Sunday, October 18, 2020

Costs, consequences, trade-offs


This thing will show up later in the post.

Nice autumn weather, as illustrated in the three images above, rarely lasts as long as we would like.

After fighting pain last night (more on this later) I got out and executed a lovely eight-mile Sunday stroll this morning.

Unlike yesterday, which was warm and sunny, today was brisk and cold and misty-foggy-overcast. Brrr!

Never fear, this one's only 1:10!

Forty-six seconds!

Forty-six seconds again!

Twenty seconds!


The following thing smells a lot like a rant, and in a way it is. However, I'm not trying to merely screech and vent. I'm trying to express a point which seems (to me at least) to be rational and properly constructed. If I do my writing thing correctly, the post should end up hanging together nicely (?!?) even though it's constructed of disparate parts. Will I pull it off?



How do costs, consequences, and trade-offs work?

Many grown-up ape-lizards have a good handle on this. But not all of them!

I know a few who believe in the core of their soul that every time they pay for anything they are being stolen from and savagely victimized. They can't or won't see that they are exchanging their cash for the goods and services they don't have but want to have.

In this world view, they should get what they want because they want it, and they should be able to keep all their cash, too.

In reality rational adults understand that they are exchanging their cash for something they value more than the cash they offer in trade. They know that the reverse is true also, that the person selling the good or service charges more than the actual cost of producing the good or service. It seems like a ponzi scheme at first blush, as if everyone is participating in a get rich quick swindle.

It's not, though, because ape-lizard values aren't universal.

If you are selling apples, for instance, and I want apples but am not willing to buy and operate an apple farm, The value of your individual apples will probably be higher to me than to you. You can charge a premium and make a profit, because I value having apples without the work and money and risk of buying and operating my own apple farm. I'm busy with my own job and have neither the time nor the resources to produce my own apples. So I'll pay your premium and be happy to do so. At the end of the transaction we've each gained an advantage over the other because we're each operating from a different apple-value paradigm.

Everything is fine and we each get what we want and get the deal we want.

Until the professional victims show up.


Yesterday I executed a smashing workout. It was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed running the double slopes with a 50-yard sprint across the top. When the endorphins kicked in that top sprint felt like pure freedom. I felt light and strong and powerful and like I was livin' at a higher plane. And I was! It was a giddy and delightful feeling. That feeling -- the runner's high -- is worth pursuing in and of itself. The pursuit adds zestful experience to my life and also makes me more fit physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's a win all across the board.

The economy of the thing works like this. I trade potential, capacity, time, and effort for increased physical, mental, and emotional fitness. I value the the goods I'm trading for more than I value the effort I must put forth.

But wait, there's more!

At my rather advanced age of not a fucking kid anymore, hard physical work comes at a price above and beyond mere time and effort. Part of the price is pain, and pain is a consequence of the physical damage working out causes. The physics of working out means that a hell of a lot of force is applied to muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints. When pounded by the forces from working out, affected body tissues develop micro-tears and micro-fractures. This is true whether the body is six or sixty. It's also true that the body can and will self-repair such damage. For a "not a fucking kid anymore" aged person, self-repair takes a bit more time. The process itself is painful. It's not terrible pain, but it can be distracting.

Last night it was pretty distracting. As I lay in bed the repair process caused my lower legs, ankles, and feet to throb with pain. This was as it should be -- I'd pounded them mercilessly. The day's dedicated exercise totaled 144 hills, 28,600-ish steps, and more than 14 miles. The 25 year-old me would have had similar discomfort. The left ankle was more painful than the right, being the location of a couple of achilles surgeries. I have no room to whine about that. A couple of years ago I was in danger of losing that foot and perhaps even more as an infection raged inside the calcaneus, or heel bone.

Enduring pain was a price I was willing to pay, because I valued pain-freeness less than I valued the benefits I could purchase for pain, potential, capacity, time, and effort.

I tried to relax into the pain and sleep, but I finally gave up and took some aspirin and naproxen. Within 20 minutes the pain eased enough for sleep to come. Those medications came to me in a transaction where I valued having them more than I valued the cash I traded for them.

Cool, eh?

And what a blessing to have such things available to trade cash for.

After I took the meds I slept very well. In the predawn hour my nightly visitor touched me with loving support as she always does.

This morning I was still creaky and sore, but it was a normal creaky and sore.

The fitness I'm working to achieve requires a tradeoff. Hard work, dedicated effort, pain. Those are costs, but as a consequence of paying a fair price I receive increased fitness, wonderful experience, and a zestful feeling of good health. It's a good trade, and it accrues heavily to my benefit.

But I don't get the benefit for free, and I would be stupidly moronic if I expected to. And I'd be even more stupidly moronic if I thought I was so special that I was entitled to just have the benefit after someone else paid for it.


There are several other ways to look at life through an economic lens. We'll do that in future, perhaps.


From the batshit crazy file. I put these away today. My winter sweatshirt and chore jacket. It's a combination I've worn a-chorin' since about 1995. The sweatshirt is relatively new, less than a year old. I've been wearing the jacket for a quarter-century. Anyway, I hung them on the coat hooks near the front door in early May.

It might seem backwards to be hanging the combination up just when the weather is getting cold.

