Grasshopper Soup: Economic Catastrophe? Better Question, Who Cares?
October 1, 2008
Nick Fuller, one of the most colorful characters to ever help shape the rustic, fun-loving character and ambiance of Tahoe City, passed away peacefully in his sleep last weekend shortly after arriving in Hawaii for a long-awaited vacation.
News of Nick’s passing came with a great sadness for many of us on the North Shore. He was a good neighbor and will be greatly missed.
Nick’s impact on Tahoe City goes back a long way.
He was part owner of the Bridgetender next to Fanny Bridge and owner of Tahoe Raft and Gas, one of the most enduring, successful private businesses in Tahoe City.
Nick was a formidable and worthy competitor opposite Mountain Air Sports, the rafting company next door to him.
In spite of their natural rivalry, the two companies never lost sight of how important a good-natured relationship was, and they never missed an opportunity to cooperate in keeping the Truckee River clean and safe.
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The stewardship of the Truckee River shared by both rafting companies is a testimony to their commitment and resourcefulness, and their love for the local environment.
Nick was a very outspoken man, and he enjoyed being so. You could say things to Nick that you wouldn’t say to anyone else without fear of judgment.
You could count on Nick to relate to what you were saying, but if he couldn’t, he was not afraid to share his perspective or at least make you laugh about your own. Nick’s wit and sarcasm truly makes him one of Tahoe’s most memorable and legendary characters.
Losing a fellow human being, even if he was a stranger to you, should feel more profoundly personal than losing a 401K or a pension plan, or even a job or home.
If not, perhaps it is time to take stock of our souls, not the stock market.
As we sit and wonder about the future of our economy and the fate of capitalism itself, no matter how bad things get, remember, we should matter to each other more than just in theory.
Life is about people, not money. It is about appreciating our shared humanity and respecting our diversity. We are stewards of all, not just our immediate families and friends. When the chips are down our very survival will depend on it.
Our interest and concern for each person should take precedence over everything else. It will be the essence of our quality of life during hard and chaotic times. If our economy and social order collapses, taking care of each other is the only thing that can prevent the violence our animal instinct for survival tends to unleash during a crisis.
Is it really any surprise that our economy is going down the tubes, and maybe even taking the world’s economy down with it?
Capitalism is all about money. Once a social system becomes all about money, people, especially labor, are viewed as money. This, of course, is entirely unnatural. Nature never intended for life to be all about money. If it did, money would grow on trees.
But we have created a money tree. We just can’t figure out how to water it and feed it for the benefit of everyone. It’s autumn, and the leaves are dying. Spring is a long way off.
Personally, I don’t care what happens to the economy. I think the whole mess is kind of exciting. I’ve been out target practicing with my Savage over and under, double-barrel rifle that shoots both .22 caliber and 20 gauge shotgun shells. The failure of good old capitalism won’t matter a twit to me when, God forbid, ruthless mobs take to the streets. I’m not going to put up with any nonsense. I promise I won’t let them lay a hand on you. I might let them steal your car, but, I’ll watch out for you.
I’m just telling it like it is, for Nick. May he rest in peace.
” Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.