Archive for March, 2009

Entitlement

March 31, 2009

People are up in arms over the sense of entitlement in this country these days.

What does that mean?  Entitlement?  Attorneys feel entitled to charge us hundreds of dollars an hour to explain exactly what we are entitled to.  I suppose they have that right.  After all they went to school to learn the language and how to sew it into an abstract tapestry that only law professionals understand.  We outsiders are intimidated by that knowledge and the vagueness of their language.  We only know that law is like art…you get what you pay for.  We can go to the galley and by a Monet, or we can go to the Holiday Inn and buy a piece of crap from the starving artist sale.  Who do you want representing your interests a master, or some guy who works for food?

My ex business partner, Dennis, felt that he was entitled to $30,000.00 in our business account one hour after I terminated him as the manager of our company.  The police were entitled to uphold the law.  However they felt their resources were better spent on criminals who use guns to steal, rather than a tie and pen.  So I was entitled hire someone who is fluent in legalese and represent my position in court.  Dennis was entitled to stall.  The day before our court date he signed papers that released him of his entitlement to ownership in our company.  I waved bye-bye to a bunch of money. All I was trying to do was prove that he took my cash!  Cash I was entitled to!  White collar crime pays.

Now if I were AIG or any of the other mega businesses who squandered millions recently I could recover financially by using tax payer money.  There would be no pain or interest to pay. only the momentary embarrassment of sitting before a congressional committee.  This committee is made up of a bunch of people who speak “the language”.  They have the combination to our safe.  They have permission to invest or spend our money.  They know that we choose to use most of our time following football, eating wings, and buying shiny objects on credit because we are entitled to.  They also know we like magic.  They understand that we are captivated and amazed when David Blaine takes a diamond off a woman’s engagement ring and makes it reappear in the corner of his eye from his tear duct.  They realize that time heals all wounds.   Let’s face it, as a group we have the attention span of a fish.  So they scold the company executive and write him a check.  Then they pull a rabbit out of their hat come election time.  We ooh and ahh and clamor for more.  We can’t be bothered with the notion that our government should be run like a business and that there be ….oh…I don’t know…accountability?  That’s for other people to deal with. 

The problem for the big company execs and others involved in this ordeal comes after the Super Bowl.  There is a dry spell of sports on TV.  We have a little more time to pay attention.  This is how it happens:  Some parent who home schools their kids in Omaha writes a blog questioning where the AIG money is going.  That blog is read by a relative in Ft. Wayne who passes it to a friend in NY and it goes viral.  The next thing you know, the Times is running it as a feature story.  The network news grabs it.  They do an investigative series.  They advertise the series between a Seinfeld rerun and American Idol.  Everyone sees it because…It is American Idol.  Now everyone is pissed….as we are entitled to be.  Until mid April when it’s time to work on our pre tan before the start of Summer Vacation.  Pre tanning prevents burning.  Who in this day and age wants to get burned?

 

 

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Spare Change with a Flat on the Side

March 28, 2009

Last night I was headed downtown on the interstate.  I was going to the UPS hub to ship product for some customers when I hit something the size of a soup can.  It immediately punctured my tire.  There is never a good time to have a flat.  There are better parts of town.  UPS has strategically located this hub, the only hub that stays open until 9 PM, where trafficking goes on 24/7 and I don’t mean freight or cars.  My flat happened right by an exit ramp. Rather than change it on the interstate I opted for the gas station a block from the ramp near the intersection of Crack and Destiny.

The minute my trunk lid went up and I put my hand on the jack it alerted everyone in the area who needed a stimulus package, that I was open for business.  They were specific and relentless with their demands.  The list included beer, wine, a ride, sex, money, rock or any combination of the six.  They repeated it like a chant.  It was like they were each sent over as a training exercise to see which one could wear me down and make the sale.

I pulled up to the gas station because it was the safest place around.  I wanted to be in the light and out of the car traffic.  My other choices were a neighborhood grocery with way more traffic and not enough light.  A BBQ rib place with way too much cholesterol, traffic, and curb parking only, or church parking lot with no traffic and no light.  Apparently God is only available from nine to five in that neighborhood.

I looked around to make sure the coast was clear before I stuck my head under the car to place the jack.  From that point on there was revolving door of propositions aimed at the guy with the jacked up Camry.  A woman was first.  She had done a little shopping at the neighborhood store before offering me her goods.  I’m using the word “goods” liberally.  “See anything you like?”  She said while tilting her head and swiveling her body.  She didn’t have an auto lift, a lug wrench, or AAA service truck.  So I politely declined.  I was polite too.  My car was on a jack.  I had no quick way to escape unless I pulled off some Dukes of Hazzard two wheel exit.  She was followed by three or four guys who hit me up on their way down the side walk.  There was no real sales technique on their part.  If I were to grade their sales pitches they would each get an “F”.  Every time I’d stand to loosen a lug one of them would toss me a line.  By the time I’d mounted the spare, an actual tire and not a doughnut, a guy named Tony sat next to me.   He was way stoned, docile, and relentless.  “You have a flat”?  He asked.  I said he was relentless…not quick.  He repeated the same lines over and over.  “You got a twenty”?  “How about a ten”?  “You got any change”?  “How about driving me to an ATM to get me a twenty”?  Each time I would repeat, “I don’t have any cash.  I was working in my yard before heading down here to UPS.”  “Oh” he’d say.  Then he’d start again.  “How’d you get a blow out”?  “You got a twenty”?  “How about a ten”?  “You got any change”?  “How about driving me to an ATM to get me a twenty”? I would repeat, “I don’t have any cash.  And he would counter with “Did you hit the curb”? “You got a twenty”?  “How about a ten”?  “You got any change”?  “How about driving me to an ATM to get me a twenty”?  “You want some rock”?  “I got some rock.”  I said, “Yeah, you got any Zepplein”?  That stopped him long enough for me to lower the car off the jack.  Then he kicked in again. “Don’t strip those lugs.”  “You’re making dem too tight.”   “You got a twenty”?  “How about a ten”?  “You got any change”?  “How about driving me to an ATM to get me a twenty”?  “You got any rich friends”?  Do they got a twenty”?    I stood up.  Opened the door, grabbed some change and gave it to him.  He looked at me with a real appreciation and said, “Thanks Greg.”   Then I exhaled and left.  Today I have a few skinned knuckles and new appreciation for everything around me.  I wonder what’s up with Tony?  I wonder if he ships with Fed Ex?