I love picking up trash. It’s fun, makes the world a little better, and costs practically nothing to do.
This cheap way of having fun got me thinking. People spend a lot of money on entertainment. Cable television, dining out with friends, bar hopping on a Friday night—these fairly innocuous diversions can blow a giant hole in one’s budget. So for those who would rather cut back on their entertainment budgets and have more money for their Roth IRAs, I’ve decided to explore some cheap entertainment options. But rather than come up with a list of said options, I’ve decided to present three frugal strategies for fun. Lists are cool, but they’re incredibly author-centric. Strategies, on the other hand, are for everyone. That said, here we go.
Combine Things that Have Never Been Combined Before
When I was in high school, a buddy of mine in gym class took a volleyball and started launching it toward a wall-mounted pull-up bar. The distance between the pull-up bar and the gym wall was just wide enough to accept a volleyball. He effectively turned this apparatus into a basketball hoop. But your aim had to be very precise. If you were off by an inch, the volleyball would be rejected by the pull-up bar apparatus.
Intrigued by this rather odd combination, we decided to make a game out of it. Player One would stand ten feet away from the pull-up bar and shoot free throws. If a shot fell through the hoop (the space between the pull-up bar and the gym wall), Player One would score a point. Player Two would stand a foot or so in front of the pull-up bar and look for rebounds. If he jumped in the air, grabbed a rebound, and slam-dunked the volleyball through the hoop, he would score a point. He would also switch positions with Player One and become the shooter. The first player who got to ten points won.
It was a bizarre game, but it was a blast. In fact, it was so much fun, we would even cut class on occasion to play it.
So one way to have some cheap fun is to combine two cheap or free things that seemingly don’t belong together. Years ago, my buddies and I did this with a volleyball and a pull-up bar. Today, I’m doing it with litter and vlogging.
Try to Do Something that Is Way Beyond Your Competency
Several years ago, I came across a gymnastic ring exercise called the muscle-up. The muscle-up is basically a pull-up that transitions into a dip. It’s very hard to do—especially for a 50+ dude who weighed more than 200 lbs at the time.
My goal was to do just one. And I accomplished that mighty feat in April of 2015, more than two years after my quest for the muscle-up had begun.
Now don’t ask me why, but shortly after I did my first muscle-up, I gave myself another goal. I wanted to do ten muscle-ups in a row by April of 2016. It was an insane goal. After all, it took me more than two years just to get one under my belt. And now I was supposed to orchestrate a tenfold increase in my rep count in less than twelve months? Crazy.
So how’d I do? Was I able to do ten muscle-ups in a row by April 2016? No. I failed. But I didn’t fail by much. I got up to nine muscle-ups in a row. And here’s the critical takeaway: the feeling of accomplishment was amazing. By shooting for a goal that was so audacious, I was actually guaranteeing my success. Reasonable failure in this case (five to nine muscle-ups) was an achievement I couldn’t have possibly fathomed two years earlier. I was going to win whether I did ten muscle-ups or not. And winning is a lot of fun.
A few years ago, Mrs. Groovy and I were looking for some artwork to adorn a wall in our den. We visited the usual retailers (Pier 1, World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.), but found nothing that appealed to our aesthetics and our wallet.
So rather than leave our den wall naked, I decided to create some artwork myself. I went to Michael’s and bought a blank canvas, a brush, a stencil, and some paint. Below is my contribution to the art world. Not exactly a Jasper Johns, but it’s aesthetically pleasing (at least to my eyes, anyway) and suits my den wall quite nicely. It was also easy on my wallet and fun to do.
Okay, groovy freedomists, enough of my yakking. There’s three great strategies for having fun on the cheap.
Let’s turn now to this week’s installment of Talking Trash with Mr. Groovy.
Another Installment of Talking Trash
I had a very weird week. It began by reading an article in The Atlantic about a Filipino family that immigrated to the United States in 1964. Nothing unusual about that. But here’s the kicker. This Filipino family immigrated with a slave. That’s right. A slave. In the below excerpt, the author, Alex Tizon, poignantly recounts what life was like for his family’s indentured servant.
“We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding.”
My Family’s Slave is a harrowing tale of cruelty and is not for the faint of heart. But it’s definitely worth your time.
Next up in my week of weirdness came a hulking pervert. I won’t go into the details here. I talk about it in my latest installment of Talking Trash. I’ve also included a video of the hulking pervert at the end of this post. Very disturbing.
Finally, my week of weirdness ended with something even more disturbing than a hulking pervert. Do you know what a romper is? Well, I didn’t. But, now, because of Kickstarter, I do. And I don’t feel good about this newfound knowledge. In fact, I feel demeaned. Again, I won’t go into the details here. Just check out the latest installment of Talking Trash and the RompHIM video below the pervert video. May God have mercy on our souls.
Okay, groovy freedomists. That’s all I got. If you get a chance, let me know what you do for cheap fun. Have a wonderful weekend. Grease for peace.
Very Strange Love Scene from a 70s Television Show
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