Social work amongst the idle rich

I always hoped I’d end up doing social work amongst the idle rich.  – The Mick

I don’t particularly know what this means.

The Mick spends most of his waking hours in the pursuit of money. Six days a week, he wakes up early and goes to the office well before 8:00 a.m. Now, it’s not that The Mick is the hardest working man I have ever known. He seems morally opposed to manual labour, and he has little concern for looking ‘busy’. But the thrill of closing a sale, of making a deal, keeps him going to the office every day. He likes to walk into a room and say good morning to everyone he passes. He likes to chat around the water cooler.  He likes to check his voice mail, even.

His social life revolves around his work. He does not golf, and he hasn’t played tennis in years. He no longer even drinks with any great enthusiasm:

 ‘Lisha, I’ve spilled more than you’ll drink in your whole lifetime. – The Mick

but he likes to accept invitations to lunch by colleagues and acquaintances looking to pick his brain for an hour or two. Sometimes these lunches turn into business for him, and sometimes they help with the businesses of others. He’d be happy to, over some dim sum or a sandwich, tell you how to monetize whatever your current situation may be.

I never wear a watch that's worth more than my wrist. - The Mick
I never wear a watch that’s worth more than my wrist. – The Mick

I find it interesting that a man so focused on the acquiring of wealth is not particularly enticed by its trappings. He doesn’t live in an opulent home, drive a fancy car, or buy expensive clothes. He’s more likely to brag about how little he spent on something as opposed to how much it cost. His favourite finds are cheap dress shirts in discount bins, pre-monogrammed with someone else’s initials. He finds particular delight in spending as much (little) on a shirt as it would cost him to send an old one to the cleaners.

We were speaking, he and I, about what it takes to amass wealth. I suggested that hard work and savings were the way to build a fortune. He was aghast. Hard work, sure, but more importantly, leverage. If I have to hear one more time about how he borrowed from the bank at x% to invest in something that was paying off at y%, well, I might just right a blog about it.

Which way to the Carr?

It’s not that the Mick lives a spartan existence. He travels frequently, eats out constantly, and is a member at almost every gallery he’s ever walked through. It’s just that he gets as much joy out of finding a deal as he does from making a deal. He’s been known to send me gifts with the price tags still attached, just to show off how little something cost (Christmas 2012 – grey silk shawl, $17.00, I’m looking at you).

I often ask him when he plans on retiring. He’s nearing 80 years old. His work environment isn’t what it used to be, and he doesn’t seem to be having as much fun as he once did, but he’s told me that he can’t really imagine retiring. Fine (stubborn old man). What does he want to do NEXT?

“Social work amongst the idle rich” is always his reply.

I don’t even know what that means.


Check my rider.

I’ll admit that as a child I didn’t have a dream job. I never wanted to be a marine biologist, or a baseball player, or a teacher, or a mother, or make-up artist to the stars. The closest that I got to imagining my ideal adult life was when I told the high school year book “reporter” that I hoped to one day be a lounge singer. I briefly imagined myself in a sexy red dress, draped across a piano, drinking a martini and slurring love songs into a microphone. In my mind I was a magical blend of Jessica Rabbit and 1990’s Courtney Love.

               Image result for drunk courtney love

Truthfully, all that all I’ve ever really wanted to be was rich and famous, desired and feared. I wanted to be a celebrity, but in the days before the internet was (airquotes) A Thing. A celebrity, being hounded by the paparazzi, but before Princess Diana was killed in that car crash. All the fame and fortune, but without the hassle.  George Clooney always made it look so easy.  I wanted that.

I want a life where I'd end up poolside in a tuxedo.
I want a life where I’d end up poolside in a tuxedo.

If I were a celebrity, being interviewed on late night tv or making paid appearances at corporate functions or university commencements, or even hawking my wares on late night tv, I would totally be one of those twatty celebrities with an obnoxious rider. I’d nitpick about the small things, because, c’mon, who doesn’t like to be surrounded by their favourite things?

I’d insist upon things like:

1. The fixings for hot toddies: the perfect cure for the sniffles, sore throat, insomnia, or insufferable travel companions. Lemon wedges (not slices), hot water, honey, and whiskey (Crown Royal please) and no less than 6 large ceramic mugs.

