Coping: What Does Your Hobby Say About You?

imageSeems like every hobby has an “emotional hook” that people get caught up in.

Playing hooky Thursday morning, I flew G-II – my son if you weren’t following this – down to Skydive Spaceland.  Wonderful facility, nice people, well-maintained equipment and a great group of folks.

The picture right was snapped on initial climb.

But on the two hour ride down, maybe a third of it was me thinking about skydiving and wondering why people do it.

Sometime in the wee hours this morning, the light came on (in my head) and I figured that the kind of hobbies we choose are probably defined by the perception/identification that was programmed into us (imprinted if you will) at a very young age.  Or, we have been commercially imprinted, which is a whole other deal, indeed.

Take hunting for example.  People who own guns, in particular, seem a good illustration of how the mind works.   And how this imprinting stuff works.

Damn few people I know pursue hunting for the original purpose – which was to put meat on the table. 

There are damn few folks, except maybe our friends in the castle up near Weston Colorado, who genuinely like harvesting an elk, or two each year, for example.  With the closest real “store” some 50-miles down the road in Trinidad, Co. (pretty town, BTW) it makes sense to bag an occasional elk and freeze it.

It’s also an insurance policy…the area gets cold and is remote as heck.  Should there be any failure of services, or just a road being impassable due to drifts, a gun and local wildlife can keep our friends alive indefinitely.

Now, let’s take the other side of it.  A bunch of friends of mine this weekend are piling together down in southern Washington, where one of them is building a serious bug-out place. 

He’s a meticulous doctor-type and my friend the retired army officer is there along with a couple of other friends.

Sure, a lot of work on the bug-out building will no doubt be done, but there’s also enough firepower on the trip to outfit a combat squad in the sandbox. They will be sighting –in their collection of AR-15s and what-have-you.

Guns, “marksmanship” and testosterone often seem to show up about the same time.  When it’s in a setting like this retreat in Washington, it is “fun” and there is an element of skill since as far as I know, all the participants are retired or former military and do take pride in their gun handling skills.

What do I know about the imprinting process with these people?  A couple I can speak of with  clarity.  Hunting, and living away from the main/crazy-stream in life just makes sense.  Castle in the hills, or trailer in the woods, being out of the way of other humans just makes sense.

Living in a big city, it is argued, puts you closer to emergency medical care as you age, that’s for sure.  But the flip side is the stress of being in a large city might force you to need it sooner.

Big cities are like living in the center of a fast-flowing river.  Everyone in mid-stream is in a hurry and generally oblivious to that waterfall up ahead that everyone is rushing toward.

Hence, living to the side of the main current (as we do here in the Outback, or our Castle friends do) just makes good sense.  The shallows along the bank of the river flow slower.  And you have a chance of avoiding the waterfall.  Oh, and no first-strike nuclear targets near.

The imprinting of the Washington crowd is different:  At least two out of the four were military (one a spec ops type) while my friend the retired officer has an older brother who is very talented in many areas – including duck hunting and reloading.  Some imprinting from family and childhood and some “commercial” imprinting, which is how armies work.

In the retired officer’s case, I can see back to the “imprint” of duck hunting in Eastern Washington and keeping up with the older brother.  The spec ops fellow lived in the world where only a damn fool wouldn’t have a gun under the pillow. Fear of imminent death seems to imprint indelibly, too.

Years ago, my friend Brock suggested an easy way to “slot” people was to cast them into roles they could fit as part of a pre-historic family.  Been using his idea for 25 years…and very pleased with it.

Some people are just naturally born good hunters – they would put food on the table.  Others were fishermen…and these folks are by nature easily inclined to “net” lots of ideas in life, and throw back the ones that aren’t big enough, or ready for eating.

There were the farmers, too.  In management terms, these are the people who can take an idea and grow it to maturity.

Of course, you have your Chiefs.  These are people who can coordinate the use of others.  They can maximize all the resources of the tribe that are available.  The have usually mastered all the other roles.

There are also foragers, fire-tenders, and explorers – who lead the tribe to their next (whatever). 

Last, you may have wanderers, who don’t belong to a specific tribe of their own, and who just glom onto other wanderers.   

It’s been a useful gift…and leads to a whole set of useful job interviewing questions:

You  are in prehistoric times.  You are a member of a tribe of humans.  You can be a hunter, fisherman, farmer, fire-tender and family raiser, or you can be a scout/explorer.  Which role would you pick and why?

With a question like this, a person will tell you sometimes 95% about what you need to know in order to make a hiring decision.  Sometimes I would toss in other roles, too.  Like Shaman.

The follow-on question – equally revealing in a few cases, is…

Tell me all of the hobbies you enjoy?

Well, the same applies to hobbies.  People self-select.  Their hobbies reveal what they are inside.

I also asked “What kind of transmission do you prefer in a car…automatic of stick?”

Stick drivers tend to be a tad more hands-on and perhaps a wee more connected, too.

Boaters are largely fishermen.  Some,. like the jet skiers, have a dose of hunter in them (best evidenced at mid-jump off a big wake).

