Free Counter
ab scissors

Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

El Salvador: the money center

As I've said before: I live in a small town. I know alot of other people do too, but this town is a little different. The thing that makes this town different, is money. We've got a ton of it here. (I don't, but everyone else seems to.)

Why does this town have so much money? Well, first of all, we have the world headquarters of a major oil company here. Second of all, we have the world headquarters of a major tire manufacturer here.

Those of you who live here, know which town I'm talking about. Shhhh! Don't spoil it for everyone else. Mystery is the essence of seduction.

I'm going to share with you an example of one person, who had an idea that made him phenomonelly wealthy.

This man is a car dealer. He's from a much larger city. He opened up a new car dealership in our small town, near an exclusive subdivision that was in the process of being developed. (Brilliant idea #1).

After his dealership was built, he had the fortune of a major retailer locating next door to him. This retailer draws about 5,000 visitors a day. (Source: our chamber of commerce.) This guy has 5,000 people a day checking out the cars on his lot, by virtue of the fact a major source of traffic located next to him.

OK, not everybody will have this kind of great luck. It's not his luck that's amazing; it's what he does with his luck, that is.

Everybody knows that successful car dealers make good money, but not enough money to wind up on an invitation list of a former president, who's throwing the party at his house, in Kennebunkport, Maine.

How did this car dealer get connections like that? Well, it takes money obviously. This car dealer has so much money, that he bought a mansion on an exclusive island in Florida. To prevent himself from getting lost in his vacation mansion, he had an exact replica built in our small town. It looks totally out of place here, but it's here. (Art deco looks good in Florida, but not in the Midwest.)

So, how did he achieve the super-wealthy status of someone who gets invited to a former president's b-day party?

He follows the news. We constantly hear about all of these huge billion-dollar aid packages to small countries no one really cares about. These are "nation-building" efforts financed through organizations like US AID, the UN, and the Bank of the Americas.

He decided to get in on the action. If the government was going to spend billions rebuilding the country of El Salvador, he wanted in on the action. Why not? We all pay taxes. Is there anything wrong with getting "a little" of it back? Of course not!

This car dealer is a member of the Rotary. He finds out that the current prime minister of El Salvador, and the former prime minister of El Salvador (they're both so popular, they trade jobs just about every election cycle,) are both members of the Rotary.

This dealer, high-tails it down to San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador,) and starts attending the Rotary meetings there. (The Rotary doesn't care where you attend meetings, just so long as you do.)

Anyway, this dealer finds out that all of these government organizations previously mentioned, will start pumping billions of dollars into nation building efforts in El Salvador.

He figures the best way to capitalize on this, is to open a heavy equipment dealership in downtown San Salvador.

Billions start flooding in to repair the county's infrastructure. This is to repair the damage caused by the 100 year-long civil war. Infrastructure requires cement. Since citizens of El Salvador already own the largest cement operation in El Salvador, the next best thing, is to sell the equipment that runs the cement operations. (Brilliant idea #2.)

It's no accident this guy could decide whether or not to turn down Robin Leach's request to film his twin mansions.

In all fairness to this guy, he's the nicest self-made millionaire I've ever worked for. When you live in this town, there are alot of self-made millionaires to work for. Ninety-nine, point nine percent of them are self-absorbed assholes who don't give a damn about anyone but themselves. This guy is different.

Except for the suit he wears everyday, you wouldn't be able to tell he's got enough money to make Kobe Bryant jealous. He talks to the porters on his lot all the time. He knows their names, the names of their kids, and in some cases, the names of their dogs!

He's a die-hard Catholic. At a time when the Catholic Church is in serious financial trouble, he donated enough money to the local diocese, for them to build an awe-inspiring church, from the ground up.

He not only gives back to our community, but he gives back to the nation of El Salvador. He and his wife run a children's charity in San Salvador that caters to the needs of kids who were victimized by the civil war. He's donated brand-new ambulances to the city of San Salvador countless times. The ambulances he donates are all converted from cargo vans to ambulances, by businesses in our small town, to promote economic growth in our community.

Moral of the story: paying attention to current events can pay off!