I’d planned, back in February, to write a column about the missed opportunities we’ve all experienced. But a tragedy happened. I’m just now able to talk about it. I’ve tried to not even think about it. But the deep wounds reopen anyway. We were ahead by 25 points at one time, but lost 34-28 in Super Bowl 51. The Falcons walked off the field as worse than losers. They were disappointing losers, missed opportunity losers, squared. That’s it. No more can I write about those pitiful birds’ huge, once in a lifetime, missed opportunity.
Now, forget the Falcons. Let’s talk about my missed opportunities like the time Meat Man and I talked about building storage buildings for people to store their …… stuff in. It was in the 1980s. We’d both seen these new facilities popping up everywhere, rows after rows, some with as little as five or six units, many with fifty or more. Folks were giving out of home storage room. Garages that, years ago, once stored vehicles were now being used to contain our stuff, our junk. Our garages were finally overwhelmed with our out-of- control purchasing and hoarding. We needed more room.
But someone saw the need and was ready to risk their dollars to help millions of Americans who needed more room for their junk. Meat Man had property to construct the units on. We could have started out with maybe six units. He had room for forty or fifty units eventually. We could grow right along with people’s junk. It wasn’t a labor intensive business. The units’ storage fees would have been steady retirement income. The buildings were low maintenance. If the renters didn’t pay, we could have a yard sale, selling off their junk. It was a win-win opportunity. We didn’t see failure as a possibility.
But we forgot about one thing, the one variable that allows missed opportunities to multiply throughout people’s lives. It’s called fear. Fear of jumping off the cliff, fear of failure. Both of us had house payments, children to raise, car payments, along with other serious family obligations. Bill Gates didn’t have that fear. Henry Ford didn’t. Wilbur and Orville didn’t either. But Meat Man and I had it. And we had families to put first.
Now, every time I ride by one of those mega storage facilities I always think of what might have been. We couldn’t foresee the growth and longevity of junk in American’s lives. We love our junk and we have a hard time separating ourselves from our junk. You’ve probably seen programs about super hoarding, the ultimate outcome to acquiring more and more…..junk.
Not building storage units was not my only missed opportunity. Forty years ago I was encouraged to join Millen’s volunteer FD. I didn’t. I’d be drawing a nice retirement check now if I had.
But, I did marry the right woman, going on forty-eight years now. No missed opportunity there. And, Falcons’ fans, there’s always next year, another opportunity. Hopefully, not a missed one,…..again.