Monday, September 12, 2005

Some Friendly Advice

Some Friendly Advice for the Young MBA
Guido ‘The Hammer’ Corleone,
CEO Fortuna Olive Oil Imports, Inc.

Normally, I wouldn’t be the kind of guy who sticks his neck out very far. In the kind of business I deal in, I have found that it’s best for all parties involved to stay out of the limelight. So you could well imagine my reluctance to talk with you about some of my business experiences, and how these could be used to illustrate modern business practices currently employed in a free market economy such as ours. However, since I am after all an honest business man, just doing his best to take care of his family and put food on the table, I began to think that maybe, I could share a thought or two to help the young and ambitious entrepreneur, just out of Harvard Business School with an MBA diploma on the wall and eager to get a piece of the action for himself. That is what we’re talkin’ bout here. Getting a piece of the action.
For starters, it’s always a good idea to have friends. My old man used to tell me that a man could never have too many friends. Particularly, friends in high places. You see, my father, may he rest in peace, used to say “American politicians are the most honest politicians in the world. Once they get bought, they stay bought!” My old man knew that a politician in the pocket was worth more than 10 hardcore button men. Why, you could have all the sharp pencil boys in the IRS and the Pezzo Novanto Justice Department on your back, backed up by a DA out to indict with a sitting grand jury. But if you got a senator and a few congressmen in your pocket, you got a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Why do you think all those executives at big companies like Enron, WorldCom, Halliburton and Exxon Mobil, just to name a few, make out like bandits and are still mostly free as a bird? Campaign contributions can be a great investment.
Now, like I was saying, me, I’m just a legitimate business man trying to make an honest living. But, I always followed my father’s advice, and I’ve profited immensely from it. The olive oil importing business can sometimes be a rough game, but over the years my associates and I have come to an understanding in the running of our affairs. I guess you could call it a ‘trade’ organization, where we have a chance to sit down and discuss new ideas or perhaps even mediate some of our more ‘controversial’ issues. Like the time Joey Mopes had a beef with some of the ‘executives' from the Franchesi Trucking Company. Joey, god bless his soul, was a good guy, but he had a temper like you wouldn’t believe. And when he started goin’ on and on about how he was gonna whack Tony Franchesi for some minor slight, it was only a matter of time till he showed up with a bullet to the back of the brain. Now, that, as my old man would say, is “Business As Usual.”
Yeah, Business As Usual. As in, this is strictly business. Nothing personal. Me, I liked Joey Mopes. I thought he was a great guy. Played cards with him all the time. Even sent flowers to his widow after the funeral. But, he was crazy. He was a madman. He had to be stopped. He was talking about whacking the head of a serious enterprise, and in the process he could have screwed up a very lucrative trade for a number of honest businessmen, just trying to provide for their families.
Which brings me to another important lesson; Muscle. Politicians are good in most instances, but sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do to take care of your business. That’s where a good button man comes in.
Times were, you just looked for a tough kid from the old country, like from out of the hills around Messina. Kid just got off the boat, you gave him a couple of jobs to do, and if he did them OK and kept his mouth shut and followed orders, we’d make him a soldier, you know, a made man. Make him a part of ‘this thing of ours.’
But now, they got this company out there called Blackwater Security. And even though I hate to admit it, these guys have taken the concept of a button man to a completely new level. I mean, I really have to admire these guys. They go out and get a bunch of ex-government secret agent types to run a corporation that hires out button men as needed, all for profit and all completely legit! Now, that is some serious juice! And imagine the cost savings!
Now, when it comes to the type of politician to buy, it always pays to back the one with the least brains. Otherwise, they might get ideas of their own, like actually representing the citizens that elected them or some other kind of ridiculousness. I’ve had the chance to deal with a fair number of cheap political crooks from both sides of the aisle. While I have had the occasion to make the odd campaign contribution to a few Democratic ward healers, the return on investment ratio has not been very good.
Which leads into the last thing I would like to mention. As an honest business man, the last thing I need is onerous government oversight of my business affairs. I want tax relief. I don’t understand why some spotted owl gets to decide if I cut down a forest just because it’s on the endangered species list. I think prayer should be allowed in classrooms (Catholic prayers, that is). We need to clean up our neighborhoods from all this rap music and longhairs and whatnot, and make our towns and our cities safe for decent folk again. And definitely not allow soddomites to get married! Holy Madonna! What sacrilege!
And that’s why I always, always vote Republican. I mean, I might as well. I own a few already.


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