pitiful couple, just sitting there, with no kids in sight, on a tropical beach, forlornly sipping on frozen margaritas. Think how much happier they’d be accompanied by a hormonal teenage daughter explaining to them how they’ve totally ruined her life.

My wife and I raised two self-confident, spirited daughters. Now in their late twenties, they both had to overcome several daunting childhood adversities, starting with the fact that one of their parents was a humor writer who had the maturity (on a good day) of an eight-year-old. But out of respect for their privacy, I will not reveal which parent that was.

I often feel deep empathy for all those couples who opted never to have children. Both my wife and I have siblings who sadly made the mistake of choosing a life without offspring. Recently we called my wife’s sister to let her know how sorry we felt about their shortsighted decision to never have kids, but no one was home. Turns out her sister was away with her husband on a two-week Caribbean cruise. She must be living in such denial about their lapse in judgment.

Oh sure, people who opt out of having heirs have time to travel the world, but how can the fleeting pleasures of 14 days in the Maldives in a four-star villa looking out on sparkling blue water possibly compare to the joy of a three-day getaway weekend to Disneyworld in Florida with your kids in July. Trust me, the It’s a Small World ride will totally be worth the 50-minute wait in 97-degree heat and sweltering humidity.

People who have opted out of continuing their lineage don’t know what they’re missing out on. Like the satisfaction of successfully changing an infant’s poopy diaper – 1,465 times over two years. Or the thrill of cheering for your nine-year-old in a rec soccer game when they suddenly realize they just kicked the winning goal – for the other team.

One of the great joys that childless couples miss out on is the thrill of cheering on your young athlete as they compete in sports. Let’s not ruin the moment by dwelling on how much you spent on equipment, travel to out of town matches, and private coaching lessons, okay?

One of the great joys that childless couples miss out on is the thrill of cheering on your young athlete as they compete in sports. Let’s not ruin the moment by dwelling on how much you spent on equipment, travel to out of town matches, and private coaching lessons, okay?

Childless couples will never know the thrill of visiting the emergency room for stitches after your 5th grade daughter came up with the brilliant idea to skateboard down a playground slide during recess. Or the surprise of returning home two hours earlier than you planned on a Saturday night to discover your 17-year-old son hosting a kegger party – with strippers. Thankfully, the neighbors called the cops, who broke it up before things really got out of control.

Some people cite as their reason for not having kids that it would interfere with their career aspirations. As a parent of young children, you can pursue any job you want, just so long as they let you start work after 9am and leave by 2:30, so you can be home before the kids, and your employer lets you work from home whenever one of your kids is sick (which I estimate to be roughly 20% of the time).

Sure, couples who choose to forego having kids usually avoid some minor expenses that the rest of us typically experience. But can you really put a price tag on the delight in your six-year-old’s face when they tell you they got the part of the fourth Christmas tree from the left in the school Christmas play?

I’m not going to lie to you, raising a family can be expensive. People say the biggest purchase a couple makes is buying a house. That couple apparently never had kids. Because the cost of supporting a child to age 18 is equivalent to the cost of buying FOUR houses – except that they don’t increase in value over time, you can’t sell them for a profit, and after 16 years they’ll probably inform you that they hate you. Okay, so having kids tends to be expensive – and exhausting. You can’t put a price tag on your 13-year-old’s beautiful smile. On second thought, you can. That would be $13,000 over six years for braces.

I’m getting the gnawing feeling I’m not making a very good case for having kids. Let me try again. My point is that I love our daughters. They have brought me so much happiness that it’s impossible to quantify. So what if our decision to procreate delayed my retirement plans by 13 years? So what if vacations for 20 years as our kids were growing up would consist of camping in a tent instead of villas in the south of France? So what if every now and then, I found myself getting sucked into shouting matches with my middle school girls about the fact that just because the Millers let their daughter Ashley have a smart phone doesn’t mean you’re getting one…. And so many other precious memories.

It’s true, childfree couples can live more spontaneously, hopping in the car and driving off to wherever their spirit moves them. Meanwhile, we parents spend most of our spare time as chauffeurs, taking our kids to soccer practices, piano lessons, birthday parties, and the occasional ER.

I feel such heartbreak as I gaze at this photo. This couple has no kids. As a result, instead of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on four years of college for two kids, they blew it all on a new sports car, a vacation home on the Carolina coast and a catamaran vacation in the Greek Isles. So sad.

I feel such heartbreak as I gaze at this photo. This couple has no kids. As a result, instead of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on four years of college for two kids, they blew it all on a new sports car, a vacation home on the Carolina coast and a catamaran vacation in the Greek Isles. So sad.

Sometimes I envy those kid-free couples being able to purchase a fancy new car every three years. But I’d like to see them try to haul six kids in their shiny red sports car to the mall to see Frozen – for the fourth time, like we can in our 12-year-old Toyota minivan.

What I’m saying is I can think of dozens of reasons not to have kids. But all of those reasons stacked on top of each other still won’t offset the one reason we chose to raise a family: Because for us, having a family was more important than accumulating expensive houses and fancy cars. No regrets.

My life is filled with memories that you simply can’t put a price tag on – like the summer I taught my then 16-year-old daughter how to drive. Okay, technically, you CAN put a price tag on that memory: $1,650 to be exact – the cost to replace the car’s front bumper when she drove it into a landscaping rock next to our driveway on the very same day she passed her driver’s test. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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Friends with Boats

Friends with Boats

As I get older, I realize that I don’t need a lot of “stuff” anymore. I want to slow down And enjoy the simple pleasures of life – like lying on the bow of this powerboat … off the coast of Barbados. I’d even settle for the coast of Nantucket. I’m not picky.

