Thanks to Physician on FIRE for taking the time to hear me out in his weekly “Christopher Guest Post.” It’s a Spinal Tap joke, for those who aren’t familiar…and if you’ve not seen Spinal Tap, take my word for it that you should.
What do you do (or did you do) for a living? What do you like best about your job? If you were a physician, what type of a physician do you think you would be? Why?
Before I retired I was the senior director of operations for a niche commodity trading company in New England. You’ve heard of Enron, right? We competed with them in the energy trading sector…but not for jail time, thank God, because in our 150-person company we had eleven lawyers keeping us what let’s call “honest.”
So if I could be a doctor, I’d be a Doctor of Jurisprudence. I’m telling you right now: lawyers save as many lives as proctologists. You hope you never have to see one because they’re prone to shining light into places you’d rather not have light shone…but by God, are they great at pulling your head out of your [REDACTED AT THE INSISTENCE OF THE AUTHOR’S ATTORNEYS].
Yuk-yuk. But I’m realizing that must be a stale joke in the medical profession. So sue me.
[PoF: A lawyer for every eleven people on the team (give or take)? That’s quite the ratio. I’m glad someone was keeping you people “honest,” although the quotation marks give me pause.
I didn’t ask what kind of doctor you would be — doctorates are handed out like candy on Halloween these days (joking… topical hyperbole this time of year) — I asked what kind of physician you’d be. You mentioned proctologist, so I’ll take that as your answer. Final answer.]
Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.
Having retired at age thirty-six and stayed that way for thirteen years, I’m speaking from what I’ve personally experienced, and both the knowledge and the ignorance that’s revealed, rather than from theory and/or conjecture. And my blog’s as much if not more about the philosophy and humor of FIRE as it is things technical.
I say that because “technically right” isn’t always the best kind of right to be, especially when the moment calls for color and chaos…like, say, a monkey running amok with a suitcase full of money and a gun. The subtitle of my blog is therefore “Financial Independence, Early Retirement, and Monkeys with Money and Guns.” You might come for information, but I hope you’ll stay for the show.
Look, I have no idea what the stresses on an M.D. are, but I gather they’re bad and getting worse. Consequently, it’d be terribly insensitive for me to pile stress upon stress, which is why you won’t catch me fear-mongering with articles like “WOE BETIDE YE WHO HATH NOT SAVED SUFFICIENTLY FOR RETIREMENT.”
None of us need that. I’m out to make your day a little brighter…and never ever darker. If I inspire you a little and maybe make you smile, I’ve succeeded.
[PoF: The math is the simple part. It’s the psychology and “the feels” part that is tricker to figure out. Thank you for brightening our days.]
What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?
My right hand to God, I started my blog when I was marooned on a desert island.
It was a solo early-spring camping/fishing trip to Cape Lookout–which if you’re not familiar is an undeveloped barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. About as wild and natural a beach as you can visit on the east coast. You can’t drive there…you and your 4WD have to ride over on a canoe-sized ferry that books up months in advance. And if the weather turns foul: suck it up, sailor. You’re stuck.
So of course towards the end of my trip the weather turned foul. Went from eighty degrees and clear skies to ice-cold with forty-knot winds and strong rain. The ferryman balked and the fish all fled, which left me little to do but hunker down in the camper shell of my pickup and entertain myself with my own stench.
CMGI depleted all foodstuffs save for oatmeal and mangoes and spoiled bait. In a valiant effort to stay sane, I drove down to the one eentsy corner of the island where I could get cell phone signal, set up a hotspot, opened my laptop, rented server space at GoDaddy, installed WordPress, and hacked my blog together in a single day. Wrote article after article until the weather finally broke. Caught the ferry, escaped the island, and here we are.
You asked if there was a particular event that made me feel like my blog arrived. There was. At the beginning of September 2018, it got mentioned in a couple of New York Times FIRE articles that went viral. That was damned validating, man. I mean, people used to treat me like I was nuts when I explained my early retirement plans to them, but now we’re a “movement.” In the future, I’d like to keep pushing this movement forward in my own peculiar way.
The interview continues at Physician on Fire. Read on.