Omir the Storyteller

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Wealthy Fisherman

Stories

A Harvard MBA only a couple of years out of school was at a conference in Mazatlán, Mexico, and instead of going to yet another panel discussion on adminstering loans to third world nations on Saturday morning, decided to go visit the parts of Mexico that aren't given over to the tourist trade. He drove up the coast for an hour or so and found himself at a fishermen's dock. He stopped his rental car, got out and walked out onto the sand. As he was taking in the sights and sounds of the sea, he saw a small boat coming into the dock. He watched the boat as its solitary occupant, a man about his age, brought the boat in and tied it up at the mooring.

"¡Hola!" the MBA called out, trying out his excellent Spanish.

"Hi," the fisherman answered. (Note: I don't speak a lick of Spanish, and for all I know neither do you, so I'm just going to write their dialogue in English.)

The MBA looked into the boat and saw three yellowfin tuna. "Nice fish," the man said. "How long did it take you to catch them?"

"Not long," the fisherman answered, looking at a wristwatch on his sunburnt arm. "I go out when the sun first comes up and am back before noon."

"Then what?" the MBA asked.

"Then I go sell the fish in the village to get money to buy food for my family."

"And what do you do after that?"

"Oh, this and that. I swap news with the people in the market. Then I go home, take a siesta with my wife, and then we spend some time with our children. After that we go take a long walk, have a fine meal, I play guitar with my amigos. Stuff like that."

The MBA sighed. "Such a waste."

The fisherman looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"Well, just think. If you spent more time out here on your boat, you could catch more fish."

The fisherman smiled as he stowed his gear. "Why would I want to do that? I catch enough fish as it is."

"Well, yes, but just think. If you caught more fish, you could make more money."

"Señor, I already make all the money I need by selling the fish I catch now."

"If you made more money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish."

The fisherman just laughed, but the MBA was on a roll. "See, then you could sell the fish and make even more money. You could hire other fisherman to help you. Then you could buy more boats, hire more fishermen, catch more fish and make great amounts of money. Why, in thirty years or so you could have millions of pesos! You could be wealthy and retire."

By this time the fisherman had the fish in his arms and was heading for a battered old pickup truck not far from the dock. "Retire?" he asked as he went to the truck. "What do you mean by retire?"

"Well, you could do what you enjoy. You'd have all the money you need. You could go fishing in the mornings. Swap news in the market. Take a siesta with your wife. Spend some time with your children. Take long walks. Have fine meals. Play the guitar with your amigos . . . "

The wealthy fisherman loaded the tuna into the back of his truck and drove away.

1 Comments:

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Mike said...

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