Let’s F*** Around and Find Out

Rich Levesque
9 min readMar 24, 2023

We know how it’s used, but if we tinker it can be used another way. Speaking of…

“Fuck around and find out!”

Of course it’s a phrase that usually is a response to some asshole getting their well-deserved retribution for being, well, an asshole.

Doesn’t really happen as much as it should, especially to those assholes in power. And in those times it does, it sure doesn’t seem to do much to actually stop them entirely. Trust me, after what seems like a lifetime of getting stomped by assholes in power after I’ve facilitated their “finding out” after “fucking around”.

But, hear me out for a bit. Because I’m pondering. Why can’t it take a different meaning? Let’s play “what if”, which is ultimately going to be the point.

I was chatting with a dear friend the other night and talking about stuff that really lights me up. Of course, being out in nature, exploring new and different places were up there. But there was one big one that consumes quite a bit but it’s about the energy.

It’s something that I’ve had since I was a kid, and it’s also something that quite a lot of us really used to enjoy, certainly as kids. Just being in that space where we just tinker, play around with something just because it seems like it would be fun. If it works, awesome! If it fails, just try something else. Rinse, repeat.

Hopefully, that energy stuck around for you, the readers, as adults. Mine does when I don’t think about it, and especially when I’m doing things that don’t have much pressure attached to them.

You ever play around with…anything, really…and you just add a little of this or that just to see what happens?

What happens if I add a little less salt and maybe toss in a touch of cayenne instead?

What happens if you take those walls that have been green for years…and let’s paint them blue, or even red?

What if I try throwing few sunflower seeds out in the yard with all the grass seed, just to change it up a little?

For me there is just something about the process that’s just fun to explore. It’s what felt so magical as a kid. We got to just play around with different ideas and it was fun. Before that “don’t do that because you’re not supposed to” programming was drilled into our ego defenses.

Do you remember what kind of stuff you may have done? If not, do you remember your parents telling you what you did?

I’m not sure I was even two and someone got a picture of me having gotten into someone’s cigarettes and trying to spark one. I cannot confirm or deny if that made me the inspiration for the Van Halen baby. I also cannot confirm or deny the connection to a certain habit I picked up that lasted for about half my life.

When I was two, for some reason I was sat next to the wall at an Italian restaurant. And given pasta with sauce. Sauce all over my hands. Sauce is pretty much red finger paint you can eat, right? And what you don’t eat would look great on the walls, right? The white wallpapered walls?

At the same age, I also started watching how my parents opened and closed things and learned how to open up my crib, the playpen, and any baby gates. Look, to be fair it was the 70s and they really weren’t that evolved yet, but still, it was a skill. An important skill for a kid who loved to mess with stuff. A terrifying skill for parents trying to keep their small child from premature demise. I imagine it can’t be very fun to walk in a room and your kid has decided Vaporub makes a tingly body paint. Or when your kid tells you that the shampoo is the worst tasting drink he’s ever had. Or when suddenly he looks like he was in the Texas chainsaw Massacre after trying to turn the tub into a swimming pool and his head was no match for the looming faucet.

The restaurant thing was the one that brought the most shame. Even as I was older, it never became funny, it was an embarrassment, I was an embarrassment. We didn’t go inside again until I was in maybe third grade. Even then I never fricking heard the end of it! Another stunted artist.

But it didn’t kill my urge to play around with stuff to see what happened. I just hid it from my mom. Which never really worked because I’m a horrible sneak and liar. I could never be a politician.

Some stuff was messy. For example when I didn’t feel like drinking milk plain, and I experimented with adding different stuff to the milk when we didn’t have syrup. It was deemed Magic Milk. Sometimes it was weird but decent, like the cocoa powder or the cinnamon sugar. Sometimes, textures were a problem, like peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes it was just gross, like when we added Coca-Cola and the milk curdled.

Some stuff was dangerous, like when I kept putting crayons up to the bulb on a desk light because I liked melted wax and I wasn’t allowed to touch burning candles. Seemed like a decent compromise, and the light bulb looked pretty. Well, it did until the light eventually shorted out and I had to explain why it looked like a bargain Picasso.

Some stuff was among the first of many terrible financial decisions. Such as when I first was collecting baseball cards, and I couldn’t understand why the player’s jersey numbers were never on the backs of the cards. So, I solved the problem. OK, THAT one hurt.