2. Plain Ruffles chips

3. Cold beer (funny, I’m not too picky on this front); and

4. Blue peanut m&ms. Only the blue ones!

I haven’t managed fame and fortune yet, and I’m not really hanging my hat on Roller Derby getting me any closer to my goal, but none the less, this weekend Dev and I will be at the mic for the Capital City Derby Dolls home opener.  You can catch me getting drunk in public announcing the Dolly Rogers (game 1) and coaching the Dollinquents (game 2).

So, my derbyIMG_20150514_142412_edit announcing duties / superstardom lead to a text conversation between CCDD’s league president, Delicate Plower, and I, wherein she asked me to plug our sponsors, and I asked her to do all the dirty work and make me a concise list of all the stuff I need to remember on Saturday night. At that exact moment, I came as close to being a demanding star as I may every get.

This doesn’t have much to do with anything.  I’m clearly procrastinating about telling you about my last visit with The Mick.  I promise I’ll get to it in the next few days, but first, we’ve got some bouts to watch!

Oh, and if you’re in Ottawa this weekend, make sure to check out the Dolly Rogers and the Dollinquents as they face off against GTAR’s G-sTARs and Debutants.

I mean, I’ll be there.  What more do you need?

Get yo’ wing wet!

Sometimes people say thing and they stick in my mind like an app running in the background, using all my data.  I’ve had this particular nugget of wisdom lodged in there for a few weeks now. It won’t go away, and it’s courtesy of my good derby friend Wry & Ginger.

“Sometimes you just need to get yo’ wing wet”.

Yes, there was context, but all I can picture is a naked chicken dipping its wing into a pool of hot sauce, like a swimmer trying to figure out if the water is warm enough to take the plunge.

toes wing

The gist of the statement was that even though the usual way is usually awesome (in this case my husband’s preference for his chicken wings to be coated in hot sauce and then baked ‘till crispy to get rid of that disgusting goopy wet feeling), sometimes we just want a change (or a wet wing, as the case may be).

I, like most people, fear change. But sometimes I need it.  We need it. I’m not saying that you should quit your job and leave your spouse to go and train full time with a “power coach” to try to be the person who can hit a golf ball the farthest in the whole wide world, for example [true story, but we’ll save that one for another time], but maybe we can be a little more open to the possibility of trying new things.

Style evolves, preferences shift. 10 year old me would have been horrified at the thought of eating raw fish. Adult me would be sad if sushi weren’t a valid lunchtime option. I mean, if no one every changed, I’d still be sporting a bowl haircut and a pink sweat suit.

So go ahead. Get yo’ wing wet.

FYI: this was written yesterday in contemplation of changing my hair. Being one to practice what I preach, I lightened my hair an entirely noticeable few shades. I swear. See?

It's totally more medium brown and slightly less dark brown.
It’s totally more medium brown and slightly less dark brown.

League of Unwed Mothers

Dolly Rogers, circa 2011.

I was having lunch with The Mick a number of years ago, right after I joined Capital City Derby Dolls as fresh meat. We were having our usual discussions about what we had each been up to in the time since we had last chatted when he turned to me and said “so how is that league of unwed mothers you belong to?”

I choked and sputtered and turned to look at him, my face red hot, ready to chew him out for his ignorance, when he got a glint in his eye and said “what, did I say something funny?”.

As I’m neither unwed, nor a mother, he was clearly just trying to push my buttons. He gets great joy out of making others frazzled, and he clearly values the ability to stay calm under pressure.  It’s the Salesman in him, the businessman, the negotiator.  Never let them see you sweat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. This comment came from the same man who insisted that I have a death wish for taking up roller skating at my advanced age. When I ask him if he would come watch a bout, he responded “Lisha, I don’t want to see you fall. From grace or otherwise”.

It left me thinking about all of the different derby fallacies I’ve encountered so far:

“So, like, do you girls punch each other?”

“Are you all lesbians?”

“Is everyone as big/small/tough/happy/mean as you?”

I’m seeing The Mick this weekend. I wonder what he’s got in store for me this time.