A Lesson From My Youth

When I was thirteen, I built my first treehouse with my own hands. You might think I was a little old to live in a treehouse, and you’d be right. I didn’t live in it. I leased it out to another kid on my block. With the rent money, plus backing I received from a few neighborhood investors who knew a good thing when they saw it, I was able to build a block of treehouses, and transformed the venture into a highly successful investment opportunity. The whole neighborhood got behind me. Morrison Lad Properties was underway.

Then things went haywire. 

I was bought out by a multinational private equity firm, a bunch of tire-sniffing cash jackals who had nothing better to do than exercise corporate greed on an unsuspecting teenager. They evicted every one of my tenants and turned my treehouses into strip clubs.

Now normally, Morrison Lad would have had quite an interest in these new tenants, but I was too blinded with rage to pay them any mind. 

“A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.” – Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon, you may have talked like a dweeb, but you had a fine outlook and a righteous last name.

So I continued to live well, I studied the manly art of rustic sophistication, and by age seventeen, I was well on my transformation from Morrison Lad to Morrison Man.

That’s when, by pure chance, I ran into the CEO from that investment firm that bought me out. 

I was at the Javits Center in New York City, giving one of my first lectures on how to digest broken glass, when during the intermission, I was approached by this posey-smelling platypus in wingtips. He shook my hand and congratulated me on my ability to speak like an old soul. 

I asked him if he remembered me.

Of course he didn’t. I was merely one of many minnows in the rabid shark pool that is the world of treehouse building and development. 

“You bought out my business.”

He said I had to be more specific.

“The treehouses,” I said.

He said I still needed to be more specific.

“Never mind,” I said. “By the way, you got something on your face.” 

And I clocked him.

Not my proudest moment, I’ll admit. But I learned a valuable lesson.

Kids, take note: I don’t recommend you go around punching out investors who buy out your treehouse business. I want you to learn from my experience.

The lesson is this: When you give a lecture series, eat beforehand. I was hungry when I was confronted with my old nemesis. And when I get hungry, I get surly. And when I get surly, two things happen: Women flock to my side, and Rolex-wearing rodents get punched. I learned later on that the former is a natural consequence of being honest and true to your philosophy. The latter messes up your knuckle hair.

I helped the guy up, told him we were square, and then wound up taking him out for lunch. 

Over the meal, he confessed he was already going to ask me to lunch on the basis of my inspirational talk, even before I dealt him that fist pie in the face. 

When the check came, he insisted on paying for it after all. 

Since then, I’ve converted him to an all-natural lifestyle. Today he’s one of my best customers. 

Win-win.


Leave a Reply