YOUR Most MEMORABLE Experience of ...


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To Find The Meaning of Life
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Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book about Swedish economic solutions. He took the 250-page manuscript to be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in seconds when a worker confused the copier with the shredder.

IT all began ..... in the BEGINNING.

Unquestionably the most difficult thing to report on ... is one's own Hard Times. For me, the pleasure of that is that no matter how bad the hard times are personally, it immediately becomes a GREAT DEAL LESS than the Hard Times about which I've read, or heard, or seen, in the lives of so many others.

It seems there is no moment when one cannot think of someone worse off than they ... handling it with dignity and resolve. This week .... next ???

Hard Times, by the way, don't seem to get nearly the number of hits, nor generate the number of quality responses, that other INTERACTIVE PAGES get.

Like so many other topics that I'm not an expert on, this is definitely one. It always seems to me that when going through Hard Times, it would be nice to get some kind of warm and loving response from ones fellows. For me that seldom seems to be the reaction. It could be that people are so pre-occupied with their own "problems" that creating a space for the problems of others only suggests to them, increasing their own, and that seldom if ever is what most people deliberately choose to do. In my case, it also seems one becomes much easier to attack. Kick em while their down type thing ??? Course I admit I am sensitive to Criticism!

Rather than attempt to "pontificate" on this phenomenon ... let me merely report on my own latest occurrence of Hard Times.

It has long been a phenomenon in my life that Christmas might bring about some of the most "unChristmas like behavior from others," and be the timetable for Hard Times.


  • Oh sure, when I was a kid, I asked for a train, and got a desk. Who hasn't had that experience?
  • Later in life, at the age of about 30, my best friend of 22 years, and manager at Dale Carnegie Courses, fired me 7 days before Christmas. As near as I know, it was for making a suggestion in a brainstorming session, that could have been a solution to a problem that plagued that organization for years. With tears in HIS EYES, he said, I was going to ruin his sales force. There were only two other people on that "sales force" ... and one of 'em was a "rookie." The other was more than capable of "not being ruined" and suffered from the same problem for which I had "recommended" a solution.
  • Two years later, the management of a major casino in Lake Tahoe, California, accepted my proposal for a television show that would cost approximately $100,000 per month. This was, for me, an incredible achievement, because I, nor anyone else, had ever proposed such a venture. The casino closed on Christmas Day.
  • I married my son Jon's mother that same Christmas Day.
  • In July of 1986 I became the Sales Manager of a Toyota Dealer in Napa, California. I discovered later that same owner had hired and fired 20 Sales Managers in 3 years, so I cautiously commuted from Sonoma Co. to Napa for nearly 6 months. In that time, the sales performance of that dealership went from 53rd out of 56 in the region, to 7th in the region. The kind of work I had done, and the kind of manager I was, was the subject of a great deal of appreciation from almost everyone who worked there. I was even so confident that I had at last created a warm and positive place for myself, that I moved to Napa on December 15th of that year. On the very day that I had negotiated another very profitable transaction for the dealership, I was fired and driven home. That day was December 24th .... 9 days later.
  • Two years ago, I helped the young fellow who introduced me to the computer business, open his own retail store. On Thanksgiving of that year, I watched as this young fellow held his hands toward the sky and described his "new store" as a miracle. I sold 35 computers in that store that December ... and in January the young fellow refused to pay me. A Sonoma County Small Claims Court even upheld the notion that in order to recover it would be necessary for Robert Kennedy, the salesperson, to show the court the records, not only of the sales, but also the costs of sales, or the Court could not determine the amount of the damages.
  • Last year, while undergoing the constant "pressure" of having to do with just ones daily bread, and not knowing for sure where the next needed funds would come from, a generous motorist in a parking lot near home, backed into the door of my Ford Escort. We call it the dent that paid the rent.
  • This year, the Christmas Season has been truly "spectacular." I mean that in all seriousness.

    The Second Year of Christmas in July, I found truly magnificent. The number of responses from Worldwide Visitors, the sharing of pleasant thoughts and excellent new references to a number of magnificent new and improved places on the World Wide Web. It is, once again, with great pleasure, that I hear and now lobby for these sites, and these places, and these peoples continue the celebration for which Christmas was created.

    SoCoOL has begun to sell Yo-Yo's, and thanks to one particularly customer had been able to sell a large quantity of yo-yo's. This I considered truly remarkable in the sense that I had certainly not set out to create a Web Site that sold yo-yo's. It was not even in my imagination, when I began, that I would be doing that, with such joy, and doggone it, it could almost make it possible for "us" to "break even." Almost.

    Especially when we got an order for 4,000 yo-yos to be delivered just shortly before Christmas.

    That particular order could basically take care of December, and create no panic for the early part of January ... and who knows ... maybe we could get another order just like it !!!!

    Well, somethin' Christmasy happened to SoCoOL Bob again this Christmas. That order fell through, despite words I shall never forget when the payment was delayed. " Put your mind at ease." I tell ya' I did, and whappp .... doggoneit ... another crazy Christmas. The order fell through.

    Unfortunately, simulataneous to this event ... SoCoOL Bob had been negotiating to move from his current home/office residence ... and that money was needed to negotiate the next residence. Without it ... SoCoOL Bob and Jon essentially became HOMELESS. Yes, it's true ... HOMELESS on Christmas in December.

    O.K. So we negotiated a part of our own situation ourself ... this is true ... and ... it isn't like we're HOPELESS ... that's a different kind of HARD TIMES. But ... it is true ... that at least for the time being we've moved all our stuff into storage ... located the SoCoOL computer, and ourselves, with a close friend, and are not exactly sure where our next $$$buck$$$ is coming from, nor where our next home/office will be located.

    Ongoing SAGA .... we've located a potential next spot .... and are in contact with a couple of potential new sponsors ... makes it a lot easier to write about HARD TIMES ... but still ..... HARD TIMES ain't NO FUN.

    So, maybe you'd like to report on HARD TIMES ... YOURS ... or maybe you're the Good Samaritan who is blessed with pure resources and an ability to give ... if nothing else ... GOOD ADVICE. Somewhere it says we can learn from each other's experiences ???

    Oh ... by the way ... if you could get a kick out of the Bizarre ... take a look at SoCoOL Bob's first act of homelessness. It's true !!! I wouldn't make it up !!!

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