Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Killing Floor, by Lee ChildIt's amazing how money is relative. When I was growing up, my Dad served as Treasurer for a volunteer organization. When they held an art auction, he was responsible for all of the funds. I remember him coming back late that night with more cash than I'd ever seen in my life. My brother and I helped him count it. I think it was twenty-two or twenty-three thousand in cash. What surprised me at the time was it really wasn't that bulky. An enormous amount of cash -- in small bills -- could be held in a shoebox.

My Dad had a reputation for honesty that went beyond normal. I assume that's why he had the job. When I was growing up, he was an up-and-coming manager with a large apparel firm. He used to take me into work with him on Saturdays and I'd help him out, pulling swatches to send to the New York office, stuff like that.

Anyhow, I would also work on my baseball magazines and comic books. I used to create my own version of "Baseball Digest" (concentrating heavily on the Reds, since they were the hometown team despite being 150 miles away). And I would also write, illustrate and letter my own comic books: primarily a rip-off of Marvel's Sergeant Fury and Howling Commandos and DC's Sergeant Rock. It was named, uhm, "Sergeant Rage".

Anyhow, I would come in on Saturday with my material ready to be published. And I wanted to use the company's Xerox machine. My Dad had no problem with it. But, scrupulous as he was, he wrote down the number of copies I made so that he could report it and reimburse the company. He even wrote it in the copier log to ensure he didn't forget. Now, that's an honest man.

Years later, he became President of the company and I don't think he needed to worry about logging each copy he made. But he probably did anyway. That's just the way he is.

Back to the relative nature of money: when FASTech closed on its first round of venture money, Jim and Hans sat with the board and the investment bankers, signed all of the thousands of pages of agreements (I was very much a minority shareholder compared to them), and were handed in return a check for $970,000.

Jim said that he was very excited... after all, who wouldn't be with a check for a million bucks in their hands? He ran to the bank to deposit it. Waited in line for a teller. Waited in line a little longer. Finally, walked up to the teller with a grin, expecting a nice reaction. Hell, it's a million-dollar check, we should get at least a smile and a veiled glance from the teller. He made the deposit, watching for a reaction. *Stamp*... clicking on the deposit keys... *Stamp*... not a word, not a bit of reaction from the teller. He gets handed a deposit slip. Have a nice day.

Lesson learned: in Boston's financial district, apparently, a million dollar check ain't diddly squat. It just goes to show you... it's all relative.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shit, I spent that much on hookers just last year alone. I agree with the teller, one mil ain't nothin.