Shots in the Dark: Chasing the almighty dollarAre you chasing the almighty dollar? I am, not because I want to but because I have to. We all do. It’s nice to eat.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Are you chasing the almighty dollar? I am, not because I want to but because I have to. We all do. It’s nice to eat.
Except that I’ve learned to chase the carrot with a much more mature perspective; no longer like a cheetah on Red bull and I refuse to squander my health, which is my greatest gift next to my son, for anything.
Nevertheless, one Sunday years ago I climbed aboard a last minute flight departing from Los Angeles for Chicago for business, thinking that I’d be back in a couple of days and returned five weeks later after additional stints in New York and Atlanta.
My parking bill at the Los Angeles airport was more than the national debt, national deficit and the average bar tab at Players combined and I thought about just leaving the car there as an even trade until I remembered that it was a company paid tab anyway so why bother.
Of course, I was forced to purchase plenty of undergarments during the trek, having failed to pack for a five-week tour, and my suit cleaning bill was about as much as the bar tab at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions combined.
That was at a time when I visited Manhattan regularly, at least once a month, having had a company-paid apartment on 34th and Lexington, three blocks from the Empire State Building and everything that was happening on Fifth Avenue; home to the Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Trump Towers, the main drag of Manhattan, where there was plenty of work and even more fun.
I was also an American Airlines platinum card holder, which, if I recall correctly, meant you flew at least 300,000 miles per year and they rolled out the red carpet when you arrived, bowed like Geisha girls and offered you an engagement to the flight attendant of your choice.
It was an entertaining time in my life, probably took a few years off of it and eventually led to my getting so burned out on business and sick of traveling that I never wanted to see, visit or go within 20 blocks of an airport or hotel again. Nor did I want to ride in a New York cab driven by someone with glazed eyes from a former Soviet bloc nation who was trying to set land speed records between stop lights.
I’d reached a point in life that James Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and social critic talked about when he said, “The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.”
Of course, it didn’t help that I was raised in North Dakota, a stone’s throw from the Montana and Canadian borders, where, after a downpour, the air smells like a fine wine, every kid I knew owned a horse and the only line you ever stood in was once in a lifetime at the armory in Williston for a polio vaccine.
Life was so much more simple in North Dakota, I knew, and a place that I could eventually escape to once I’d had enough of the rat race, metropolitan mess and tattooed gang bangers who created the baggy t-shirt, backwards cap and jeans hanging off the butt fashion statement that hung on for far too long.
At the time this area may not have guaranteed the best jobs, highest wages or warmest weather but Mondak was hard to beat when it came to peace, solitude, rolling hills, waves of wheat, Badlands, cowboys and Indian history, and women in aprons who invited you in for cake, cookies and hot dish every time you got within a mile of their farm.
Meanwhile, today they announced that 73-year-old Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico is the biggest billionaire in the world, having collected his coins through technology, retailing, finance and communications, as chairman and the chief executive officer of the telecommunications companies Telmex and America Movil.
A nice position to be in but worth nothing if you have to live out of a suitcase and are not in a position to breathe in the sweet smell of a freshly cut hayfield, watch an eagle spin circles in the clouds, lay in tall grass and hear nothing or watch a herd of horses with their manes blowing in the wind.
Because as Byron Pulsifer, a retired Canadian criminologist, strategic planner, and motivational speaker once said, “Happiness is a state of mind, not what’s in your wallet.”