One More Swim

Sec Lake

As the sad man donned his mask and snorkel and waded into the water, he thought:

I’m lucky to be here.

How many places are there, he wondered, where you can drive 2 minutes from your house and find such a sandy freshwater beach to swim in?    Those poor bastards in Toronto drive hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic to experience this.   And here he was, doing it on a weekday, after work.

Because this was the type of special place where you could do that kind of thing.

Where you could catch your fish for supper any time you felt like it.

Where there was an infinite network of back-roads leading to hidden lakes just waiting for your canoe.

Where you could pick wild berries and eat them until you got the shits.

Where the housing was cheap, where there were no traffic jams, where you didn’t have to lock any doors.

Where bears would poop in your back yard.

These were all things the man dearly loved.

It had taken him years to find this place.

But he was here, and he was grateful.

Yet he was still sad.

Because living here came with a huge price.

It meant working for The Factory.

That god-damned dysfunctional Factory.

Because that was the type of toxic place where grown men were treated like children by resentful bean-counters.

Where office Christmas parties required you to take personal time off to attend.

Where countless of millions were wasted on boondoggles, yet you could get disciplined because your timesheet was a day late.

Where you could be reprimanded, criticized and bullied for months on end, until you almost started to doubt your own worth as a human being.

And then they’d congratulate you with a successful annual performance review and a promotion.

And a few weeks later, the head games would start again, and you’d be harassed again and almost threatened with dismissal.

That was the type of place that would force you awake at night with a queasy stomach, and make you wonder how much longer you could take it.

This is why the man was sad.

Because he realized:  It’s not worth it.

His lakes.   His fishing.   His canoe.   His trees.

His bears that pooped in his back yard.

It’s not worth it.

He looked at the shimmering sunlight dancing off the pristine water.   He looked at the rolling hills of unspoiled wilderness.  And it was a bittersweet moment.

Because he knew he had to leave.

For the sake of his sanity, for his well-being, for his soul….he knew he had to leave.

And already, he was starting to grieve.

How many more times will I actually visit this beach? he wondered.

Who knows?  Nothing in life is a given, as his Mom often said.

He put on his mask, took a deep breath, and plunged into the cool dark forgiving water.

At least for one more swim…

Explore posts in the same categories: Miss Management

33 Comments on “One More Swim”

  1. Kyddryn Says:

    Aww, sugar…nolite les bastardes carborundorum…

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  2. I wish better for you.

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    I know someone else who has been seeking escape from this Factory for some time. I’ll put him in touch with you, as he may have some information that could help.

    It may be possible to have a better workplace, and still enjoy the outdoors in that neck of the woods.

    If nothing else, the sad man and the other man could have a couple of pints of beer and a good chat.

  4. Sometimes we do have to make choices. If that has to happen…it is very sad.

    But..decisions- once made for good- create events and put motions in place. Decisions open and close doors.

    Look around, the man might find that in making a decision to leave, a new door will open, one that couldn’t be seen before and he will have the best of both worlds.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed.You never know where the good news may be hiding.

  5. Mer Says:

    Dude. Really? That’s a tough choice. I feel sad for Sad Man at the moment, but I will pray for a boffo job where he gets his own chopper (or something) and can fly to the water, thereby missing all the gridlock on the ground.


  6. Friar Says:

    Heh heh. Is that some kind of witches spell you’re casting?

    Yes, I think the man will definitely find something better. It would be hard NOT to.

    At the very least, the two men getting together for beerz would certainly be a big help.

    Like the pioneers from 150 years ago, there’s always the chance to head West.

    Maybe the man wouldn’t have the same lakes and canoeing, but there would be the Rocky Mountains. Which is a whole other door of opportunity.

    …or a bushplane with pontoons. To access the “fly-in” lakes that nobody else could get to.

  7. Kelly Says:

    Ah, dear Friar,

    Yes, there is certainly beauty there. But it just doesn’t seem able to offset the ugliness. ‘Bout time for the man to have some smiles that don’t go with tears.

    I hope he finds what he needs.



  8. Friar Says:

    When the man first started, the beauty part far outweighed the ugly.

    But then, the ugly gained strength, till it was at the break-even point.

    That’s when the man realized it wasn’t worth it.

    He definitely has some ideas, though. It’s just a matter of not doing anything rash, and carefully examining the options before taking that next plunge.

  9. Karen JL Says:

    We have lakes. And canoes. And fish. 🙂

  10. Randi Says:

    Working in a place that destroys the very essence of who you are is maddening. I am glad you are choosing to part ways, or so it seems. I’ve been feeling your pain ever since you told me you had to take personal time off to go to your own Christmas party, plus pay $15! Life’s too short to spend it in misery.

  11. Kyddryn Says:

    Heh, Friar…it’s refried Latin…but it makes a nice mantra when life, the Universe, and everything start sucking. Supposed to mean “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” Could mean “Don’t light a match in there for a few minutes!”, for all I know.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  12. Friar Says:

    Not as many lakes…and it’s a different kind of fishing.

    But you got MOUNTAINS!!!! And trout streams! And mountain biking and hiking…!!!

    Oh, I never took any personal time off to attend any company parties. I just opted not to go. 😉

    I know carborundrum is a mineral, second the hardness, only to the diamond. That’s what threw me off.

    But “don’t let the bastards get you down”, is still a nice mantra. Thanks. 😉

  13. XUP Says:

    Ah, poor man. You have much plotting, finagalling and soul-searching to do. Can you live without the work? Lately I’ve come across several people who manage to live completely separate from the usual corporate rat race. Check out Hallie’s blog for one: I’m also working on a post about some of the other people who “opt out”.

