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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Hypnotic Effects of Failure

As a kid, Danny Klecko's granddmother used to beat into his skull....

"Remember, you are a Pollack, so you are not that smart. To get ahead in this world you will have to work like a bull!"

When I repeat this statement today.....you can just see the tears starting to well up in the eyes of Klecko's Girlfriend Nation.

But, grandma was not trying to under value my intelligence. She was just trying to be practical. Often times it is best to look deep into the source. My Grandmother was a 100% Pollack who grew up during the American Depression in the 1930's. Most of her relatives and friends of the family were pure Pollacks as well. If we look back further from there....what was Poland's role in the world back then?

Answer - to serve as a doormat for Russia and Germany to fight on w/o destroying their own countries. Most of its inhabitants served as some form of indentured servants, and many more of them found worse...they became kitchen workers LOL.

The Pollacks in Europe were exactly like the Mexicans in America today. While some small fraction of Americans take credit for their nations culinary triumphs, it all rest on the shoulders of their Hispanic work force.

At 10 years old Danny Klecko hit the streets each morning at 4 a.m. and delivered newspapers, by 12 he was working at Golden Valley Super Valu as a bag boy.
In Junior High, I ended up getting on WE-CEP (the Work Program) and from 9-12th grade I only took mandatory classes and worked for my electives.

So in many ways having a job / career has always been a comfort zone for me. Its OK to be stupid as long as you have a constant paycheck.

10 days before marrying Sue McGleno, the bakery I worked for was shut down by the IRS. It was really cool at the reception when her relatives (many who I had never met) started off by asking me what I did for a living.

"At the moment I'm just watching a lot of television" was my pat response to the dismay of my new bride, but to be honest I just found it easier than hashing through the nightmare of going under on a sinking ship.

Checks weren't clearing, benefits were being taken away, and to make matters worse.....the ownership began renting out our production space to a local Hippie bakery whose bake staff was comprised of these 2 gay warlock dudes, who showed up wearing homemade uniforms that had pink pentagrams sewn on the chest.

Their fearless leader was a chick named "CAT" who was a running junkie, some have suggested that this chick might have been the first person ever to sport a negative body fat count. And she never talked. Her entire range of emotion was communicated with her facial gestures, and her face was kinda squirrel like. Ever pissed off a squirrel? Yikes!

OMG - they would come in too early and my closing guys would fight with them and every single evening had drama that would make Jersey Shore seem tame, but none the less.....I stayed.

Often times when any business concept starts moving backwards, the last people to react are the staff. I wonder if this is driven by ego (not wanting to be a failure) or if it is just too difficult to see the forest through the trees as they say.

This week, one of my girl friends is tossing in the towel from a concept that has splashed really hard, although it has not even been open a year, critics have raved about it, people blog about it, but the couple times I have stopped in....I witnessed a staff of 4 and 5 and a customary base of zero and 2.

That's not enough to pay the bills. Girlfriend shot me a Facebook message describing a new job she took, and while many people will speculate as to how or why she pulled the plug so quick, in my mind I applaud her.

Verily - Verily I say unto you......Everything-Everything-Everything starts at the dollar and you work back from that.

Wasn't it Cracker who said "What the world needs now, is another folk singer, like I need a hole in the head?"

The same can, or should be said about you culinary artists. Just because Amadeus died in a commoners grave for the love of art doesn't mean that bakers and chefs have to.

Just remember, intelligence is good, but clever is better.

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