Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Work for it

Work For It

Ferry to Logtown, MS, circa 1900's

You gotta do more than just want it

Do you want something? It really doesn't matter what it is you want- be it a successful career, a happy relationship, a new motorcycle, or maybe a whole new life. Whatever it is you are seeking, though- you can want it all you want, but wanting it simply isn't enough.

You have to work for it

Nothing gained is ever given. You either have to buy it (if you can), steal it (if you dare) or earn it. No matter which path of acquisition you take though, when it all comes down to it- you still have to work for it in some way or another.

Want to buy it? Well, you have to earn the money to buy it, if that is, it is something that even can be bought.

Want to steal it? Again, you are going to have to figure out how you can steal it and get away with it, if it is something that even can be stolen. Not to mention, if you get caught stealing it, chances are you're going to lose it and you’re still going to end up having to pay for it.

But if you earn it... well, that is something truly special, because when you earn it, no one can take it away from you. The trick is, though… once you have it, you have to keep earning it. You have to work to keep it, or risk having someone else that wants it more than you, taking it from you.

When I was a kid, my dad would say “wish in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one gets filled up first.” Yeah, it was a crude way of saying that sitting around wishing for something to happen was a silly waste of time, but the point was made, regardless. Over time, when my kids would tell their paw-paw they wished for something, he shortened it up to “wish in one hand” then he’d grin at me and let me explain it to them. No matter how crudely the message was delivered though, the point was clear and true- sitting around wishing for something to happen is a waste of valuable time; time that could, instead, be used for working toward making it happen. 

Logtown, MS

The photo above shows a ferry crossing the Pearl River on the South Mississippi/ South Louisiana line. I like the photo for this piece for a few reasons- 1. It shows that, all the way back around 1919 or so, motorcycles were an integral part of the southern landscape (as they still are today); 2. The tenacity of the people back in pre-war America was undisputed; and 3. The ferry is crossing to a town that no longer exists. I’d be willing to bet that few people know the history of Logtown, MS, so I’ll drop a couple of links for you here and here (the second link has some great photos). The short story is, the town, which once thrived as a primary lumber supplier for the region, dwindled over the years until it was finally taken by the U.S. government, because of it’s location in, what would later become, the buffer zone of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center.

You may be asking, what does a Mississippi ghost town have to do with working for something? It’s simple- Logtown’s success began to falter because the community couldn’t, or wouldn’t, sustain it. The sawmills went out of business, one by one, until there was only one left. The surviving mill provided the majority of jobs for the residents there and, when it finally closed down, the town rapidly fell apart, I would imagine that in no small part, due to it’s location. It was fairly isolated, as you will see if you ever decide to take a road trip to the area. By the 1960’s, only around 250 people remained in the small town. There was no other significant industry and the geographic location of the town along the banks of the Pearl River, while ideal for the logging industry, was less appealing to other commerce. Logtown was just as the name implies- a log town. Without logging, there was no Logtown. You see, the founders of Logtown were too short-sighted. They didn’t work toward building a town, they only worked toward building a community that supported their businesses. There was no ambition to found a new city, so there was no effort to try to save it when the businesses closed. Logtown was little more than a “company town.” The only roads in and out existed to support the industry, there were no efforts to draw in visitors or tourists, the local school only offered classes up to the 8th grade and all higher grade students had to be bussed to “nearby” Bay St. Louis (which was several miles away, on the other side of the county). 

By the time NASA began to move into the area in the 1960’s, the government bought out the remaining 250 or so residents of Logtown and the town was officially abandoned, leaving little more than a few remnants of what remained and a single cemetery that still exists today. You see, NASA, or rather, the U.S. government, wanted the small town more than the founders and residents of the town did… so they used what they had- the ability to buy it.

If you’re a local to the Gulf Coast, can you imagine if the founders of the town had worked to keep Logtown and worked to establish it as a prominent city on the Coast? I wonder how much the coastal landscape would have been different than it is today? NASA would have moved their site further north along the river to adjust the buffer zone? Perhaps western Hancock County would have been more developed, with a thriving city, neighborhoods, businesses or shopping malls? I suppose no one knows what could have been, but one thing is certain, no one fought to keep the town, so it’s obvious that one one wanted it enough to put in the work to keep it.

