Cashing in Man Chips

Posted on July 15, 2014 under Storytelling with 3 comments

Poker chips

When the chips are down



Life is one long series of trade-offs.

There are plenty of examples of people having to make tough decisions; taking the good with the bad.  The current economic environment has forced many Maritimers to find employment in the oil patch.  The good news is that with the right skill set and plenty of discipline you can make a lot of money there. If you have a trade then there’s a real bonanza to be had.  The bad news is that you have to live where the work is, with rents and home prices that are astronomical.   This leads many people to do the commute.  They are trading money for lifestyle.  When you have a family to support you may not have any other choice.

The baby boomers are retiring en masse.  Their large homes are now flooding the market, driving down prices in small town Canada.  Many of these same people are choosing to move to larger centres where they have better access to services, especially medical and recreational; but more importantly, their grandchildren are there.  They have lived most of their adult lives in the comfortable arms of small communities and now they are faced with the prospect of living in a high rise in the city, where their neighbor could possibly be a member of the Hell’s Angels (Hopefully retired! – Editor) Yes, pensioners who sell their homes and move to the city can eliminate repairs to their homes, snow shovelling and property taxes; but what are they trading these things for?

Nowhere are trade-offs more apparent than in a marriage.

Giving up the single life is a big transition. “Doing your own thing,” one of the big catch all phrases from the 60’s, takes a back seat to compromise.  It becomes a delicate balancing act that is mastered over time.

One person in the relationship may have been a neat-freak before tying the knot, while the other … not so much.  Ditto for finances.  Having a Scrooge trying to match wits with a spendthrift can be like matches and gasoline.  Everything hopefully reaches a state of equilibrium over time.

Sometimes, the scales of justice tip precariously in one direction or the other.  If you’re a man, you have to build up a lot of credits.  Some people refer to them as “man chips”.

Just the other day, a friend of mine was telling me about a recent shopping trip he took with his wife.  She was in search of a purse, your basic walking around town variety.  This was the day before my friend was due to play in the Kilted Golf Tournament.  You should know that this tournament is really an excuse for anybody of Scottish heritage or anyone with the nerve to wear a kilt, to hit the links.  But before they take their first swing, most participants hit the bottle.  Mercifully it is a one day tournament but it generally leaks into the next day and absenteeism at work is rampant.

I am not here to glorify overconsumption of anything.  Just stating the facts.

The search for the perfect purse would have pleased Marco Polo.  It was an epic journey.  Finally, mercifully, the ultimate handbag was located.  Before reaching the checkout my friend casually asked about the price.  “It’s on sale.  It’s only $250.”  He could feel his cerebellum moving from side to side as if he had been in the ring and had absorbed a hay maker to the head.  Just as he was about to utter something utterly contemptible (and stupid), a small voice inside him said. “Don’t say a thing.  You need to conserve all those man chips.  You might spend them all tomorrow at the golf course and the bar afterwards, not to mention a late night pizza at the Wheel.”  (Sounds like he’ll go through at least $250 by lunchtime … – Editor)

Men, take it from the experts.  Weigh all of your options when the chips are down.



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