Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life:Found - It All Started Here

On July 20, 1985, Mel Fisher was sitting in his office in Key West, Fla. He was probably contemplating a tuna sandwich for lunch while he poured over charts of the waters around the Florida Keys.

The radio crackled.

“Unit 1, this is Unit 11.”

Fisher picked up the other end, expecting another ho-hum status report.
“Put away the charts,” the voice on the other end said. “We have found the Mother Lode.”

The voice on the other end was Mel Fisher’s son, Kane. The “Mother Lode” was the bulk of the treasure from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha. It had been lost at sea, along with its sister ship, since 1622.

The find ended 15 years of searching for the lost treasure, but it was only like a day to Mel Fisher. The find brought home gold and silver, precious jewels, even 350-year-old seeds, which later sprouted. All told, the treasure was worth more than $400 million, the largest find of its kind since King Tut’s tomb was discovered in the 1930s.

Mel Fisher found his treasure. He became a legend.

A couple of years ago, my life was sort of turned upside down. After nearly a decade of dead-end jobs came to a close, it was time to re-evaluate my life.

For those of you who might not be able to figure out, I grew up with a strange sense of humor. I was always the kid making my relatives and friends laugh.

I really discovered my “talent” — for lack of a better term — when I was in fourth grade.
My friends and I were putting on a fake wrestling show in one of the classrooms — this event was sanctioned by the teacher for reasons I don’t now remember. During the show, I really hammed it up. I guess I was good at fake wrestling because every Saturday night for as long as I can remember, I sat in front of the television watching wrestling live from the Sportatorium in Dallas. I learned from the great Von Erichs how to wrestle with the best of them. I faked it pretty good that day and the whole class broke out in side-splitting laughter (at least the way I remember it).

Something got in my blood that day. I realized that I could, with very little effort, make a whole bunch of people around me happy for at least a moment by making them laugh. I couldn’t get enough.

My teachers, unfortunately, got quite enough. Especially Mrs. Blount, my seventh grade reading teacher. I’m probably the only student in her career who received a U-minus-minus in citizenship on my report card.

The zaniness continued into high school, where I was voted Class Cut-up and Mostly
Likely to Succeed all in the same year.


When I left college and got my first real job, I continued to be the class clown. But now, instead of being encouraged by my peers, I was getting shut down by my superiors.

“You have to learn to control that,” they would tell me on a fairly regular basis. “You have to know when to be serious.”

I believed them.

Then 2006 came along. I was replaced at a job that I sort of enjoyed doing. I was able to play and have fun and laugh and make money at the same time. It was great. For a while.
When the end came, I was bitter, sad, angry and didn’t much feel like laughing. The bitterness and anger probably went on for about a year.

But it wasn’t long before I had enough. I need a change. Everything in my life was going really well, but I needed an attitude adjustment.

I gave myself one.

As I sat in a Wal-Mart parking lot, I decided to change and go back to my childhood. I decided to have fun again. I decided to make people laugh. I decided to laugh myself.
It wasn’t right to “learn” when to be serious and not be serious. There is a time for everything, sure, but most of the time, I am geared to have a good time.

It changed my life.

As I read the story of Mel Fisher and how he searched for years for a treasure that he knew was out there, it reminded me of my own life and how I had searched for nearly 10 years for my life, which I knew was out there.

I finally found it. The changes brought about have been significant. I choose happiness. I look for the good in most situations. I make better decisions when it comes to my health (I discovered that red wine is better for you than beer).

I have life:found.

Like Mel Fisher, who sat up a museum in Key West for people to walk through and see the treasures he found lying at the bottom of the ocean, I want to share some of the things I learned.

But I have something else in common with Mel Fisher. If he were still alive, he could draw you a map to the treasure he found. But it wouldn’t do you much good, because his treasure has already been discovered. You would need a new map to a different treasure, your treasure.

I’m unable to provide you the same map I used to find my new life (or my old life:found), but at least I can show you the map and maybe it will spark something in some of you.

So, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some things I’ve learned over the past few years. I might even update my blog a little bit more with stories, ideas, tips, success stories, etc. Check back right here at

One of Mel Fisher’s favorite sayings was, “Today is the day.” Each day he believed that would be the day he would find his treasure.

So, now I will echo the words of Fisher and tell you, “Today is the day.” You life is out there somewhere, waiting to be found by only you.

Now, I have some old-school wrestling to watch on my VCR. I’m trying to perfect the Iron Claw.

To read more of Rodney Hays’ humor, check out his blog at him on Twitter and become a friend on Facebook.

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