Motorcycles, relationships and promotions

I fancy myself a writer (albeit, not a very good one), and sometimes, a story teller, so maybe my analogies aren’t always as easy to relate to as I’d like them to be. As such, I get that the example of Logtown might not be the one that rings your bell, so I’ll go for the easy three:
  • Motorcycles, 
  • Relationships
  • Promotions
These should be easy. If you haven’t figured this out yet, I love motorcycles- new, old, big, small… if it has two wheels, I’m interested. For me, while I have some great bikes that I’m really happy with, I’m also always interested in adding to the collection when the right one comes along. As with every bike I have, and used to have, I had to work for it. Wanting it wasn’t enough- no, no. I had to work for it. When I bought the Road King, I had to commit to working to keep it, every month, for the term of the loan (it was, after all, the most expensive motorcycle that I’ve bought to date). No work + no pay = no motorcycle. For my Dyna, while it was significantly less expensive than the Road King, it also didn’t run, was rusty, crusty, corroded in all the wrong places and generally looked like it had been hit with a bag of turds. I had to work to get it back on the road, to make it look good and to make it run, reliably, every time I got on it. Having it on the lift and “wanting” it to run, wasn’t going to cut it (and paying someone for something I can do myself, simply isn’t ever an option).

Relationships. Relationships require constant work. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who has been married for more than a few years. I would venture to bet that they will all tell you the same thing- it takes work, a lot of work, as a matter of fact. Through the years, as things change, as people come and go in your lives, as financial burdens come and (hesitantly) go, as temptations emerge from, and fade into, the shadows… you have to work to remain faithful, frugal, strong, vulnerable, tender and tough. You have to focus, and refocus, through the years in order to survive the burdens of time. The reward is a strong, loving relationship with someone with whom you share history with. With someone who understands why you are the way you are, and who helps you to be a better person every day. There are few things better than being in a good relationship.

Promotions should be the easiest of all three, to explain the concept of working for it. If you want a job, you have to go through some process of getting it… that takes work. You may need a special education, or training… these take work. Once you get the job, you have to work to keep it. You can’t clock in every day, sit on your ass and do nothing, and expect to not get fired. No, you have to do the job they are paying you to do. What’s next? Do you want to promote? Of course you do! Maybe you want to be promoted to supervisor? Or perhaps, you want to be over a special division, project, unit or team? Promotions and advancements are competitive and “wanting it” is equal to my dad’s analogy for wishing. You can want it until you’re blue in the face, but as long as there is someone else willing to work, or work harder than you, for it… that person is going to be the one chosen over you. Now, of course, this may not always be the case, after all, some good ass-kissing to the right people might give someone an edge in the right (or wrong) place of business, but when they get their  brown-nose in the position and ultimately fail, it will just be a matter of time before they are kicked out, demoted or maybe even fired, and the hard worker put in their place. The reason is simple- the machine has to work and if the machine doesn’t work, someone is going to be held accountable for the losses. If you are the worker- the one who passes up the opportunity to drink coffee with the boss or tell him/her that their necktie really brings out the color in their eyes, in order to get the job done and keep the machine running, then you will be the asset, and the brown-nose will be the ass.

I hope this helps

I genuinely hope this helps someone out there to re-focus, re-energize and get to work on making their dreams come true. My dad taught me at a young age to work. He taught me the importance of working on my own cars (and later motorcycles), he taught me how to make household repairs and renovations- fix plumbing, electrical, sheetrock (which I still hate) and build sheds. I learned how to keep what I had running, and in my adult life, I learned how to maintain my home and my marriage, be a good husband and try to be a good father. Each generation wants to make life a little easier for their kids, but the disservice is, that each generation will raise their kids to become more reliant on other people until there is no one out there that can do anything for themselves. I tried to raise my kids with the same values and lessons that I was blessed with as a kid… and from what I’ve seen so far, those lessons seem to be sticking. I’m also really glad that they didn’t actually poop in their hands while making a wish.

Ride safe and make good choices, MotoReaders and remember, to wish in one hand, and work hard with the other.