As the AFL trade period continues to move along at a glacial pace, I’ve been pondering what other areas of life might be improved by a trade or two.
We’re told that you never really get something for nothing, and the flipside of that is that we don’t like giving up anything for nothing in return.
Which means that sometimes we hang onto things, and especially people, a lot longer than we should.
However, it’s not okay to sell people. That’s slavery. Which is why the AFL has a trade period.
Other sports allow trading almost all year round, and it’s a bizarre concept.
Sporting clubs require an outrageous level of commitment from their players, a team first philosophy and to risk their bodies, with little consideration for their long-term health. Recent studies into NFL footballers and concussions prove that there’s plenty to worry about after retirement.
Strangest of all is that nobody has a problem doing this. For example, North Melbourne acquired Nick Dal Santo in the trade period, and I can’t wait to see him in a Kangaroos jumper.
We lost Luke Delaney, who I thought was terribly underrated, but now that he’s at St Kilda I’ll have no problem cheering against him. I do feel sorry for Luke though, because by leaving the Kangaroos he’s now going to miss out on playing in a triple premiership team.
Imagine there was a trade period for armies. For instance, the Indians wanted a better Navy, however had plenty of ground troops, so did a trade with the Australians involving some ships and sailors. In exchange for our Collins Class submarines, we’d be lucky to get a rusty spear, or a fourth round draft pick, or half a warm beer.
Also on a national level, we could look at some leadership trades. Australia has a robust economy, but a dud leader. While America has the opposite problem. So we get Obama, and they get some economists and maybe a coalmine. They wouldn’t want Abbott, so he’d just be delisted by Australia, and would go into the preseason draft, where he’d be overlooked by everyone. Of course.
What about a trade period for religions? Hindus have plenty of different deities, but lack a strong marking forward, so might do a deal with the Christians, who have a few superstars but lack depth. So the Hindus might trade some minor deities and draft picks for the Archangel Gabriel. Or they could do a deal with the devil, and get Lance Franklin.
My guess is that religious devotees would take to their new players / deities even more readily than football fans. I mean how hard can it be to swap your allegiance from an entity you’ve never met and may not exist, to a slightly different entity?
Then options abound once we consider trades on a personal level. Say your relationship isn’t going well. If there were a partner trading weekend, people could shop around for someone more suitable, and thus avoid the disappointment of online dating, drunken nightclub mistakes and spending anytime alone.
For all those gifts and mementos of a relationship that have value, but you can’t bear to keep or use once it’s over. Well selling them seems a bit harsh, and you never get close to their true value. So there should be a monthly swap meet strictly for unwanted romantic gifts. On a side note, anyone want a barely used Pandora Bracelet? Email me.
We could also have websites for trading unwanted Xmas presents, pets and children. It’s not okay to sell kids, but just say you’ve got four boys and want a girl? Make a trade!
This could be the next big reality television smash hit. There’s already ‘wife swap’ and despite the sexist overtones it was still allowed on tv. So why not ‘child swap’? I imagine if there’s ever a ‘husband swap’, the men will be traded for all sorts of things that aren’t other men.
Emotion swap is one concept that wouldn’t work. It’d just be a whole lot of sad people, waiting for the happy people to show up, while the jealous people are so possessive they wouldn’t even trade that away, and despite all the enthusiastic people in attendance, the lazy people they’re hoping to trade with would never leave the house.
Job-trading week would be a winner. It’d stop people being stuck in jobs that they hate, and avoids all that horrible interviewing rubbish, where employers have to sort through all the long-term unemployable, possibly making some poor choices along the way.
Relationship-swap solves a similar problem, as would house swap, which has the added bonus of avoiding the extortionate fees charged by real estate agents.
Oh and it’d be a rule that everyone involved in a trade would have to agree to it first, just like in the AFL. However that’s not much of a choice, as once you’re told you’re being offered up for trade, there are very few people who’d want to hang around.
One main reason none of this will work, is the same reason so few trades are done in the AFL. People are greedy, and are so intent on holding out for the best possible deal that they miss out entirely.
So at the end of the AFL trade period, there’s always a flurry of deals as clubs settle for the best they’re going to get. Unfortunately, there’s no such trade deadline for jobs and relationships and houses.
Instead, too many of us stick with what we’ve got, too scared to risk it for something better because it might just turn out worse.
What everyone needs to remember is that very few people regret taking a risk and failing, but risks that were never taken haunt people forever. If you’ve improved or at least changed your own situation, who cares if the other person did better out of the trade than you? Don’t dwell on your loss, instead think about their gain. You’ve done something for someone else. Which feels much better than continually doing things only for yourself, and hanging on to something you don’t want only because of its perceived value is a waste.
On a side note, my last girlfriend traded me in for someone with a steady income who could afford a home loan. For an actual home, not just a caravan. Leaving me with a Queensland holiday for two, including theme park tickets. Anyone interested in a trade? I’ll take hard alcohol, a Playstation 3, or someone who’s willing to go with me to the movies to see ‘Gravity’. I’ve heard that it’s ace.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
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