Be certain to ask me, when you've had enough of this, if
I'd 'like some cheese to go with that whine.'
The Gathering Vultures
After my last little heart-related loss of
consciousness and the resultant tumble down the stairs, I gave explicit
instructions to my staff to keep quiet the fact that I'd not been well. It was
just before Chinese New Year time and such things, culturally, are looked at as
a sign of bad luck.
Someone leaked. The Chinese community in the state
where I live, although rather spread-out, is constantly in communication.
Whether over tea at lunch, on the email at the office, or at dinner parties at
my restaurant, another restaurant, or someone's home, news travels fast. It is
frankly a mystery to me why so many educated, adult men and women engage in
gossip. That, too, is a cultural thing.
Perhaps you're thinking well, everybody gossips from time
to time. Sure. But I must say that the only more gossipy crowd I've
ever met in my life were neither well-educated nor truly adult. (It
appears that noders couldn't care less about gossip; I SEARCHed for the names of
five great gossip columnists to pipelink to for this paragraph and only came up
Two different people came into the restaurant asking what
the selling price for the place would be. One asked my wife this question with
me sitting right there, across from their table (I'd gone back to work.) You can
imagine his shock when I stood up and introduced myself. He hadn't any idea who
I was nor that I was alive and well and working. Suffice it to say he turned
white as a sheet and ran away.
The other one, apparently, had assumed that I'd passed on. For
all he cared my corpse could still be warm and still he's approaching my wife
about things like this. But that's the way it works in my business, and in the matter-of-fact, up-front and honest Chinese culture in general. That's why I like the Chinese so much.
There are still vibes in the air that I'm not healthy enough to
conduct business. However, what these tasteless vultures don't know is that
should I drop dead tomorrow, my wife will do a fine job running the show.
Ignorance is bliss. I love to be blissfully ignorant; even if
I'm just kidding myself. A week ago it sunk in to my thick skull that an
investment I made in a record so I could be called "producer"
was a bad decision. Mid-project, it became two records, and recently three.
The first record got out by Christmas but it resembled my original vision not a
bit. At some point I was busy and I approved the production of a Christmas
Add to this that the album will be sold on the internet and in inspirational-goods
stores with proceeds going to the artist's church.
I saw it coming in the way one would see a large truck coming
quickly down the road after one has slipped down a steep, snowy hill and ended
up on on one's ass, on the ice in the middle of said road. Despite careful
plans, colorful charts and spreadsheets presented to me by the artist and
others, things were not to be as I'd wanted. It's my fault.
I was then put in the very difficult and embarrassing situation
of having to actually answer the question "what percentage of the profit do you
want to take." The last thing I want to do is take a percentage of a recording
that is already top-heavy with expenses and will yield precious little money to
the rightful recipient: the church. So I said no. That was the right thing to
do. I don't wanna be part of a charity of the type that delivers
only a fraction of the gross receipts to those in need.
Well, I did get something. I got my name on the record.
If I wanna see my name on expensive things, I can go to Tiffany's
and have a silver and crystal beverage set engraved.
However, I could've really used the money. The numbers are
completely fouled up with regard to the other two projects (the first of which,
at least, is completed and mastered but should have also been released before
Christmas). In the rare moments when I sit down and take stock of where this
thing is going and am honest with myself, I see no way I'll profit from this venture. In fact, I have little reason to
believe I'll be left with principal investment either. Nothing but a
fully-paid-for master recording. Hell, it's nice to listen to, a sumptuous recording of jazz standards by an accomplished vocalist and superb accompaniment. But to make any
money with it it must be peddled to a label, marketed, etc. The investment
capital, I can kiss goodbye. And I could use that money, too.
The good news is that although the economic climate has put a
big dent in business, we're managing to hold our heads above water. I do miss
the excesses of past years, however. I have found less expensive hobbies which
will be noded in good time.
Love and peace,