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Stupid Stuff

Back in June, my life was going well; family, fitness and finances were all doing better than we deserved.

We were in the upper room of our home watching Star Wars II.  We, as in my son Caden (4) and my wife.

Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones – best romance movie of all time.  As I watched Anakin romancing the Queen, I decided to ask my wife a question, “Honey, Anakin has nothing on me, right?”

“Honey, you’re mostly sucky in the romance department.”   Ouch.

How many of you have had a time in your life when things were going well, then you did some stupid thing, such as ask your wife a question?

Today, I am not writing about relationships.  You’ll read about a story from a different time, when I had it all: time, money and success. Then I’ll tell you the stupid stuff I did to ruin the success. You can learn what not to do, from my mistakes.

Although, no one is quite certain whether I am through making the same mistakes.

Let’s start by talking about how great I had it, back when I had time, money and success.

What would you do if you had all the time you needed? I went golfing.

I was bad at golf in high school. I was bad at golf as an adult. You’ll be impressed how low (which is good) your score can go when you golf seven days a week. 

For those of you who don’t golf, let me tell you why men golf.

No wife telling you what to do; no kids being ungrateful; and when you hit a drive 256 yards down the center of the fairway, it’s a spiritual experience.

How about success with money? What would you buy?

I bought a lake home. Then I bought a second lake home, right next door to the first lake home.

If don’t have two lake homes side by side, let me tell why this is a good thing.

When your husband aggravates you, then you can send him next door. Set up one home with no cable, and when the kids need punishment,  you send them to that house.

How does someone with a thought process like mine find success?

Success started on a warm day in June of 1991.  I was trying out for the Madison Water Ski Show Team, next to the Monona Terrace, at Law Park, when a ski boat pulled up.  Out came a young woman, with long tan legs, carrying a swivel ski and a rope.

Standing next to my friend, Rick Sanger I said, “I got to get some of that.”  Try telling that story to your grandkids.

Inspiration to become a better man comes from my wife.  Let’s face it. I need to improve.  Look at the way I think.  She’s got better options!!!

That same night, I met my father-in-law, Eugene “Yogi” Klar.  No less scary than a grizzly with bear cubs.

He gave me 400 square feet of his laundrymat business, two tanning beds and said to leave him alone.

Out of that, I started Madison Tanning Company. Tanning, as in sunshine baby!!! Vitamin D, in moderation, of course.

Over the next few years, I built the business; nothing funny about 12 locations with cash flow.

Even when you’re successful, would you agree diversification in business is smart?  I do.

Which means I did what every smart business man does: I asked my children, “Children, what type of business should your dad open next?”

“Why are you asking us? All we like to do is jump around, act crazy and scream.”  To that I replied, “Yes, people in the super market comment on that.”

From that conversation, I had the idea to rent bouncy houses, jumpy castles, HUGE slip and slides, and we did not make any money: $10,000 gone.  The kids had a new idea: $250,000 on a Build-a-Bear knock-off business called Pawsenclaws.  This story is getting less humorous isn’t it?  IS it possible to have a non-humorous humorous story?

To allow the kids winter bouncing time in Wisconsin, the bank gave us another loan for $500,000.  Hero’s The Party Experience.  More like Hero’s the “no wonder I don’t even like kids other than my own” experience.

Doing the books at the end of that year, I found I had lost one million dollars.  That’s a one followed by six zeros.

I decided to tell my wife the news in January 2008, “Honey, sweetie, remember those businesses the children started?

We went through a year when we lost one million dollars. That’s a one …

She gave me three choices: #1 Curl up in the fetal position and cry.  Have you done that?  #2 Build a Back to the Future DeLorean car and go BACK and make better choices or #3 Tighten my belt, and go clean up the mess.

What would you do?  #3 of course.

Who’s heard of the seveb habits of highly successful people?  These self-help people are not helping.  That’s what got me in this mess.  I made up my success formula.

G A P P F F F. GaPPfFF …………………!!!  That’s Gapp spelled with two P’s and three F’s.

The first letter ‘G’ stands for Growth, as in don’t change.  If you have something that’s working stick with it.

The next letter ‘A’ stands for Attitude., “You can do anything!!!”  Not really.  Stick to what your good at.  That’s the attitude you need to have.

The next ‘P’ stands for People.  If I told you people were on earth to annoy you, would you agree?

Then why do all the self-help people tell you people are the key to your success?  I had people helping: bankers, lawyers and CPA’s are not your friends.

The next letter is ‘P’ which stands for Planning. Bankers, lawyers and CPAs will have you make plans. I had a plan and nowhere in it did it say “lose one million.”  I say use the next letter which is a small ‘f’ standing for flexibility.  Success comes from flexiblilty.

The next ‘F’ is for Focus.  Does anyone have anything funny for focus?  I’ll use it.

The last ‘F’ stands for the Force. I saw that Luke Skywalker had good results with the Force.

The GaPPfFF system of success.  That’s Gapp spelled with two P’s and three F’s.

What letter of GaPPfFF can you use today to avoid stupid tax?


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