Thursday, September 15, 2016

How to Counter Annoying Thoughts with Dumb Thoughts

What if I had invested in Microsoft stock back when I saw the first beta version of Windows?

I turned on the computer, double-clicked the Solitaire game to launch it, watched the cards fall and bounce off the screen, and thought to myself, "I'm no expert, but that's a better user experience than a DOS prompt. I should buy stock in that company." That thought was followed by the notion that it was impossible for someone in Utah to purchase stock because I wasn't anywhere near Wall Street, and even if I were, I had no idea how to hand little pieces of paper to traders. "Buy!" I would shout, loosening my tie. "Buy!" (Or would I need to take little pieces of paper from traders who were shouting "Sell!"? No idea.)

What if I had waited three more weeks before moving to Seattle?

I think about this what-if more than you imagine. Back in 1998, I moved to Seattle two weeks before the Leadville race. The guy who hired me wanted me to start working at Adobe on July 23, but what if I had pushed back and said, "I'll start on August 15, and not a day before. And while we're being honest, I need my own fax machine." With the extra time to train, and the mental freak-out delayed until after the race, could I have broken 9 hours at Leadville in 1998? I don't know.

What if Wendy and I had stayed in Seattle instead of moving to Indiana?

If Wendy and I had bought a home when we got together in 2001, we could have purchased a home in Seattle for less money than we did when when returned in 2005. A lot less money.

I am under the general impression that life is good. I like my life.

If I had bought stock in Microsoft, I would have gotten rich, which means that women would have been pursuing me like crazy. Yes, I would have been having a lot of sex, but it's highly likely that I would have lost control of my Porsche and slammed into a tree, drunk and dead. I dodged a bullet there.

If I had waited three more weeks before moving to Seattle, I probably would have driven to Leadville a couple weeks before the race to train at high altitude. I would have been camping because I wouldn't want to pay for a hotel room because I didn't have large amounts of Microsoft stock, which puts me in the aforementioned campground. People get killed in campgrounds.

If Wendy and I had bought a house in Seattle in 2001, we might not have had Luke and Max. We might have had two different kids, such as Remus and Huckleberry. Or Sidney and Nancy. They might even have been born at different times. "You put Noah down for a nap while I feed Juniper." Those imaginary children would seem so fake to me. I would resent them.