…Out of the rain of last week.
I’m back to work. Watch me pitch.
As a child growing up in New England I quickly adopted “Yankee entrepreneurship” and I completely embraced “self-reliance,” which required me to not work for others during summer vacation in case I felt an urgent need to go to the beach.
One summer back in the late 1960s, two high school friends and I started the “Right On House Painting Company.” This was a highly independent entrepreneurial effort.
Our advertising amounted to a forceful announcement of the company name followed by the lifting of our right fist to the sky and pledging solemnly: “Right On”!
We were, of course, saluting latex paint.
Because we were under-funded and had to keep the overhead low, we lived in an old barn off of Upper Lambert’s Cove Road, which we rented from a local commercial fisherman who had at least twenty cats and had been drunk all winter.
We struck a deal for $15 a week rent if we would help him remove the long johns he had been wearing all winter.
Despite the bargain rent, he got the better deal.
We cleaned out the barn and divided it into quadrants so each of us had a room and there was a room left for eating, drinking and entertaining.
It was our “green” corporate headquarters.
We had no running water but refused to live without elegance, so we built an outhouse in a birch grove with a white wicker chair with the bottom cut out of it. We were proud to be feeding the birch trees.
We were way ahead of our time.
We bathed nearby in Ice House Pond — pretty much always at night so we didn’t get our bathing suits wet.
To reduce automotive and travel expenses, we generally hitchhiked with a can of paint and a brush in one hand and our thumb extended from the other in order to get to work.
It was also an early form of targeted corporate advertising, since we ended up meeting everybody on Martha’s Vineyard over the summer.
Every ride was a job interview from the passenger’s seat, but it didn’t matter because we were on your way to work anyway.
Our corporate mission statement required that on sunny days we went to the beach. On rainy days, we played poker. On hazy days we painted houses.
We made good money.
When asked about our profit margins we would announce: “Enough is as good as a feast” and drop our eyes and lift our fist to the sky.
My entrepreneurial spirit has never died.
I have avoided being an employee over the last several decades by starting a law firm and retiring to become a poet and here I am selling my book… but man do I have a deal for you!
It’s all about how you look at things.
Don’t look at this book as poetry — everybody hates poetry and a book of sonnets is worse.
But! If you look at it like sort of a Bible written in rhyme and rhythm or maybe just “Easy Go’n Bob’s Book of Random Wisdom,” then why not?
Keep it where you can read just one sonnet at a time uninterrupted. Like the bathroom. Or a wicker chair with a hole in it. I’m not proud.
Consider the sonnet entitled “The Facts of Life,” obviously composed for future generations.
The Facts of Life
I swam, back then, with some father’s daughters,
Back stroking only slightly out of touch,
Out to the raft in the starry waters
And never thought of their fathers all that much.
My child, don’t judge me till you’re fifty-five
But there were midnight visits to “Ice House Pond,”
In my misspent youth, when I was still alive,
Where couples would strip, and swim and then bond.
And my child, this I know for sure is true:
At seventeen we all are born to be free
But ’cause I’m your father and I love you
Please consider this seasoned advice from me:
As you lust for life, avoid the crudity
But don’t miss occasional sponti-nudity.
Get it in softcover or on Kindle I don’t care. Get a copy and after you have read it, give it away. Spread the word. That is all I want.
It’s sometimes a little scary and sometimes a little sad and often about self-reliance, defiance, a second life, and “which way is the beach?”