Rees' Pieces

Ben Rees

Columnist

Ben Rees

Hobbies

Taking up a hobby isn’t easy. You need to find something you enjoy, which is far harder to do than most would believe. I didn’t wake up one morning knowing I would enjoy writing things to make people laugh; I was simply told enough times that I wasn’t funny and I knew it was my calling. With that emotional nugget on the table, I will politely remind everyone that hobbies aren’t simply frivolous activities. Hobbies require preparation and equipment.

Whether you take up horseback riding, hot air ballooning, archery or card tricks, no skill comes with ease–especially for me. Natural talent is not something I possess in most areas, so if I am going to develop a hobby, it takes serious commitment. Hopefully my failures will be your guiding lights as I recall my past shortcomings for the benefit of my readers.

I wanted to play piano for the longest time, so I finally convinced my dad to buy me an instructional book. I then purchased what all the piano greats had: a marble bust of Mozart. It sat right there above me as I plunked away at “Hot Cross Buns.”

After my piano phase and the release of Chingy’s “Holidae Inn,” I took up rapping. I would put instrumental versions of hit songs on my computer and pretend to be emotionally charged and talented. To go along with this, I, again, purchased what all hip-hop greats had: a marble bust of Dr. Dre. He sat on my desk with his immaculately carved Compton hat while I busted a rhyme.

In eighth grade, I took up fashion. I ditched all my Gap Kids polo shirts for some brand new And1 graphic tees, cargo shorts and Phat Farm shoes. I looked awesome.

Twelfth grade brought along my passion for weight lifting. I drank a nice big protein smoothie (or is it shake?) and headed into the school gym. I was tearing up the elliptical and could have won the gold medal in knee push-ups, but my enthusiasm and spirits were squashed once I saw other kids doing really intense things like weights.

Since college has started, I’ve gotten into investment banking. Due to the recent market climb, I have been pouring money into IRA’s and short-term startup IPO’s. I’m banking on the chances of a network effect influencing the arbitrage pricing theory, and my mom tells me you’re supposed to buy low and sell high. If I’m not mistaken, my financial folio will at least double in value due to the sky-high interest rates and the upcoming fiscal cliff.  That all sounds right, right?

Needless to say, hobbies take time, energy and usually money to develop. Hopefully everyone can learn from my mistakes and understand that unless you have a knack for something or a serious drive, you should probably save your money and not pretend that you’re good at everything. It always ends poorly.

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