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Monday, Sept. 10, 2001
I'm pretty well convinced that the company I work for is entirely too generous.

Free vehicle, free gas, expense account, plenty of time off and a terrific boss.

That said, let me thank the two employees of this state of corporate bliss. Me, and corporate partner / good buddy Stu. We dreamed this thing up on a road trip to Tennesse about 5 years ago and it more or less took on a life of its' own. We elected to take our 40 plus years of combined experience and make it work for someone other than the short sighted and slightly insane boss who was blessed with our employ.

Anyone who is of the opinion that their boss is a pig, that they make less than they are worth, have entirely too much to do and are surrounded by back stabbing idiots who help them not a whit should try self-employment. When you're trying to make it on the strength of your own accomplishments a lot of the pettiness of the working world becomes an afterthought. Try complaining to yourself about the amount of overtime you are working when you're chasing a lucrative payday. I'll guarantee, you'll be the most cooperative employee that you ever had.

That said, one of the things that has made our company popular is the exposure gimmick we used to drum up or encourage potential customers. The all encompassing company party. Started off as a thank-you type of affair for customers and vendors on the anniversary of the start of our company. Hire out a resturant, pick up the dinner and bar tab, have a good time. We did that for four years, it grew to such proportions that at the end of last years gig we had a bill for somewhere north of $4,000.00.

And about 2/3 of that was the bar tab.

This year we did a home grown type of thing. Rented a big cooker, got a pig, plenty of side dishes and beer. Had a barbeque in Stu's backyard. Reduced the bill to about a grand. Better.

The side effects of this gathering of the masses party thing are more subtle. Everytime that the word gets out that Stu and I are doing anything on a social basis there is a whole network of people who are liable to show up. No problem there. We like company. What is less liked is that we are expected to feed / clothe / shelter every christian soul who puts in an appearance. This past weekend was the capper.

We go to NASCAR races. Not a lot, but particularly two, which are held in Richmond. One in the spring and one in the fall. Used to be we'd round up the wives, toss a couple of coolers and a grill in the back of Stu's Suburban and head on up to Richmond. Spend a day relaxing and tailgating in the grassy parking lot. Talk about racing. Shop for souveniers. Go watch the race. That sort of thing. Fun.

Well, it has sort of spiraled out of control. Part of it is our own fault, we have a bunch of good friends who like to hang with us and, like I said, we enjoy their company. They tend to bring their own beer or food, they offer to help with the cooking. To facilitate the tailgating, we started bringing our big box van truck up to the races. You know, like a garage on wheels. Started hauling up stuff you just can't fit into an SUV. Whole picnic table. Commercial sized grilles. Pop up canopy. Big TV to watch football on. And this years entry - a portable toilet, complete with its' own shower curtain.

And good friends tell their friends. And passers-by decide that ours is just the place to spend the day. And so on.

By the end of the day I've started to think that encouraging this sort of freeloader heaven just might not be the best of ideas. The portable toilet is overflowing (and there are regular toilets within a short walk, apparently out of range for the hangers-on). All the liquor and most of the beer is gone. Either Stu or I have been manning the grille cooking our food for the shiftless ones for most of the day. There are drunken people everywhere doing what drunken people do best - having a personality change.

They're having such a good time that they forget there's a race starting. Stu and I pack a cooler and our radios and head on out to watch it (I mean, we paid for the seats - we're going to watch the damn race). The wives stay with the truck to make sure the freeloaders don't take off with it.

And after the race is over, there's not a soul to be found. Which, seeing as how there's nothing left to eat or drink is good. And the wives chased more than one off after heated, drunken and purely nonsensical arguments. But did any one of them offer to help clean up or pack? Nooooooooo.

Time to re-think this whole thing. I believe we'll have to have some buttons printed up. Big orange ones. That say "Freeloader and Proud", or something to that effect. Pin 'em on the bums when they show up. A subtle hint.

They'd probably consider that a cool thing and invite all their friends over to get one.

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