Work is for people who don't know how to fish.
I smiled at this, amused at the public declaration of preferences. Although fishing is not one of my own passions, I can easily sympathize with the desire to pursue something other than work.
As I rode on, though, I got thinking about the phrasing of the statement, and wondered if there might be a deeper meaning to the statement on the bumper sticker. It didn't say that work is for people who don't like to fish. It said that work is for people who don't know how to fish. This slight difference in phrasing opens up a different interpretation.
I'm sure most people are familiar with the old adage which states:
Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.*
What if "knowing how to fish", as referenced in the bumper sticker slogan, is a metaphor for something else? Could "knowing how to fish" encompass all of the steps involved with planning, implementing, and realizing an escape from the workplace?
Even if this was unintentional, and I'm reading more into the bumper sticker than I should, I still appreciate the truth behind both statements. First, every time we choose to work, we are choosing to take time away from "fishing" -- all of the other passions that make life worth living. And second, it's possible to eventually escape from the bonds that work holds on us by "knowing how to fish" -- learning other ways of living that reduce the dependency on the regular paycheck -- which should then free up more time for "fishing".
In the case of my wife and me, we're in the process of learning how to fish -- living without any debts, saving a large portion of our income, and investing for the future. I look forward to the day when we can choose to "fish" as often as we want.
*Unless the man is vegetarian, in which case the phrase could be modified along the lines of "Give a man some corn...Teach a man to grow corn..."