It troubles me that many young practitioners incur unnecessary debt by buying more than they need to establish their practice. They should begin with the basics and add the bells and whistles as the practice grows. My first office was quite modest and furnished with secondhand equipment. It wasn’t much, but it’s what I could afford, and it served as the foundation for my ultimate success.

I’m reminded of a memorable weekend of boating, fishing, and camping with Dad and my brother during the mid-sixties. We departed Florida’s southwest coast for the Ten Thousand Islands in Dad’s old 16’ plywood fishing boat driven by a used Evinrude 40 horsepower outboard. It wasn’t much, but it’s what we could afford.

One of Dad’s friends joined us for the weekend and proudly ran rings around our boat with his 25’ fiberglass ski boat powered by twin 65 Mercs. I suppose I should have been embarrassed, but instead felt like the luckiest kid on the planet as we embarked on this grand adventure.

By late afternoon, we put away the fishing gear and selected a suitable island for the overnight camp. We pan fried the day’s catch, pitched our bedrolls, told silly stories, and slept under a billion stars. As the sun awakened us the next morning, however, we discovered that the tide had gone out leaving the beautiful new Merc 65’s ruined, buried eighteen inches in the sand. It seems that Dad’s friend had forgotten to raise the outboards before securing his boat for the night.

It was a long, slow tow back to the coast, and took most of the day. Our old forty horsepower Evinrude strained at its burden, and finally quit within sight of the dock. Dad got us the rest of the way with our back-up emergency Johnson five horsepower kicker and a couple of paddles. Amazing!

I remember being so proud of my dad that day. He felt genuinely sorry for his friend and was happy to help get him and his boat safely to shore. It didn’t matter that our boat wasn’t fancy or new. What mattered was that Dad knew what to do and how to do it, and made the most of what he had. So can you.


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“There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.”
~~Frank Lloyd Wright

Dr. Kerr

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