insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child

Mimicry

Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]

ad-sample

Advertise Here

I imagine a big hamster wheel. I step onto the tread, move one foot in front of the other, feeling the sole of my shoe grip the inclined part of the curved wall, sunlight glinting off the shiny, metal-trimmed edge, …...

[ Swap Article ]

Re-gifting

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

0
christmas snowman decoration

Filed Under , , on January 7th, 2017

Shiny

By Seth Kabala

I imagine a big hamster wheel. I step onto the tread, move one foot in front of the other, feeling the sole of my shoe grip the inclined part of the curved wall, sunlight glinting off the shiny, metal-trimmed edge, and I press forward and down.

I bring my other foot up, plant it on the cycling wall, push forward and down, and continue the motion, each cycle generating more speed, until I am running, running as fast as I can. When I’ve reached maximum speed, someone approaches from my left, another from my right.

They extend their hands, both clutching the same thing: a big stack of papers, my work assignment. I feel it’s the gentlemanly thing to do, so I focus on my balance, extend my arms, and take the assignments from both simultaneously. I’m successful. I have both stacks of paper, and I’m still upright. No face-planting today. Leave that to some other younger, under-prepared rube.

I’ve got this shit. King of the fucking world.

Suddenly it’s hours later. I’ve managed to keep the wheel running while reading through the assignments. I feel I’ve accomplished a great deal. But no sooner than I’ve made paper airplanes out of each sheet in each assignment and flown them all to their respective mail slots (for that is the acceptable method of filing in this dream scenario), the assignment givers appear again. This time, in typical professional ironic fashion, they each reward my due diligence with a new assignment that is twice the size of its predecessor. But I passed the test, I think. What gives?

* * *

Last month, I finished an 18-month ordeal and passed the CPA exam. During that time, my Russian novel-esque study book tomes were almost constant fixtures in my hands. Though I’ve been a life-long reader, spending many nights and weekends buried in books years before I embarked on the CPA journey, 18 months is a long time, especially for kids. For them, it’s difficult to separate the act of reading a book from an equation that equals this: Dad is studying; Dad is busy; Dad is not to be disturbed (unless, of course, your name is Anna, and you can’t find your hairbrush).

I compartmentalize well, moving from project to project without remnants of past thought focus bleeding into my current project. For my youngest daughter, Ella, 5, though, that’s conceptually more difficult.

Case in point, upon passing the exam, I dove into a novel that’s long been on my to-read list: Dreamcatcher, by Stephen King. Ella noticed.

Ella: I thought you were done studying.

Me: I am. I passed my test. This is fun reading.

Ella: (Thinking.) When are you going to pass work?

Me: You don’t get to pass work, Honey. You’re always doing something. I’ll probably be going to work forever.

Ella: (Thinking.) Maybe when you get to heaven?

Life is a series of never-ending tests. Finish one–three others crop up. Finish those–you get the idea. What a novel concept, though: passing work. The closest one could rationally get to this would be retirement, but once you’ve retired, you can’t slow down. You have to keep doing something. Too many stories describe people who gave it everything they had for 40 years.

Retired. Died.

Not me.

I hope it’s not going to be you, either. I like to think of work as a gateway to newer, bigger, shinier gateways, and I don’t mean shiny in terms of money; I mean in terms of more satisfying, intellectually and visually and artistically and holistically.

I want to make money as much as the next person. I want to give my family the best of everything. But I want more than that. I want to matter. I want my presence on this planet to matter.

In sum, I want to create beautiful things.

I want to do great things, things that would make people stand back and say, “You know what, the world would be a darker place if Seth hadn’t been alive.”

Aside from cribbing the theme of It’s a Wonderful Life, I believe this is an excellent credo. Everybody doesn’t have to know your name (sorry, Cheers), but somebody should. For those fortunate few, I hope they stand at your funeral, look around, and say, “We miss you, friend. Thanks for leaving the place shiny.”

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditTwittertumblrEmail



Leave a Reply





Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments


Open and closed recycle brown carton delivery packaging box.

The Unboxing

Shortly after moving to Portland, I asked our office administrative specialist to order me a footrest. I asked for the footrest for a practical reason: lower back pressure relief. I have a stand-up desk. This works well to get my stand hours in during the day--Apple faithful, you know what I'm...

[ Swap Article ]

God character working on telemarketing vector illustration. Telemarketing, sales, business, marketing design concept

Let there Be Devices

We have over a dozen devices now, and the number is only going to grow from here. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Money eye bottle soda water isolated on mascot

Hydrating Water

Phil wasn't sure what caused his muscles to dehydrate and shrivel up into jerky encased in skin, but he understood the aftermath. His career was over. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Einstein - Think

You're Smart

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you're smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you're smart. Anna, 11,...

[ Swap Article ]

Madre Greater than Padre

Madre > Padre

A couple weeks ago, Amy diagnosed and changed out all three fuses that controlled electrical flow to the outlets in our car. Super sexy. Super cool. When I say that Amy did it, I don't mean that I was standing on the sidelines, guiding hands and helping words coaching her to a successful solution. I...

[ Swap Article ]

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]

?????????????????????????????????????????????????

Time Traveling Titan

At Toastmasters last week, the theme was National Velociraptor Awareness Day (a real thing). During Table Topics, one of the questions was this: describe your experience finding the first velociraptor claw. Tonight, the whole family is going to watch Avengers: Endgame. In the spirit of honoring the...

[ Swap Article ]

Customer icon emotions satisfaction meter with different symbol on background

Peaked Performance

I feel like the brain-training app Peak is a walking, talking (or, more accurately, a clicking, screen-time bloating) irony. The stated goal of this app is to improve your lifelong mental processing potential in several categories, like problem-solving and memory. The irony is that you Peak quickly....

[ Swap Article ]

Grunge green accepted word round rubber seal stamp on white background

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #21

On Easter Sunday afternoon, we took our kids to a trampoline/obstacle course park, but not just any ordinary park. This wasn't a collection of four-feet-across questionable exercise equipment in the trailer park's social activities room. (If we cobble together a bunch of small trampolines, we could...

[ Swap Article ]

Mad scientist holding up a test tube

Ammo Arms (part one)

...

[ Swap Article ]

Set, collection of colorful socks icons with different ornaments isolated on white background.

Waiting for Sock

Think about stuff you need to get you through your day. Does coffee come to mind? Of course it does. For millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, coffee, in its various forms, is a daily ritual. Not just a daily ritual--an hourly fix, as in you need to grab more black sludge...

[ Swap Article ]