Thursday, September 25, 2008

The God Realm (way off the reservation)

In the Buddhist cosmology, godhood is a temporary state. You're this resplendent being, with amazing clothes of beautiful silk. You look down from the heavens upon the lower life forms in their various wretched realms of existence. Tsk Tsk. Poor bastards. You are as high as you can go in the mundane univese. Then one day, sniff sniff, you notice something strange. You stink! You've got body odor, plain old BO. Not even fragrant god-like odor. And what's that! There's a thread loose on your golden tunic, spun over a millennium by sacred silk worms massaged daily by magic monkeys. It's just the beginning; or more accurately just another day on the wheel of life. Eventually you'll fall from your lofty height and enter into some other form of existence, something lesser, that might just give you the opportunity to escape the cycle. Your chances are slim.

There's a kind of god realm for a new store too. In the beginning, everything is shiny and new and you've got nowhere to go but up. Sales increase in dramatic fashion, day after day, even year after year. Everyone comments on how clean everything is. Then you notice the BO. The fixtures start to wear. The carpet looks dirty. Your store shirts are getting threadbare. Your sales stay flat and then decline a bit. And.... your point of sale machine begins to conk out. The key to business is to keep yourself in the cycle. In your own personal gamers god realm. You need to make enough money not just to pay yourself and the bills (in that order), but enough to perpetuate your business. This is where most stores fail. Their chances were slim to begin with but add having to do things over and most people say to the hell realm with it. That's where we're at now, and the finances creak mightily with the expense of just continuing business.

My own personal god realm is also beginning to smell. I bought a new car when I started the store because I knew a used car would be too unreliable and financially unstable. This month hit me both with expensive maintenance and this morning, an out-of-warranty batter replacement. The Mazda is a great drive, but it's beginning to smell too.

Perhaps this is when you know you're truly doing the thing. It feels a bit like you're a gentleman farmer when you first start. Yeah, you're planting things in the dirt, but you're not really a farmer until you owe the bank a staggering amount of money and the callouses tell a story of your labor.

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