I can't sing. I was kicked out of the Glee Club for 2 years in a row in 7th and 8th grades and also in the 4th grade. As evidenced by American Idol, we would all like to think of ourselves as the next great singer. There were always two things I was jealous about when it comes to singers. First is they can sing. That may be obvious. The second one was they spent a life promoting, THEIR own name.
Now what made the 2nd one more important as I was out there in my 20's and always promoting a company name in lieu of my own name. I was never satisfied with that and I knew I could not just blend in with hundreds of others in those days. So I carried a Stick Pony name 'Sampson.' Want to read that one again? It's true,
Matter of fact, I used to call on the world's largest furniture stores with Sampson in hand. I would be waiting in the room where they put the reps waiting to see the buyers. Many of these guys were the top in the field. The best of the best and the owners of the factories. They may forget them, they NEVER forgot me. That was my way of elbowing my way into a club I should not be in and do it 30 years ahead of schedule.
I had Sampson at my side. I was 21 in an industry where most were in their 50's and later. Some would see the humor, some would think I was insane, but they all had to think when they met me.
I was not done there. I had 'Ribeye' with me. Ribeye was an attache case that was sold at a place in Dallas called 'Cutter Bills' which was like the #1 Cowboy store in the world. They later got busted for drug smuggling and went bye bye, but that is another story.
I could not afford 'Ribeye'. This is before PETA became a force so in those days there was not the outrage of furs and such so please spare me the grief. 'Ribeye' was/is made of 'Unborn Calfskin'. They make cowboy boots out of lizard, ostrich, alligator, crocodiles, elephant, just to mention a few. But this 'furry' briefcase was 'Calf skin' with 24k gold plated combination locks which was cutting edge back then. From there I would pull out all my wares and pictures.
Nobody ever forgot Sampson or Ribeye and BOTH are pictured below by iphone yesterday. I was what they called a 'Drugstore Cowboy.' I drove up to a store. They did not know me from Adam. 20 other guys called on them that day and hundreds more would call on them before my next trip. They may not buy from me the first time, maybe not even the second time. They all bought on the third call. ALL!
The price of the briefcase was insane in those days. $2000 or $2500 back in 1975 or 1976 and in today's dollars, I would say about $10,000. But I used it as a tool. I was broke. Really broke. I lived on credit cards. I had cash flow so I lived well but I could not save anything. It was called 'Spinning your wheels.' But at least I was spinning them in comfort. As long as I could earn $$$ at least I could live good day to day in an economy that was MUCH worse than the one today.
I had to drive a nice car for any of those store owners to take me seriously. I was 22 or 23, looked like I was 16 and was competing with guys that had families and they let them know that. I had no home as I lived on the road. But I needed certain 'Props' to change my destiny. To make my name as important as the company name. I became known throughout the industry. They all knew I had physically been in more furniture stores in the USA than anyone alive by the time I was 25. I knew every credit worthy furniture store owner in every corner of the country. Large and small. But I still could not sing and that meant I had to sell or else it would come crashing down.
Why did I do this? Something Bob Hayde said to me when I was 19. 'DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.'
Picture Taken in spring 1977 in West Texas with My Girlfriend back then on back of my 1977 Cadillac. If you look closely thru the back window, you will see all our clothes hanging in the back and what you can't see is all my worldly possessions in the trunk. There is even a story about that rest stop.
There is a story that goes with buying that Cadillac. I bought it in New Orleans. I will save it for my next post. In the meantime you can fill in some of the details here with my Hotel Key collection.
Have a GREAT Day!