However, back on April 28 it was a cool, breezy, spring morning. Allie went with me to check cows, and grabbed the freshly laundered chorin' rig because she wasn't nearly as well insulated as I. She wore that rig a lot better than I ever did!

It still smells like her too, like warm, happy girl. That'll fade with time, but the jacket and sweatshirt are a now a national treasure in this part of reality. The rocks are still where she placed them, btw.

To continue the batshit crazy theme, the lighter above (and below) made itself known to me as I charged down a dollar store aisle at full tilt this morning. It was ensconced in a display case of about fifty of the things. How did I see the message adorning this particular lighter? Why did I stop and back up and grin and have to have it?

Batshit crazy.

I miss her and I will never not miss her. I am crushed by her death and I will never not be crushed. The grief will be an always thing, until I am no longer a living thing.

But that crazy-beautiful girl let me love her, all of her, unconditionally. And she loved me back. 

As batshit crazy as it sounds, she's still here with me, and she makes herself known in countless Allie-clever ways. Makes it okay. It's sad, but it's happy too. Make any sense?

Of course not, it's batshit crazy!


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. "
    In this world view, they should get what they want because they want it, and they should be able to keep all their cash, too."

    In my many years of selling cars and trucks, these were the people that received my extra attention. For most customers who just wanted to buy a car, I wasn't particularly greedy. We could always get more cars; we couldn't always get more customers.

    For those "special" customers, I extracted every red cent I could get. Those rodeos could last hours and their innate nastiness would be on display. For them alone, I was the stereotypical sleazy car salesman. Done right, they left the lot thinking they won while we, in the back room, exchanged high fives.

    1. So that's how the used car thing is done! ;-)

      It's pretty much impossible to deal with such folks on a human-human basis because they know that you are simply an object and not an actual person. It's a little (lot, really) scary, because they put the psycho in psychopathy. Their numbers seem to be growing as more and more people outsource their minds and souls to the tee-vee/mediatainment metroplex. The seeming increase may be an illusion; could be the numbers are the same but the psychos are less shy about showing their colors in today's societal milieu.

      Thanks Frank.

  2. One man's batshit crazy is another's normal mode of operation. It's all relative.

    As to the basic rules of economics, you charge what the market will bear, if no one buys it, you lower the price or you find another business. It's pretty simple really, I don't understand why people don't get that. Prolly because they think the gubmint should do everything for them.

    Everything has a cost, everything.

    1. We're part of a universe where the laws of thermodynamics hold sway. To use a poker analogy, you can't win, you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game. We're all -- and everything in the universe is -- matter/energy. So every moment is a swirling mass of energy trades, taking concentrated energy, using a bit of it to exist, and giving it back to the universe in a less concentrated form. So even at the most basic level of existence everything has a cost. My I do blather on, don't I?

      The misunderstanding of reality is always a choice, a conscious decision. As a society I'd have to rate our collective level of disreality "very high." Somebody pass me that joint!

      Thanks Sarge. My batshit crazy is a new norm and I'm getting comfortable in that place. Which I think is fine so long as I don't get too comfortable...

  3. I know just what you mean by national treasures.
    There are two on top of the bookcase behind me.
    MB has one or two around here, too.
    They mean little to anyone else, but we understand.

    1. I spent my entire life knowing intellectually about such things and thinking I understood them. The actual experience of losing my soulmate is so different than what I thought I understood that it's not even in the same universe. As much as it sucks I think this is the way it's supposed to be. If nothing else it helps me understand how big and vital my love is and how blessed I am to be able to love that woman unconditionally. The treasures are treasures.

      Thanks Skip.

  4. BTW, if you hear a car horn on I-80 sometime Wednesday afternoon, it's me.
    MB and I are driving with her sister-in-law to Ohio because we're batshit crazy.
    Then we'll fly home next Monday.

    1. Ah, that'll be cool! The weather is supposed to be nice so I'll likely be out there grinding out some hills. I'll be listening. Maybe we'll hear/see each other for a fleeting moment, maybe not. It's the thought that counts in something like that and I greatly appreciate the gesture!

      Enjoy your batshit crazy journey! Life is for livin'.

  5. Hey! Everything OK? (well, relatively speaking, I mean...)

    1. Yes it is, for certain values of okay.


    2. Excellent! (and just exactly where did the last two days go?...)
      Good to hear it, and you’re totally welcome!

  6. Hi. Still here and still keeping you and yours in thoughts and prayers. We were out of town for a couple of months while my wife had major low back surgery, follow up visits and started on the road to recovery. All things considered, your path to wellness sounds like more fun. Her condition is degenerative so her options are limited. Stay safe and well and keep on livin'.

    1. Thanks Mark, and thanks for the update. It's so easy for me to think my stuff is all the stuff in the world. I'm so pleased that your wife is on the road to recovery. What a blessing for you guys. I'm sending thoughts and prayers and best wishes.

      I continue to make good progress with my back and I'm having a ball. It can be a lot of work and sometimes I whine about the pain but compared to so very many people the thought that my position is complaint-worthy is laughable! I will do my best to stay safe and well and I will keep on livin' until they throw my carcass in the incinerator. You folks stay safe and well also.