Monday, May 24, 2010

Rod Wants to Know What Happened

The wording of his question baffles me:

By the way .... you never did fill me in on the lawn mowing catastrophe. Your blog said something to the effect of your foray into horticultural entrepreneurship provided an unexpected high return .... your head. I guess it is better to have your head handed back to you on a platter than for them to still be playing soccer with it. Still there are lingering thoughts that in the USA, a bright young capitalist with a plan who is willing to put forth the effort can build a strong business. What happened?

Quack, Quack!

I agree that a bright young capitalist with a plan who is willing to put forth the effort can build a strong business in this greedy-ass, fucked-up country; I'm just not sure what this has to do with me? Surely my machine shop professor and post-graduate advisor, mentor, person who represented the interests of the State of Arkansas at my wedding, and Guru to All Things Duck hasn't mistaken me for a capitalist? Or for a bright young person? Perhaps he has misunderstood the nature of my oft-overstated libertarian leanings: Believing I have been endowed by my creator with the inalienable right to climb aboard a 150cc mufflerless Honda with an enormous rear sprocket along with half a dozen other people and two huge bags of marang and then travel very loudly and slowly from Nob Hill down to the bridge and back up to Sonora is a much different thing from believing I have the right to overcharge for mowing labor or even charge for labor that I have not actually performed, which is what capitalism is. I'm no capitalist! I'm not very bright, either, or I would have know that the relationship I thought I had with the one company I mowed for was not a relationship with that company at all but with a particular person at that company and that when that person was suddenly gone, the relationship would be suddenly gone as well.

Heartbreaking, but that's it in a nutshell. Thanks for asking!


Cooper Green said...

I think it's the marang, Dave. Many things are forgivable, but having two huge bags of some kind of corn/moss hybrid ... well, anybody would be suspicious. Hey.

Dave Mows Grass said...

Hey, Coop! Thanks for stopping by day after day hoping against hope that I might have posted something new. My blog mojo left me completely for a while there but it's on the way back. I can feel it! Besides, I ought to be able to blog every day; it's not like I'm busy mowing or anything.

Dave Mows Grass said...

Oh, and I haven't had marang in almost a decade, or jackfruit, for that matter, which is entirely too long!

soubriquet said...

Well Dave, I echo that sentiment, having attempted to run a small business. At outset, I had a good business bank manager, who went over all my figures and projections, and nodded his head.
Year one there were materials and equipment problems, and a bigger than predicted deficit. Year two, climbing back, but, I was hit by a seven and a half ton truck, broadside at fifty miles per hour, which wrecked my van and put me on crutches, and unable to work for a while, year three, doing sweetly, lots of customers, balance sheet headed toward the green in four more months. Recognition in local and national press, Oh yes, it was looking as though all that hard work, late nights, no time off, was finally going to be rewarded.
Bang. My man at the bank, who believed in me, had a heart attack.
His replacement tells me I have two weeks to pay off my overdraft.

He looks at the books, shrugs, says, yes, I see what you're saying, but this branch is over-budget, so I'm shutting down your loan. LOOK! I say, four months! then you're making money out of me!.....

He passes me the file, says. "Two weeks. In full, Goodbye".

Headquarters didn't want to know, said, he's the man on the ground. Tough.
End of business, scrapheap, debt, sell off what I can. Apologise to people I feel I've let down.
Meanwhile of course, our banks were gambling millions on dodgy ventures, writing them off against taxes, and paying their execs vast bonuses.
As were our governments. Why is it the little guy, whose debt is less than the cost of a single banker's company car gets to be made to feel guilty, whilst the men in smart suits spend the bank's money drinking thousand dollar bottles of wine?
As for that marang, is that the same thing as a durian? Tastes great, stinks like sewage?

Dave Mows Grass said...

Yeah, I feel your pain. Fortunately, this was only a part-time gig for me: I still had my day (night) job. That said, I did have a large financial and emotional investment in the business. My whole business model was that I would lowball clean-up of overgrown areas on the apartment properties I mowed with the agreement (verbal) that I would then charge a fair price to regularly maintain those areas rather than let them become overgrown again. It worked for five seasons but ended, well, badly! I won't elaborate.

Hiya Soub! Long time no see, which is entirely my failure.

Anonymous said...

I smoked marang once. You actually managed to operate a lawn mower on that stuff?

Actually, I've never had it. Or jackfruit either. I haven't lived obviously, and am like that guy in the T.S. Eliot poem who asks, "Do I dare eat a peach?"

Hey Dave! Sorry I haven't been here in a while!

UF Mike

Dave Mows Grass said...

Shit, Mike, I haven't been here either! Not all of us can blog at will, you know.

Thanks for stopping by!

bulletholes said...

Best definition of Capitalism i ever seen Davy. You do manage to distill things down to their essence!