I never really grew out of it, I was always fidgeting with shit. Can I make something look better, or different?

Unless my parents were involved to ruin any fun, it was always a win for me. Either I picked up a cool little skill, or I had a fun story to tell.

As I got older, it was contained into more, um, socially acceptable means. In cooking, or when I used to play around with refinishing in my 20s. Hell, my sports art business in my 30s was based on, “if I did this to a baseball, what could it look like? Oh, holy crap, that’s cool!”

See, these were pretty cool!

Although sometimes, it could lead to some boundary issues where I just could not help myself. Like when I would create new reference sheets for phone numbers, protocols. No matter how much easier I made something to use, inevitably someone would bitch about it. Although to be fair, I really could have asked for input, or maybe polled others to see what they would think before I did it.

I still do this, in particular lately, where it’s harder for me to go out and take interesting nature or scenery photos, I’ve been taking some of the ones I’ve collected through the years and playing around with them. With some, it’s about getting the pictures closer to what my eye was seeing. With others, it’s just playing with the filters and seeing what cool stuff comes through. I have no idea what I am doing, and I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about what buttons or dials I’m messing with and what I am doing.

Yet, I’ve had people tell me I should consider putting prints up for sale. My first thought went back to the art business, to assorted careers, to my writing and the movement I’m trying to build. Then I thought of the fun I was having with photo editing. I remembered how my other businesses at one point were fun too, until success became more important. Because you know, survival and stuff, capitalism, etc. When it came to needing others to see your value to survive, and often that not happening, the fun would inevitably die. I don’t want fun to die anymore.

Let’s bring this bird back to the runway, because this wasn’t just a side trip down memory lane. There was a point and it’s connected to the places I started.

I’ll go back to that call I had with my friend, How I lit up when I talked about how much I love to play around and tinker with things. When I do that, it’s not about the expectations, it’s about the fun of playing around with stuff and seeing what happens.

If that’s what brings joy to my being, how can I incorporate that into the things that I am building? How do I focus on tinkering and having fun with that, instead of allowing myself to get in that space of solely judging on results. They can just be a sign I need to tinker some more, and if there’s a struggle, why can’t I just see it as an opportunity to play with the dials and find something that’s more fun for myself, and also more fun and appealing for my audience, subscribers, clients, and community.

It doesn’t always have to be about blowing it up and starting over, or in the case of other, it doesn’t have to mean quitting your job or moving or dumping that partner. Or it could, that’s for you to figure out eventually. But if that’s not a thing right now, why not seek out those little nuggets in the shit where the current experience can bring a little more fun, a little more play a little more tinkering and seeing what happens. Maybe something brings the present back to life. Or maybe it makes it a little more tolerable until it can become time for that bigger change. Either way it’s a win, some happiness and maybe a little peace?

We’re not supposed to just grind under the thumb, be miserable, and then die. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect, but it is supposed to be fun.

With that, I am committing, making my ass accountable to whoever reads this. I will commit to letting this all be a place of play, and I will explore, wonder, allow myself to respond to what I want to and just keep tinkering around like I have been the last couple of days. Just like I wrote about Mother Love Bone two days ago, about the World Baseball Classic yesterday, this today, whatever comes up tomorrow.

I have these talents, these gifts, and not only am I going to do the best I can to use them to create possibility through community as I’ve tried to for years, I’m going to let it go where it goes and not worry about it. Maybe I’m in a different place doing different stuff in 3, 6, 12 months. Okay, let’s go!

Which takes me back to the beginning. Fuck around and find out, where I started. Isn’t that really what I’ve been talking about the whole time if you look at it from just a little different perspective? Instead of the perils of the jerk catching a karma bath, couldn’t that just be the experience of tinkering around, and learning? The wins, the lessons, all of it. It’s not a bad way to live, it makes for a fun journey full of adventures along the way instead of a hellscape full of pressure, expectations, and debacles. It’ll at least feel different.

So yeah, let’s fuck around and find out!

Thanks for reading, if this floats your boat I invite you to check out my Tree of Links for more content and ways to hire or support me and my work.

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Rich Levesque

Writer. Guide. Mentor. Visionary. Voice. Presence. Geeks out over MCU, Star Wars, baseball, and randomness. Question everything except your worth.