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Here Lies the Man Who Played It Safe

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming today. We’re here to mourn our friend, the Man Who Played It Safe His Whole Life. Many of you knew him by his nickname, Easy Does It.

Easy had a peaceful, uneventful life. Nothing terribly interesting happened. He was never thrilled, terrified, exuberant, or overjoyed. He avoided situations that would produce these extreme emotions, and always chose the road most traveled.

No one could accuse Easy of being overzealous. He rarely argued, and no one could recall him ever having a passionate debate. Whatever closely-held beliefs he had, he held them close. “After all,” he’d say, “There are two sides to every story.”

Easy was prudent and cautious, always saving his pennies and never overspending. He was a man of habit and custom, one who knew what he liked and had no need of trying new things. Better safe than sorry was his favorite phrase, with Don’t rock the boat a close second.

One day, disaster struck in Easy’s life. In the neighborhood where he lived for more than thirty years, the trash pickup service came by every Wednesday, but on Tuesday night he was watching a new TV series and forgot to put out his bin. For the whole rest of the week, he had to keep his trash in the garage—a great inconvenience.

He swore he would never let such a catastrophe strike again. From that day forward, the trash was always set out at the proper time, averting any further disasters. Meanwhile, Easy swore off binge-watching and held fast to only watching one episode at a time.

When Easy’s days on earth came to an end, he looked back on the highlights. There was the brochure for a faraway place he’d never visited. There was his teenage crush, who went to the dance with someone else because he was too afraid to ask. There was the time he’d stood in line at the roller coaster, before backing out at the last minute.

At that point, perhaps he wondered. What had it all been for? Maybe I should have taken more risks. But of course, we’ll never know. Easy left no clues about what he was thinking. And of course, there are two sides to every story.

Friends, we have a lot to learn from Easy. If we follow his example, we too can have a life free from the burden of ambition. We can spend our days being prudent and responsible, perfectly fulfilling the expectations of others.

As you continue with your life, I hope you’ll be reminded of the model that Easy left for us: nothing ventured, nothing gained.