Thursday, November 23, 2006

My Reasons to be Thankful

If you will indulge me on this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to give reasons I have to be thankful.

For my good health: I was able to get one of my bikes this year and start riding again, due largely to good friends who came through with components and help with the bike when I needed it.

For my creative abilities that have got me this far in life and continue to give me the feeling that my best work is yet to come.

The driving force behind any creative person or artist is a desire to affect the lives of others in a positive way; without it, there would be no artists. No actors and movies, no songwriters and music, no authors and books to read.

To explain; a person works at a minimum wage job, or maybe even two minimum wage jobs, and still lives on the poverty line. In addition to being poor, their lives are not happy because although the work they do is an essential part of our society, no one thanks them or gives them validation.

Another person like me for example decided to build bicycle frames, and for many years I worked long hours for maybe less than minimum wage, but the difference was there were a few people willing to pay money for my frames and were extremely happy with what they bought. I had affected their lives in a positive way, and my work was validated.

Eventually I had enough customers that I could make a decent living. Some artists become celebrities and make a lot of money, but that is not the driving force. The money is only a validation of that persons work.

In the early 1990s the bike business changed and people stopped buying road bikes, my customers dwindled and I was back to barely surviving again. I chose to leave the business, take a good paying job, and channel my creativity in other directions.

I could have survived by building mountain bikes, but that was not my passion. Had I done that I would have been selling my soul to make a buck, which is what corporations do. That’s assuming a corporation has a soul to begin with.

Corporate America, unlike the individual artist, is all about making money. Corporations give us cellular phones, SUVs, and flat screen TVs. Things that can improve the quality of our lives, but sometimes lead to a path of wanting more and more, and being satisfied less and less.

Corporations are now in the bicycle business, producing 14 lb. carbon fiber wonders that cost a lot of money; but do they bring any more satisfaction?

My recent blog titled “Where have all the Fusos gone” brought comments and many more emails from people who have owned one of my bikes from new, or have recently picked one up on eBay for a fraction of the cost of a new bike.

These people don’t care that they are riding something that some would consider outdated; at least it was made by a real person.

Although I will never make another penny from a bike I sold in the 1980s or one someone else sells on eBay; I still have the extreme satisfaction that my creation is still affecting someone’s life in a positive way.

I have been blessed with a gift that keeps on giving and like the Master Card ad is "Priceless," and for that, I give thanks.