Thursday, November 13, 2008

Please Buy Something...

Before I get started with the long awaited 'Childhood Memories' post I must share that as I sit here in my hotel room I am for some reason stuck on channel 18 which is a mesmerizing leased access channel currently showing Morris Moore Automotives inventory. The guy is literally going to every single car and talking all about it -- one line that he cannot seem to stop saying is 'Yes it does have power locks, windows, cruise, tilt, and CD player...' -- its a bit exhausting, I'm turning it off. I couldn't tell you why I've watched it as long as I have, but whats done is done.

Moving right along -- kids are so uniquely innocent and faithful in so many ways. When I was a child I remember thinking that nothing was impossible. Anything I wanted to happen I could make happen if I worked hard enough. I guess to some degree I still think and believe that way, the difference I've finally learned to think big. As a child I was forever coming up with get 'rich' quick schemes, and it all started with what Amy likes to call 'The Pet Rock.'

My father was working on a contract on Mt. St. Helens in western Washington when I was about nine or ten years old. I remember going with him on the weekends and while he was working (they were tunneling under a part of the mountain to restore necessary drainage) I would go on these crazy hikes of about three or four miles on the face of the mountain looking for rocks. I'm not sure what motivated me, but I would collect as many rocks as I could fit in my back pack and take them home with me.

I would clean these rocks, rate them, sort them, and put them in different boxes based on their visual appeal. One day completely out of the blue I decided to go down to the highway I grew up near and set up shop selling these rocks, 'Surely somebody will buy them' I thought to myself.

Would you believe it was like setting up an ATM machine. Car after car would stop, sometimes I would have two or three stop at once and buy rocks like they were going out of style. Naturally my rocks were ridiculously under priced, as I remember after about four hours or so of selling I would have finally earned enough money to go to the local mini-mart to get some delicious chicken strips. That was it, a simple business plan -- elementary execution, a little faith, and whala, the Pet Rock is born.

After about a year of this my inventory was dwindling and what remained was disposed of, much to my disappointment (that's another post in its entirety). So I found other odds and ends to earn a few bucks here and there (usually complements of one of my grandparents), then a visit to my Aunt Lori one summer. There I learned about the wonderful art of ColorPoint. Okay so Colorpoint was a cleverly marketed version of puffy paint where a pattern is ironed on a T-Shirt and the dots are filled in with various colored dobs of paint. I remember helping her with one of her projects, saving up lawn mowing money and one day buying an entire ColorPoint kit just for me.

You have to know that I was the king of sales as a lad -- I would attack any school fundraiser so ferociously that I was frequently a top seller, and had even established my own little route, where people saw me coming from miles around and either hid and locked the doors, or came out to welcome me -- check book in hand. So I practiced on a few shirts to get the hang of it, then I set out on my route ColorPoint book in hand to sell hand designed T-Shirts to people. (I honestly cannot believe I am telling this story, I'm so embarrassed for me right now) -- anyway, it wasn't the hit I thought it would be, but I did sell a few (again grossly under priced considering the time, effort, and expense of this venture.) The best though was this nice lady who would order anything I was pushing -- she ordered a shirt with a cat design on it. The most intricate thing, it took me two weeks to pump this baby out. As I was nearing the end of the project I accidental dropped one of the paint bottles on shirt where there were little dots of wet paint that had just been applied.

The result was sheer horror, these little dots of goo turned into a smeared mess that I was just sure had ruined my little labor. Thinking I couldn't possibly make things worse I rushed to the bathroom and tried to wash out the wet paint from this white shirt. I worked and worked, but really to no avail. The result was a reddish blue smudge right in the middle of the cat's leg that measured about 2X3 inches). Knowing that starting over would certainly result in a loss I somehow rationalized that she was paying so little for the shirt that a smudge was really no big deal, and pressed on. I finished the shirt and delivered it folded in such a way as to not show off the error in crafting. I remember purposely saying, "Oh yeah and there is this one spot, over here, I think you should be able to get that out in the washer, I just didn't want to wash your new shirt." She TOTALLY bought in, like 'Oh yes, that's no problem.'

The story gets even funnier when I showed up on her doorstep a few months later selling magazines or something for school and finding her wearing the cat shirt, spot and all, proudly for all to see. I quickly abandoned my short lived love for ColorPoint, but the memories live on.

This is only the begining -- I was forever the adventurous one, always coming up with some new scheme, idea, or plan to get what I wanted -- more to come.

Have a good weekend, and look forward to pictures from our trip to Mexico early next week.


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