My son-in-law suffers terribly from acridophobia. Mitch, 32, is a senior manager for an international finance company. Together Mitch and I have nailed, sawn, drilled, bolted, dug, and dumped many things…. and we have also completed some renovation work on his, and my eldest daughter Madeline’s, home. Mitch is a great guy, and we are close.
When I first discovered Mitch was afraid of grasshoppers I thought he was joking. He saw one clinging on to a branch right beside him and froze. I picked up the grasshopper between my thumb and index finger so I could taunt him with it. I quickly realised that Mitch was genuinely paralysed with fear. The blood drained from his face, and he looked ready to pass out. We were both in shock.
Some weeks later I took a photo of a grasshopper crouching on my car. When I showed Mitch the picture, he started to shake. He has a big fear of these springy little guys, perhaps spawned from some traumatic event earlier in his life. (edit: since this text was originally written, a deep hypnotherapy session around the BBQ one night revealed no such traumatic event, but he does have a thing for short loin lamb chops)
I was interested in hearing Martin (see my post ‘the problem with text reading apps‘) talk about some students having a fear of accounting in the introduction to our textbook for this subject. Some students have gone as far as to leave an introductory accounting unit, such as ACCT11059, until the end of their degree because of a fear of failing the subject. Martin says nothing at all, though, about students having an extreme fear of accountants, the trained professionals, rather than the subject itself.
Just as Mitch starts to shake at the mere sight of a grasshopper so do I at the sight of a building adorned with a big shiny KPMG logo. I can’t even bear to watch the Nine Network anymore for fear of seeing an advertisement for their new program ‘In Conversation with Alex Malley‘ (do I need to remind you that this is the man who wrote a book advocating nudity in the boardroom?).
Now I must say, Martin is very antitypical of the accountants I have known and that is a good thing, especially given my affliction with numcrunophobia. I doubt I could have undertaken an accounting subject if it wasn’t for first seeing Martin in his video introduction from Yeppoon. Here I was sitting in my dull Brisbane office being projected into Martin’s beautiful waterfront unit with views of the harbour. This bloke seems alright I thought; nice unit; cares about his students learning; nice unit; what a nice guy; nice unit (edit: the place he lives in, not the man himself)… soon I could imagine myself driving up to Yeppoon every weekend, staying with Martin so he and I could go fishing together. I wondered if he had a boat and if it was big enough for us to get to the outside of Keppel Island where the big fish are.
The accountants I have known would not own a boat so they could go fishing. They would have produced some spreadsheet showing the annual cost of boat ownership (depreciation, registration, insurance, maintenance, storage fees, etc – about $6,500 in my case) divided by the number of fishing days (typically 20 a year for me – equals $325 per trip), add fuel and bait costs for each trip (typically $120 so that’s now $445 per trip), divided by the number of fish caught (my average is 5), equals the cost per fish ($89 in my case). None of these calculations takes the towing vehicle cost into consideration, the time it takes to go fishing and clean up afterwards or most importantly, the size of the fish.
So I guess a typical accountant (but never Martin) would say you can buy the same fish from a seafood shop for a quarter of the price. This may be true, but I don’t care about the rational argument because as far as I’m concerned, it is worth every cent. Sitting out on the water and looking back to shore gives me a different perspective on life. Watching whales breach nearby, throwing pilchards to dolphins right behind the boat (they love them), travelling to little islands not accessible by car, jumping off and having a swim, bonding with my shipmates, and the challenge of fishing itself are all reasons why it means more to me than a simple cost per fish calculation.
Is that what this is all about?… accountants do not like the cost of my decisions. This could be true, just as I may not like the cost of their decisions. I touched on this in my Assignment 1 – Step 1 submission. You can read it here.
This next post may interest you.