THE FAMILY PASS, BUSINESS 101, AND RETIREMENT (134)

I have written a lot about Coach Bill Miller, former basketball coach at Elon University. Even dared to use his language, which was rough. Here goes again: Elon established a FAMILY PASS issued to allow the holder and family members to all home athletic contests. Coach Miller noticed an older man who brought his grandson to a lot of home games. Miller gave him a pass. It wasn’t long before local feedback revealed the new recipient was badmouthing the coach, team, and school. Coach called “GRANDPA JOHN” in for an office visit. Conversation went like this: Miller: “John, you got that pass I gave you?” John: “Right here” and shows him the cardboard slip. Miller tears the pass into small pieces and hands to John. Miller growls: “That ought to be easier to stick up your ass. Now don’t come by my office again, or to one of my games.” A friend and I once visited a mutual friend who had some bad luck. As we left I told the troubled one something like this: “Well let us know if there is anything we can do to help”. Out of earshot, my accompanying friend said, “…if you really want to help someone, don’t do it that way”. Why? “Because, he is embarrassed. He’ll tell you no, no matter what. If you really are sincere take a generous cash gift and hand it to him. No questions, no restrictions. Walk away. You may lose some money, but more probably you will gain a lifetime friend.” He was so right. I wrote a self-published book in 2007. Wasn’t on a bucket list. My list included trying to learn about computers. Wasn’t long before I realized I’d have to type. Which was abandoned in 1955. The typing has been troublesome, but my 3rd and 4th books are done. Getting better each time (typing anyway). And I learned a little about how tough it is in the business world. When I first arrived at Elon I was used to access to the front offices or administration. Now I was quickly advised , “we don’t give our product away”. That was 1985.  Elon’s discount rate is about 11%. This year I watched as a fine area school had to shut the door. Not surprising was learning their discount rate was about 60%. Bad business. Still I give away books with abandon. The first book did teach me a little. I know who the GREENFLIES (baseball term) are. And I can tell quickly who read the book. Writing a book isn’t easy. I imagine writing a “good” book is even harder. I am 75 years old. Hard bark. Criticism is fine. But don’t bs an old guy. If you want to trash a book, or artwork, or musicians, at least pay the freight. Then you have the right. Some aren’t getting the comps they did in 2007. But please be kind to the young ones. 1. NEVER PASS A LEMONADE STAND. 2. EVER BEEN A WAITER? EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE, ONCE IN THEIR LIVES. BEATING UP ON A DEFENSELESS EMPLOYEE? NOT COOL. 3. TIP THE GOOD ONES GENEROUSLY. 4. SUPPORT ART, CREATIVITY, EFFORT. 5. PAY ANY AUTHOR FOR THE BOOK. HE/SHE HAS MUCH MORE IN IT THAN THE PRICE. 6. BE KINDER 7. TIP THE PAPER DELIVERY PERSON. 8. GARBAGE COLLECTOR. BE NICE TO THOSE GUYS. 9. “BUSINESS MEN THEY DRINK MY WINE, PLOW MEN DIG MY EARTH. NO ONE AMONG THEM KNOWS WHAT ANY OF IT IS WORTH”. 10. YOU ARE GOING TO WANT A “FAMILY PASS”.

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