  14. Brett Legree Says:


    I like that blog you linked to in your comment – especially the tiny house.

    (I really like what you’d call ‘different’ houses – tiny houses, container houses, etc. – I plan on our next house being a container house, and I already found a design.)

  15. Brett Legree Says:

    Speaking of bears pooping in the back yard, here’s TwttrPoop.

  16. Peter Says:


    But now the bear has clarity [shakes head like bear], which is a both good start and a good end.

    Maybe the internets can give you advice on what to do next.

  17. I left behind a very similar place a long time ago for what I thought were bullet-proof reasons. Unlike the sad man, I’ve only recently realized what it was I gave up.

    I truly empathize, my dear.

  18. Brett Legree Says:

    “Maybe the internets can give you advice on what to do next.”

    The internets to the rescue – ask the Magic 8 Ball!!!

  19. Friar Says:


    I can live without work…(I’m sure we all can) Though I still need a paycheck of some sort.

    Havent’ figured out that last part yet…but when I do, I’ll let you know.

  20. Friar Says:

    Difficult choices, and lots to give up, yes. Hence the man’s reluctance to make a quick decision, until he knows what he REALLY wants.

    Yeah, them fancy high-fallutin’ Internets. All the answers are there.

    (*bear shaking head*): Graah! Graaah! GraaaH!

    I swear, that Magic 8 Ball is real.

    I typed in “F*** me” and it said “definitely”

    Truer words were never spoken.

  21. Davina Says:

    What Tony says, “I wish better for you.” Much better. And you will find it, bear poop and all, IF you want the bear poop, that is. Speaking of poop, have you seen the newest Jack Black movie yet; “Year One?” It’s a hoot. You’ll laugh till you cry, or possibly pee your pants, or both….

  22. Friar Says:


    I think that’s a movie I want to see. Though it might not make the rounds in the local movie theaters (There are only have two within a 60-mile radius)

    Sounds like that might be a good rental movie for when Brett comes over!

  23. David Says:

    But you have an internet connection and choose your words well. Can you find some way to work online, as @amyderby does?

  24. Kelly Says:


    Amy also works her butt off offline. And her Internet presence has taken her years to build.

    (From a good friend of Amy’s who knows.)

  25. Kelly Says:

    Sorry, David. That sounds a little harsh. I only meant it’s not like Friar can just dump his job as a nuclear dude tomorrow and still pay the same bills next week, y’know? 🙂

  26. Friar Says:


    What Kelly said…you can’t go from instantly quitting your job, to starting an on-line business and supporting yourself just like that. Not without a lot of careful research and making a business plan….

    There’s nothing wrong with an office job…if it’s the right company. That’s the key…trying to find that company. (I know they ARE out there).

    Exactly…from what I’ve read (between the lines), the people making money off the internet will put in long long hours, and it takes a long time to get there.

    The ones who are already doing it have established themselves years ago. I would suspect it’s a lot harder now. I’ve noticed an explosive growth of free-lancersconsultants/life coaches/ not to mention the wannabees….who all want to earn a living from their home. How much more can the market absorb?

    And you’re right…in the mean time, who will pay my mortgage?

  27. Brett Legree Says:

    The reality is that Friar and I could do 95 percent of our jobs from home – *if* our company was progressive.

    But they are not. Often times they don’t really care about the quality of the work – they just like to know you’re at your desk 37.5 hours a week.

  28. Kelly Says:

    *dies laughing at the thought of only working 37.5 hours a week – in my case, online or off*

  29. Brett Legree Says:

    You know what else will make you laugh, I’m usually done what I wanted to do for the day by about 9:30… but not being sufficiently interested to do more, I don’t.

    Sad when you can meet your targets in 25 percent of the alloted time, eh?

    But, we still can’t go home.

  30. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Until the pain of staying exceeds the pain of leaving, you won’t.

  31. Brett Legree Says:


    Exactly. And the bosses know that, too.

    I am quite sure that is why they gave Friar a promotion.

    Companies know that they can kick us 1,000 times in the balls, then they give us an “attaboy” at just the right time.

    This doesn’t erase the 1,000 kicks, but it can often be just enough to halt any momentum we may have gathered towards moving on.

    Me? I’m going to go, too. Just in my case, with a large family, the resistance is a lot greater.

    If I were a single dude like Friar, I’d have left a long, long time ago.

    And even then… well, I fully expect to be gone in about 3 months. Seriously.

  32. Steph Says:

    Friar: I feel your sadness, but I can’t help but be so happy for you! There are other landscapes like yours in better places, and I know, I just know, you will find happiness elsewhere. And fish and deep, cold rivers, and mountains, and trees you want to paint. One great thing about this planet is there is no shortage of breathtaking places to live. We just have to have the courage to find them.

  33. Friar Says:

    I couldn’t even work from home if I wanted. They wont’ give me a lap-top.

    Funny, though. How the people who most ride me to get my work done on time DO have laptops (AND have their own offices, to boot). Must be NICE.

    What? Dosen’t everbody work 37.5 hours? 😉

    Suffice to say, the man in the story feels pretty close to the break-even point. It’s a tippy scale right now.

    The way the Factory is going, wouldn’t suprise me if quite a few people may be gone in 3 months. Whether they like it or not.

    Just so long as it’s NOT Southern Ontario (I mean, the crowded Toronto part of it).

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