A Well-Planned Future


Pidgy Schnook was an amiable house guest.  While he was trying to “get it all together” which he did by spending long hours in bed and longer hours in front of the television screen, he did rouse himself enough to do housework and generally neat up the place.  His getting bounced from Prep School for smoking pot didn’t upset him as much as it did Lapius.  “What the hell,” he said, “everybody does it, and besides you drink alcohol.”


“That’s not the point,” Lapius said, “I have my career.  Alcohol didn’t interfere with it.  It was momentary effects.  It doesn’t leave me boggle-eyed the following day.  I only have one drink at night after office hours….  But with pot, I’ve seen the results.  It leaves kids somewhat obtunded for a day or two.  But that’s not the point.  The point is neither pot nor alcohol.  No doubt, someday pot will be legal.  The main question, Pidgy, is what are you going to do now?  What kind of a career are you going to carve out for yourself?”


“I haven’t thought about it.”


“At one time you wanted to be a doctor.”


“I don’t think that would be good for me, Uncle Simon.  It doesn’t give me pleasure.”


“Pleasure,” Yelped Lapius, “What does pleasure have to do with it?”


“Well, I mean you have to like what you are doing, don’t you, Uncle Simon?  I mean, you like being a doctor.”


‘Of course.  But I didn’t really like studying to be a doctor.  It was very difficult.  I didn’t like working as an intern for 25 dollars a month.  And I didn’t like nor do I like being awake all night, exhausted all the time, or being overwhelmed with responsibilities that sometimes I didn’t feel equal to.  Pleasure isn’t the criterion.  The question is what does the path you follow lead to?  Pleasure, perhaps, but actually the word is satisfaction.  There is a vast difference between pleasure and satisfaction.  That’s what I would like you to understand.”


“Okay, I understand,” Pidgy answered, looking back at his copy of Mad Magazine.


“Put that infernal magazine down, Pidgy, I want to talk to you,” Pidgy reluctantly laid the copy aside, leaned back, closed his eyes and prepared to listen. 


“The purpose of a career, young man, is fundamentally to provide yourself with the talent to be able to feed yourself and your family.”


“But Uncle Simon, things are different today.  After all, even the interns get $10,000   a year and the garbage men get $18,000 a year.  What difference does it make what I do for a living?  I think maybe I should join a union.”


“Even to do that you will have to learn how to saw a piece of wood or lay a brick, wouldn’t you think, Pidgy?   “Don’t you think it possible that if you continued your schooling you might find a career that, although it would be difficult to achieve, might keep your interest; that although you might not get pleasure in pursuing it – it might mean a lot of hard work which, I have observed, you seem allergic to, it might yield compensatory gratification when you are older.”


“That could be, Uncle Simon.  But to tell you the truth I like to read a lot.  And I like to listen to music, and there are lots of things that I do that give me pleasure all the time, so why push myself for a career.  Our generation is different than yours.  Our perception of life is different.”


“But Pidgy,” Lapius asked, an edge of exasperation in his voice, “what do you intend to do for a living?”


“I have never had trouble getting fed yet,” Pidgy answered, “I mean don’t blame me if my parents are affluent.”


“But they might not always be.  Has that thought entered your beclouded mind?”


“Well, then I can get married.”


“Married?”  The thought always sent a shudder through the massive frame of Lapius.  “Then you would quadruple your responsibilities.  What would do if you got married?”


“I guess the same thing I do here.  I can get the housework done in about an hour or so and the rest of the day is my own.”


‘But egad, Pidgy.  You would have to earn a living, wouldn’t you?”


Pidgy lay back and stared at the ceiling.  “No, I wouldn’t have to earn a living.  Not if I married a doctor, or a lawyer.”