As I get older, I realize that I don’t need a lot of “stuff” anymore. I want to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life – like lying on the bow of this powerboat … off the coast of Barbados. I’d even settle for the coast of Nantucket. I’m not picky.

As I look back on my youth, I realize that I’ve matured. I’m no longer that zealously ambitious young man who craved fortune and “the good life.” If I’m being totally honest, I was overly pre-occupied with acquiring “stuff.” I wanted a nice car; a house I could be proud of. I now laugh with embarrassment thinking about this younger version of me, who wanted to “have it all.”

Now that I’m older and wiser, I appreciate that what’s important in life is not simply acquiring material possessions. My, how shallow that sounds to me now.

As I’ve aged, my values and priorities have evolved. What truly matters in the autumn of my life is the joy of developing meaningful, lasting friendships. I want to meet friends I can talk to openly and be vulnerable with, sharing my deepest, most personal hopes and fears. A sensitive, honest person who will be there for me in good times and bad. And last but not least, someone who – how can I put this politely – owns a nice boat.

Young people often talk about having “friends with benefits.” But they have it all wrong. It’s much better to have friends with boats. Now that I’m retired, it really doesn’t matter to me in the least how much stuff I possess – just so long as I have a few close friends… with fast-moving watercraft. If they had a 30-foot sailboat, I would certainly consider becoming their casual acquaintance. But I’m really looking more for a friend with a powerboat with at least 350 horsepower. I really don’t care if it’s Bayliner, a Sea Ray, or a Chris-Craft, just as long as it can reach a top-end speed of 70 mph or faster.

Recently, I met an amiable fellow. We started to hit it off. And from what I could tell, he seemed to share my political beliefs. Sadly, he only owned a dinghy, which he mainly used for crabbing. It could barely reach speeds of 10 mph. Needless to say, that’s not what I’m looking for in a friendship these days. So, I had no choice but to ghost him.

Why this obsession with friends with boats? I live on an island. My wife and I moved here to be near the water. You may be asking yourself, “Hey, if it’s so important, why don’t you buy YOUR OWN boat, Tim?” What a stupid question. Have you seen the cost of high-quality boats lately? Not to mention the cost of mooring, insuring, and refueling them.

I’m looking to make a few new guy friends. All I care about is that they’re a good person, willing to be vulnerable and open, and own a sweet-looking ride like this guy has. Woah! Is that Mont-Saint-Michel ahead? Dude, will you be my friend?

I’m looking to make a few new guy friends. All I care about is that they’re a good person, willing to be vulnerable and open, and own a sweet-looking ride like this guy has. Woah! Is that Mont-Saint-Michel ahead? Dude, will you be my friend?

I’ve done some research and discovered that boat owners have no lives. That’s because they spend all their free time working on their boats. Here’s just a sampling of the typical tasks they do after every time they take their boat for a spin:

Top off the oil, if needed; wash the hull and deck; check the engine, battery, propeller, electrical lines, and bilge pump to ensure all components are working properly. Oh, and don’t forget to inspect the engine mount screw clamps to make sure they’re secure. While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at the water intake to be sure it’s not blocked. And be sure to flush the engine and propellers to eliminate saltwater, sand, dirt and other debris. I’ll skip the other 27 steps you need to do EVERY TIME you take your boat out, because I almost fell asleep after that last sentence.

So, no, boat ownership is not for me. Let some other sap pay $100,000 for a 40-foot cruiser. I just want to spend some quality time bonding with them… on their 40-foot cruiser – ideally while eating fresh lobster and chowing down on a tasty cheese platter and Godiva chocolates. (Not the dark chocolate, please.)

Perhaps you are that sap, I mean, fine person. If so, I want you to know that if you feel a need to drone on endlessly about how hard it is staying on top of all the regular maintenance needed to keep your boat in working order, as your new best friend, I’m willing to listen. Oh, and I’m a size LARGE, in case you need to know my lifejacket size for when you take me out water skiing.

I’m looking for a new friend. I’m not picky. I mean, it’s not like the only kind of people I seek out as friends are rich people with yachts that comfortably seat eight. Who do you think I am, anyway? No, I’m willing to keep an open mind. I’d even consider starting a friendship with someone who only owns a Jet Ski – but only if you have two of them. I’m not riding tandem behind you. Buddy, you need to give me some space.

I thought I could be friends with this guy. But I was wrong. He’s a very nice person And very smart. Just one problem. He owns a gorgeous 60-ft. sailboat. I was looking for a friend with a powerboat. Sorry, buddy. It just was never going to work out.

I thought I could be friends with this guy. But I was wrong. He’s a very nice person And very smart. Just one problem. He owns a gorgeous 60-ft. sailboat. I was looking for a friend with a powerboat. Sorry, buddy. It just was never going to work out.

I’m still looking for that close friend. I know they’re out there. Perhaps you could be that special person. If you think you might like to become my friend, just email me a photo of you with your boat – or a photo of just your boat is sufficient, actually.

But perhaps I’m being a little unreasonable. After all, why should I care whether a person has a boat or not? I mean, that sounds rather superficial, doesn’t it? Okay, on further reflection, I don’t care whether or not you have a nice boat. I’m more than willing to make friends with non-boat owners – assuming they have their own private plane, that is.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Smiling at Safeco Higher ResPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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