Long-distance sailors are slower explorers with a side of fisherman.

People who restore old cars, on the other hand, are generally farmers.  They see an old rust-0bucket and know that with enough JC Whitney catalogs to nourish the project, they can grow a very respectable restoration.

Yep, gear-heads as farmers.  The grow a polished and ported Hemi, just as sure as a farmer calculates and raises corn.

The gourmet cooking and home-brewers would likely be fire-tender types.  There’s no laws to this stuff…you can slide labels around until you’re comfortable with how they fit people you know first-hand.

RV’ers would fall into either explorers, or wanderers, depending on whether they “snow bird” are never stay in one park more than a week, or less.  You see both types at camping world.

The Castle-builders?  They are chiefs.  It takes all skills to turn a million bucks worth of building materials into a year round retreat from the insanity of the go-go world in the mountains of Colorado.

Another example of a chief is an acquaintance down at the local airport.  Has been a serious RVer (wanderer), is building an airplane – so that’s his farmer side, he’s also into digital photography in a serious way with lots of subjects (fisherman) and be built a very successful insurance outfit in Houston, so definitely a hunter there, as all good salesmen are, except consultative sales, where you’d pick part hunter, part famer.

On  the other hand, in our four 50-60-something males are an interesting collection of farmer (since one in a contractor who “grows” buildings), shaman (a psychologist), hunter (the retired s/f fellow), and I’m not sure yet where to slot the doctor…possibly fisherman since his specialty requires lots of working with people and trying to “net” the right diagnosis…

Thing is, tribal roles like this never change.  We come into the world, with a bunch of different tribing options, then we get imprinted and initiated into….well….whatever your hobby is.

If you’re not sure which aspect of tribe your particular hobby involved, just mental try on each of the different roles and ask “Does this one fit?”  Whatever the answer is….

Even G-II’s skydiving is a kind of “hunter” sport.  Speed and stealth in hostile territory.  And, as you can see on his FB page, he’s now turning into the “old hunter” and helping newbies get their jump skills down…  passing down a hunting skill.

With any luck, you’ll be able to look at your life (when you get to be my age) and see how you’ve come through the various “chairs” so that by the time you approach ultimate check-out time, you will have sampled a little farming, a bit of fishing, some shaman work/counseling,. fire-tending, and so on.  Then you can be considered a Chief.

The greatest accomplishment of humanity so far may be that we’ve constructed a world where a couple of days a week, we can go through the “hobby line” and feed those aspects of our personality that have been imprinted and bred into us.

In Jungian terms, hobbies and pursuits are when we work on the relationships between our inner archetypes.  “Above above, so below” – so we either meditate (medicate?) and work directly on then, or come the weekend, we get back in the (name your hobby) line and work with them from the outside in.

Come Monday, work is, to paraphrase Twain,  Everything else.  Or, your main role, if you are indeed a fortunate soul.

Another Million-Dollar Idea

After sweating like a pig (it was hot outside here yesterday), I grabbed a nice relaxing (long) shower.

Popping out, Elaine mentioned my toenails looked like crap…and I’ll leave it to your imagination from there.

But somewhere along the line, I had this marvelous idea pop into my head that a new and completely useless pursuit would be to open a chain of precision micro-toenail engravers.

Oh, sure, I thought about decals, but those already exist.

This would be something different.  Say you grow a toenail out 3/4ths of an inch, or so.  then you get someone who is good with micro-carving and you have them carve out an intricate grillwork through the toenail.  And then, maybe some 0.006 holes with micro-jewelry?

I know it sounds crazy, but think about it:  We have absolute wastes of money and resources for damn near everything else, why not take micro-carving mainstream with toe-grills and micro-jewelry?

This time of the year when everyone is wearing sandals, I’m thinking some toenail grillwork and micro-bells would be quite a fad.  An d how about this?  Just like the charm bracelets industry is huge, this could be a home-run, too.

Except instead of a charm bracelet, you would have the charms drilled onto your toenails.

By God, this is a hot one.  I will have to send it to Madison Avenue Mike…maybe he can get the fashion world off its butt….

I’m telling you, just like pierced ears made ear fashion pop, I’m certain that micro-jewelry for the toes is just sitting there, waiting to be exploited.

Why, we might even approach PETA.ORG for an endorsement.  “No rabbits would be killed in the making of these foot charms…

Either that, or I really did get too much sun yesterday…

Write when you break-even…


3 thoughts on “Coping: What Does Your Hobby Say About You?”

  1. Old Rodney Dangerfield joke: I’m an ass man.

    Getting tired of the robot animal in the right pane of your column…today, she’s just about nekked…I am wanting a just about nekked robot man so I can check out his ass man….

    Can you fix me up?

    Thank you.

  2. Or you have my Son-in Law who, though Special Ops Combat Medic, is so grossed out by feet- and especially toe nails – he can’t look at them without shuddering.

    And you haven’t even addressed hygiene. Will foot washing stations become a code requirement in public restrooms?

    Well maybe that’s s job creation plus….

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