Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Neighborhood Pre Conceptions

It was good to see my boy Roy last night, even though it was a Tuesday and I never stay up past 9:00 PM on Tuesdays, unless, need be. I was wanting to get home to a key lime pie that Janie had waiting and that is why I cut it short. Sorry Roy, see you next time, Wednesdays are good, each Wednesday at the Wolf, 15480 Clayton Road, Ballwin 63011, entertainment nightly, great food, great culture.

Roy and I grew up together. Pretty much right next door to one another, along with his brother John, best man in my wedding, and Martha, the youngest of the Manning family. We grew up in a pretty cool neighborhood in the 70's in Columbia MO, the Shepherd Blvd neighborhood. I can only explain our childhood adequately by saying that the sitcom, that 70's Show on TV, nailed it. All the way down to Fez, who remarkably resembled Pedro Balratrenena, a foreign exchange student living with the Dickhouse twins up the street. I think most of the kids in the neighborhood would agree, and you know who you are.

So when Roy and I met at The Wolf last night it was the usual conversation: The concern towards our aging parents, a discussion of those who have moved on, died etc. Other stuff like, How are the kids...or What ever happened to so and so...or I never understood how that person turn out that way...pretty basic stuff.

But I must say, at (nearly) 50 years old, the standard conversation among old friends has changed a bit for me. Recently I resonate a lot less energy towards being assertive--not as fevered focus of taking over the world through entrepreneurial endeavor. This is what us "boys" have talked about for the past 25 years when getting together, money and the pursuit of it.

It occurred to me, while sitting there swapping stories, that I am burned out and in recovery mode after this recession and tha past 10 years of full throttle madness. Some personal health and balance measures are in order and I have already embarked on the process. Obvious reasons for my switch up; the crazy stupid government with all the tax laws, the need for special services in order to maintain compliance, the lending crisis, the lack of organized regional focus on entrepreneurial advancement...the list is endless.

Now, of course my attitude will change over time, with the right decompression technique. And I am not talking about vacation or self help books. I plan on taking full advantage of a slow down in order to gain a better position in...something.

I had an epiphany not long ago and I just realized it, another one. This time I realized that my thread (my life as it relates to work/play/achievement/happiness) is pretty tightly wound and it is (for people like me) necessary to take time out to unravel things a bit--to loosen things up, or suffer some major bullshit. If intuition is telling me this, I need to go with it. It is pretty hard to ignore when you feel overwhelmed, the loss of optimism and focus, well, it really, really sucks. I have been there a while. And I have been there before.

From an intellectual perspective, I accept the fact that this can be part of a cyclical process of being an entrepreneur, in my case, a promoter of things. Which, if the truth be known, is really all that I am good at; promoting things. I am pretty good at selling anything that needs a compelling story written about it. From there I simply broadcast the message. Food and hospitality was low hanging fruit. Culture is too.

So Roy asked me what I have going on business wise? What I have been doing? What's been making me excited lately? I am sure he expected the usual launch in to: "I'm gonna get ready to..." or a "Soon I'll have..."

I told him about the music and that I have embarked on playing and promoting it for the last couple of years, helping people get their bands together, their music groove together, buying talent for some festivals around town, booking for The Wolf and others under my brand Jimmyleg Presents. I told him how much I enjoyed learning about the culture of the musicians, how they live, how they struggle, how to play, making the breakthroughs on the stage, in front of the audience. I like playing the harp, writing and playing and producing music, having good nights, and better nights performing. I like the sexy guitars and collect them. I enjoy the people, the learning process, the artistic expression that they have that I pursue--that which has nothing to do with the insanity of the war, fought each day between the hours of 6:00 AM and 5:00 PM, my real job.

Roy looked at me and said, and I shit you not, in the same demure of a banker, a parent, a wife, and an in-law, all rolled in to one big fat expert opinion...

"Ralph, you can't make any money doing that".

I am talking High Road folks...


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