A Cut Below the Rest
An uncle of mine has spent the last fifteen years since he retired tracing our family tree. Thanks to meticulous research, he has been able to find our relatives as far back as the early seventeen hundreds, which is quite impressive. Much to his disappointment, no legitimate (or illegitimate for that matter) claims to a royal or noble bloodline could be found; nor a hidden fortune waiting to be claimed by its heirs. He has confirmed that nobody has lived up to our name and history remains unblemished by any Daring achievements. Our family motto should be ‘semper mediocris’ or ‘always average’ and I consider myself the current proud custodian of this tradition.
That doesn’t mean to say none of my antecedents are worthy of note; far from it and several heroic failures shows we at least have tried. I find some more amusing than others and offer one William Arthur Daring for your consideration. He worked on the English country estate of one Lord Oveur d’Wreste in the middle eighteen hundreds. Known as Wad to his friends (thanks to his initials), he was renowned as never buying anyone a drink or spending his money and became one of the first ever-recorded tightwads. Employed as a gardener, he was tasked with ensuring the various gates and entrances to his Lordship’s land were kept neat and tidy and was the first Daring entry-pruner.
Alas, I have none of the characteristics of an entrepreneur. They tend to be great innovators and look at things in a different way and see opportunities most of us might miss. Now we all have good ideas but where entrepreneurs differ from the rest of us mortals is in being able to translate all these ideas into something meaningful. The belief, single-mindedness, sense of purpose, vision, determination and luck necessary to do this are missing from my kit bag. I remember when I was about fifteen, a friend came up with a solution to a perennial bath-time problem; floating soap. Enthused with the possibilities, we used our allowance to buy fifty bars to determine the ideal soap-to-air ratio to make them lie on the surface of the water. Several days of experimentation proved we needed no soap and one-hundred percent air and the idea sank; literally.
Mrs. D is the complete opposite of me and has been described as a serial-entrepreneur (not by me I hasten to add; I have plenty of other names for her). Since our time here she has opened – and closed – quite a few businesses including a cafe that became a restaurant, a hair-dressing salon, custom made jewellery and a gay bar complete with shower show. I can tell you that the last one puts a completely different perspective on the term ‘opening night’.
However, my favourite was a shop that sold what I can only describe as ‘advanced underwear’ and associated accessories. The customers included holiday makers looking for something special, lady-boys and girls from the bars…but not many locals. The most surprising purchasers were ladies wearing full burkas who would buy all manner of exotic items. Which just goes to show one can never tell what goes on under the hood.
Alas, it was probably a little too advanced for its time and started to lose money in the low season. She decided to close it and sold the stock at knock down prices, although I managed to nick one piece before she did – a chain-mail bikini. This piece had always puzzled me as it weighed over five kilograms and was impractical for swimming (unless scuba diving). It left nothing to the imagination and also represented a significant pinch-hazard for pubic hair and any other protruding and sensitive body parts. Looked sexy though and I tried to persuade Mrs. D to wear it to a party once; perhaps not surprisingly, she refused. I didn’t answer the “are you trying to make me look like a cheap hooker?” question quickly enough and it was eventually thrown out.
She is now working on another business plan with a level of enthusiasm I find humbling. This one might be a winner and keep me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed. So I must play the supportive husband and do as she asks to help her. Which in this case means staying out of it because she wants it to be a success. A sensitive soul might be quite hurt by that, but luckily, that’s another characteristic I don’t have.
So instead, I shall simply take a concept from my forebear and think about setting up a Brazilian waxing business. After all, I can be an entry-pruner too can’t I?