GETTING DOWN TO BRASS TACKS, THE VIEW INTO THE ABYSS, STANDING AT THE CROSSROADS – A DAY OF METAPHORS

Today’s post, metaphorically speaking, is being written at the crossroads where I have a wonderful view of the abyss. On paper the task of getting down to the brass tacks is relatively easy but the harsh reality is that I seem to be caught somewhere between a rock and hard place.
Paralysis is not an option as there is the very real possibility that my struts will be kicked from under me at any moment but jumping from the frying pan into the fire wouldn’t solve much of anything. I seem to be at that place where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, at least temporarily.
I am a proponent of playing the hand your dealt but when there is dealing from the bottom of the deck, and the deck is stacked against you, options to even the odds need to be considered. Is it time to sit tight, fold, up the ante, or go play bingo?
No one has ever accused me of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Still, I like to think that I am smart enough to pour pee from a boot if there are directions on the heel. 
Simply put, I am at ground zero when it comes to the Chinese proverb about living in interesting times. For me, times are about as interesting as they will ever be.
The ever increasing popularity of Route 66 is becoming quite the magnet for folks selling all manner of get rich quick schemes in various disguises. More on that in just a minute.  
Last week I developed an interesting pain in the heel that seemed to intensify by the hour. Of course, I am on my feet most all day so I thought that had something to do with it. The good news is that I learned a new medical term – plantar faciitis. 
Now, I have heard of folks that shoot themselves in the foot to alleviate the pain of a migraine headache but I don’t adhere to that school of thought. Still, I have to admit that the pain in the heel didn’t seem as bothersome after I twisted my other foot getting out of a truck, and then latter dropped a trailer on top of it.
Fortunately I had most of the weekend to stay off my feet by occupying myself with the writing of the first chapter for a new book, having breakfast with Bill at Rutherford’s, a new face for an old place on Route 66, watching a movie with my dearest friend, having a quick lunch with John Springs at Mr. D’z, and another round of barbecuing buffalo burgers on the back veranda, which were washed down with Bison Beer, a treat from my son a few weeks ago.
More years ago than I care to count, I was working on the powder crew for an underground mining outfit that turned out to be quite the boondoggle. Well, long story short, with increasing regularity there was a delay in the receipt of paychecks. 
One day the portable toilets were repossessed for lack of payment. As it turned out our paychecks were then a full ten days overdue but just that morning the promise was made that we would be paid to date by Friday and that all financial problems had been resolved. 
I count the loss of the two weeks pay as one of the cheapest lessons ever learned. It is not a lesson that needs to be relearned, I hope. 
Today I kicked off the morning with a visit from Dale Butel, Daniel, and Paul, always a great way to start a day. The rest of the day…
None of this is to say things are that bad but they are truly frustrating. In the grand scheme of things I am rather blessed, after all I have friends from all over the world who take time to stop by and say howdy, I have a tremendous friend to share the adventure with, and with the exception of my current impression of Chester from Gun Smoke (see, I really am that old), the health is holding out in spite of some long, hard miles. 
Even though I have yet to reach the levels of impoverished Miss Hillary who is paid a mere $225,000 for beating her gums, it still amazes me that folks will pay me to tell stories and tell them where to go. I am rather curious to see where this leads in the future. 
As we are on the subject of gum beaters, I need to say a few words about silver tongued, sharp dressed snake oil peddlers. First, I am not referring to politicians but to the sharks who are being drawn to Route 66 resultant of its popularity. 
Caveat emptor. I recently received a call from a friend and Route 66 business owner who had been approached by a company that develops and distributes rack cards. They were told that I had provided the contact information and that I was also endorsing their services. 
Perhaps I am a bit more trusting than is prudent. Still, rest assured I would never provide a company with your personal contact information without approval. 
Before signing on, joining, or jumping on any band wagon ask for references, check the references, and check to be sure that claims of endorsement are true. 
The Route 66 community is unique, has special needs, and is to a large degree an extended family. We watch out for each other. So, if you encounter a snake oil salesman put the word out and help shut them down before someone gets hurt. 
Last but not least, while certain business practices have universal applications, Route 66 does not lend itself well to one size fits all solutions. If the salesman doesn’t have a clue why people choose the Blue Swallow Motel or Motel Safari over a Holiday Inn Express, or why people will travel half way around the world to explore a dusty abandoned roadway baking under a broiling desert sun, do you really think that their offer of providing a beneficial service or product is valid? 
Remember, shyster used car salesman live by a simple creed, the key to success is sincerity and once that can be faked the rest comes easy.          
       
  
  
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