Why I am not an economist.

In the previous post’s comments, someone asked, “Why did you chose teaching high school over a career in economics?”

Well, that’s a story. I actually did dabble in economics a long time ago. I used to work the west coast econ circuit, hustling Marxists and Keynesians for a few hundred bucks here and there. It wasn’t big money, but it was easy money. It paid for hotel rooms, some grub and the bar tabs, which was all I cared about anyways. Then I got too well known and the money dried up. Thought I’d head east where nobody’d heard of me and run the same hustle for a while.

At least, that’s what I told myself. Deep down, I was really gunning for the guy they called the best: Vienna Fats. I found him in St. Louis. Nice guy, sharp dresser. Turns out he’d heard of me and he’d heard I was looking for him. Everyone in the joint gathered around and watched us lecture and diagram for 26 straight hours, and I had that fat man hooked. I had him dead to rights, and I coulda beat him cold, but I got cocky, and in the end he beat me so bad I was ready to quit econ forever.

I stuck around town for a while, living off the thousand bucks my old manager gave me as a parting gift after I bombed. Met a woman in a bus station–she was a lost soul, but she was there when I needed anybody. She got me doing econ again. She made me feel like a winner again. A few weeks later, Fats’ manager–really shady guy named Bert–took me in, said that with a little discipline and a lot of character, he could turn me into the richest economist out there. Richer than Fats. Better than Fats.

Long story short, I lost track of what was important, and the girl died. Bert was there when she died and I blamed him for a long time, but looking back, I think she was doomed anyways. It’s sad, but some folks are like that.

I took another run at Fats and crushed him. Bert wanted a cut of my winnings, but I told him I’d kill him before I gave him another cent. He let me keep my money, but warned me never to walk into another econ hall for the rest of my life. He retired me.

That was a long time ago; it’s dead and buried. I hadn’t even thought about it ’til you asked. Now I just teach. Every so often, along comes some kid who econs good, I mean real good, econs like me and Fats used to, and I think about going back on the road. But that’s just a pipe dream.

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