... you can only get that decent new car and the vacation because the early schmuck was willing to take the risk at 1 cent to help bootstrap the currency.
What risk? Getting into a huge bubble, getting scammed by MyBitcoin, getting MtGox hacked?
No, I think the biggest risk here was the one the later fools took because the infrastructure sucked while the valuation of Bitcoins rose too quickly.
The risk for the early adopters was that all the time they spent writing and testing code, all the money they spent on electricity for CPU-mining, all they time they spent disseminating information, all of that might come to nothing.
I've read the early forum threads from way before I discovered Bitcoin, and I recommend reading them to everyone. It's fascinating! Satoshi and a few others were quietly confident, although they were obviously aware that Bitcoin was a long way from reaching critical mass. But the majority of early forum posters, although highly enthusiastic about the idea, weren't at all sure that calculations performed on one's computer could ever actually become usable as money for real purchases.