Balance: Who Needs It?

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


I saw Neil Young this Thursday. I watched him play Cinnamon Girl, probably for only about the ten thousandth time in his life, and I couldn’t stop looking at his face, clear as ever up on the giant screen. It was absolutely intense, absolutely determinedly pounding away on every note, completely and entirely into that moment. How does he do that? Every single note, every song, every city, every tour. He’s sixty-three, for crying out loud.

Two years ago, he came through with Crosby, Stills and Nash. As immensely gifted as those three are, they more or less stood around like stooges for a couple of hours, while Neil carried the entire show. He obviously ditched them for this tour, and I was wondering what Stephen and Graham and David might have been doing Thursday night. Watching TV?

A week earlier, I was privileged to be able to give a 50 year employment Service Award to an EllisDon Superintendent named Ron Munro. Ron started with ED in ‘58, when Eisenhower was the US President, as a carpenter apprentice, and has probably put up over billion dollars in every kind of construction. Talented, dedicated, humble, he is also very determined: About five years ago, at 63 years old, Ron broke his ankle on a very challenging job. He refused medical attention on the site, went to the hospital that evening, came back with a cast on his foot the next day, and didn’t miss a single moment of work.

That, for me, is why these discussions about ‘work/life balance’ are completely bogus. They presume not just that work cannot be entirely enriching, but that it is in fact bad, and must be balanced off with good stuff which is in fact, your life. What a bunch of hogwash.

Who do you think is happier right now? Ron Munro? Or David Crosby?