Why is the price of fun today — if you’re a novice and just trying to become an amateur — is at least a thousand dollars in upfront costs if you want to do it right?

If you want to take up golf — and do it right — you’re going to pay around a thousand dollars for clubs and clothes and access to a golf course and lessons and on and on and on…

If you want to start playing the guitar — and do it right — you’re going to spend over a thousand dollars buying an amp, guitar, stomp pedals, cables, strings, tutoring and on and on and on…

Even taking up running — and doing it right — is going to cost you a thousand dollars in buying several pairs of the right shoes, monitoring equipment, clothes, entrance fees, training and on and on and on…

Why does fun have such a high entrance fee?

Sure, you can go the cheap route and borrow, buy used and, perhaps, even steal your way into the inner circle — but if you want to start from your own scratch — most useful hobbies have a high water mark of a thousand dollars to join the club in the right way.


  1. I don’t think that it has to have a high price. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing books from the library – but you can spend a thousand dollars on an autographed first edition copy of the same book.
    I think it all comes down to choice. You could buy a thousand dollar pair of running shoes but when you are just starting out, a fifty dollar pair will get you out and on the road just as well. 🙂

  2. Gordon —
    I’m not sure if a library book is a proper analogy for starting a serious amateur hobby — there are certain things you need to purchase in order to practice and work and perhaps even become a pro one day. Sure, you can borrow or buy used, but in my experience, that puts you behind at the start more than helping you get ahead.

  3. I hear you, David. I think, though, that if we are talking strictly for the purpose of having fun per se, the super expensive stuff isn’t necessarily needed. Definitely helps when you want to go pro 🙂

  4. Hi Gordon!
    Yes, I tried to make the condition of novice and amateur part of my argument — you’d only spend that sort of money if you were making a serious entry into a new hobby or pastime as a long-term investment.
    Magicians spend the most money. Second are the coin collectors.

  5. My father used to spend a lot of money on stamp collecting. 🙂 I spent way too much money as a Threadless addict. (They sell shirts for a limited time and print new ones every week)

  6. Gordon —
    Yes! That’s it. Stamp collecting is incredibly expensive if you really want to play in a sustainable way.
    What do you do with your Threadless shirts? Keep them all? How much money do you think you’ve spent so far on that addiction?

  7. At one point I had over 100 Threadless shirts. I have sold a few at a higher price. I have certainly spent at least $1,000 on Threadless shirts if not more.
    I actually wear them less often now than before. Interestingly enough I am wearing a shirt now because I saw the weather was going to be nice for once 🙂 (Enough of the downpours!)
    For the most part, it’s all about wearing them for different occasions or to bed. 🙂

  8. I actually am! I prefer to wear dress shirts but the office is sufficiently casual that it’s okay to do so. I’m actually more concerned about having the t-shirt on when I pray in the morning – seems a bit too casual for communicating with G-d. (Except for Casual Sunday of course :P)

  9. Gordon —
    That’s good you have a job that welcomes your Threadless! How do you handle praying in the morning? Do you carry a replacement shirt with you?

  10. Not at all. I just usually wear a dress shirt and on mornings like this when it’s just unbearably hot, I just wear a t-shirt and occasionally endure a teasing from my coreligionists. 🙂 I’m pretty sure G-d doesn’t want me to be that uncomfortable before work.

  11. I think you’re right that God doesn’t care what shirt your wearing, Gordon.
    What about your head? I know it is required by God to be covered, but is there any difference between a Yarmulke with the NY Yankees logo embroidered on it and a NY Yankees baseball cap?

  12. The difference is more of a practical difference.
    Since we men wear tefillin in the morning and it goes both on one arm and the head, it is easier to put it on the head if you have on the Yankees yarmulke.
    When you have a baseball cap on (I have prayed at airports with baseball caps on) I have to briefly remove the cap while I put the head tefillin on. The cap sits a little more awkwardly on the tefillin than the yarmulke which fits neatly inside the strap, as it were.

  13. Excellent, Gordon, thanks!
    That image you provide is fascinating. Why is the positioning of the tefillin so important? Too far forward, no good; too far back, no good.

  14. It’s like anything else.
    The Torah mandates that we put our head tefillin as a sign between our eyes and the law that was passed down from Moses to us all the way through Sandy Koufax prescribes what that means. If you put an egg too far to one side of a frying pan it doesn’t cook nearly as well as if you put it in the right spot where it is evenly heated. (Anyone want an egg now?)
    Think of tennis. If you hold the racket too high, you miss the ball. Too low, also no good. You have to hold it just right and hit the ball just right to win. Something like that 🙂

  15. It’s, so to speak, the law. I guess it’s more like driving in between the lines, or not smoking in a hospital 🙂

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