A Thousand Marbles

This story is from the current source of most folklore, that being email jokes and stories. Thanks to my friend Julie Rife in Colorado Springs for passing on “The Theory of a Thousand Marbles.” And thanks to the original writer, whoever that may be.

One Saturday I sat down to listen to the morning swap net on my ham radio. While tuning in, came upon an older sounding chap, broadcasting with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. He was telling some unknown listener something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued, so stopped to listen.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well, but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work 60 or 70 hours a week to make ends meet. And it's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital…

"Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a thousand marbles.

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. I know, some live more and some live less, but – on average – folks stick around about 75 years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 years times 52 weeks in a year, and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in a lifetime. Problem is, it took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail, and by that time I had lived through more than 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I live to be 75, I only have about a thousand of them left to enjoy.

“So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up a thousand marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I have focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of that container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

"It was nice to ‘meet’ you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75-year-old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast. Then we need to stop by the toy store – I need to buy some marbles.”

Strong Leaders / Strong Stories

Strong leaders have strong stories, and a solid sense of "self" as a leader.  But too often, even strong women view themselves or are perceived as being very good at "getting things done," but not as valuable strategic resources. What can you do to change this?  Find Out More Here