‘King Of The Mountain’
As I watched the world around me awaken, I wanted to reveal some of the character of those who threw it into darkness. Their drive, mentality, misery & FEAR. I couldn’t do this without returning to the past for the best lesson to be taught to the ‘people’ of today. Every time I read a headline, the old phrase ‘Misery loves company’ plays its own chorus line over and over again. The following is based on the figure of an ‘Oil Tycoon & Magnate’ whom I once had the pleasure of meeting. In general his character speaks for the life of many within the top 3% today…& those who try to follow in his footsteps. I’ve always thought of him as ‘Sorry’ & that is the name I am bestowing upon him in this article.
It starts out innocently enough…on school yards, empty lots, piles of snow & sand. Then it progresses to back smoke filled rooms, country clubs, board rooms & the halls of our political realms. The game ‘King of the Mountain’ which takes strength, cunning & endurance. The reward is the title, image & power…
‘Sorry’ was like many who pursued the American dream…a desire to excel with a vision to leave something standing for tomorrow & have his name in the history books. What he didn’t realize is that it takes longer for a mountain to be created, then it does for it to crumble. That too he would discover over 30 yrs later.
I was living in Las Vegas, NV in the early 80’s. Many within society would come there to escape life, to let their hair down, to do things they couldn’t do in their own backyard. On the occasion when I met ‘Sorry’ he didn’t come to Las Vegas to escape from life, but to find it once again. I’ve said many times over that those in the capstone cherish what those within life’s base have in their character, while those in life’s base cherish what the elite have in their closets. This philosophy is due to the life’s lessons I was taught for 3 days by ‘Sorry’. His own journey & struggles would have a profound impact on my life, even now almost 30yrs later.
‘Sorry’ was sent to me via a friend of his out of TX, a retired State Sup. Ct. judge that I had on occasion played Texas Hold’em with. The Judge felt that if anyone could help ‘Sorry’ experience life again, I could. Thus began a deep relationship for me with life itself….
I will now let ‘Sorry’ tell you of his life, the way he told it to me. It seems today, many like ‘Sorry’ are destroying what our ancestors left standing for tomorrow. In some respects I can understand why, maybe ‘Sorry’ can also help you to understand ‘why’. There comes a time in life, no matter how many fingers you point in other directions, you will not be able to live with the image in the mirror…..
My name is ‘Sorry’….I’m just a man who hails from Tx, who once had a dream. My dream started in the late 40’s…when I became fascinated with oil. Like many of those before me, I started out as a ‘wildcat’. I drilled my first oil well myself…there is no high in the world money can buy, like the feeling you get seeing your well come in for the first time..’TX Tea’, ‘Black Gold’. I was able to pay off the loan I received from the bank the first month she was in. I was young & celebrated, so did my friends. The well was paying off well, so I wanted to drill again. The celebration didn’t last long…I didn’t feel that high. I ended up as a ‘wildcat’ for the first 6 wells we drilled. I worked right beside my friends I was able to employ & others from my town.
After my 3rd well, I no longer found it economically beneficial to sell my oil to other distributors, so I started my own company. I began purchasing land & lease options to drill from some of the ranchers in my region. On each of these first wells, I was able to invest in half of the cost & sought loans for the rest from bankers & private individuals. I became known for my ‘TX Gold’ instincts & all of the wells I drilled came in.
What I wasn’t prepared for, was the ‘power struggles’. There were those who already made it in the oil industry who didn’t want competition. I learned about the corporate world I entered through the school of hard knocks. I soon found myself with my back against the wall. Competing for land & lease contracts with oil tycoons. I was finding myself investing more of my own assets for the wells…in price wars to distribute the oil I was already pumping.
It was during this time, that I started to lose pieces of myself. I was no longer able to drill & experience the high of bringing in the wells myself. I was too busy protecting what I already had…wheeling & dealing…learning what palms I had to put the most grease in. During this time..I started to lose many close friendships with the working stiffs I had once enjoyed so much. They felt that I was unapproachable now…I became their boss, responsible for their survival.
As a corp. we began drilling well after well…instead of wheeling & dealing with distributors to take our oil, we decided to build our own gas stations. My position & image in TX magnified & intensified. I was making money hand over fist…yet, I didn’t feel the same high. Most individuals in my biz felt a high with a new land purchase, lease or gas station…but not me. My employee base the first 10 yrs grew to hundreds…I was known for being fair. After all, I once had been where they still are.
In the mid 60’s I found myself in the inner circle of TX society & politics…I was down with the ‘Green Machine’. Johnson was in office…my corp. had already began drilling in other states. Ok, WY, MT & CO. By this time I had several thousand employed. But I still couldn’t find that natural high I received from my ‘wildcat’ days. Thus, I thought my money could find it for me. I began investing in stocks, other minerals…I became known as one of life’s sharks.
Here I am 30 yrs later…searching for a high that no amount of money can buy. I’m seen as ‘untouchable’, ‘unapproachable’…I’m responsible now for over 10,000 employees & their families. I don’t particularly like being ‘King of the Mountain’. The things I’ve had to do to get there & stay there. Some of my fellow competitors will smile at you over a drink at the country club, but they’d cut your throat if they could in the rest room.
I’m only involved now with corp. decisions…large land purchases, off-shore oil leases, approvals for advertising campaigns, etc. My position & image demands that I attend certain social functions in TX & other political events. I’m now known as a ‘dark horse’. The first time I was asked to the White House, I was honored, I didn’t feel a high though. In my life, the only time you’re invited to something or someone comes to you, is because they want something. Whether it’s money or help dealing with a situation. They don’t come to you just to share time or life….
So now I’ve come to a point where I find myself in search of ‘life’ itself. I’ve done & seen everything that money could buy…from the Seven Wonders of the World, immoral business practices to political power. Everything I have in my life has been purchased. From my wife & children to my friends & image. I take pills now to go to bed & more to wake up. You may think this is silly…but my greatest fear in life, is that I’ll go broke, lose everything, my family included. That my phone will never ring, because everything & everyone in my life has been purchased.
I’d give anything today if I could be where everyone else is. If I could feel that ‘high’. I’m responsible now for tens of thousands of employees & their families. I feel like I’m walking on egg shells…everything I have is purchased. Now with this recession under Reagan & Bush in the jockey seat…I don’t find myself no longer the ‘shark’ I once was. My best friend has become ‘fear’ itself…my mountain has become too crowded, my dream my worst ‘nightmare’.
I left TX, just told them I was going to do some traveling. They didn’t care for that, not knowing where I was going. But hey, what can they do, I’m the owner. I have 3 days to find life again to give me strength & drive to maintain my own existence. I don’t want to be known for those 3 days for who I am now, but what I once was. I don’t want the glitter or sin this city has to offer…I want to be Joe Schmuck from Timbuktu. I want to see & be around the working class…I want you to show me life again through your eyes.
PS. ‘Sorry’ received his wish for 3 days…he seemed much happier than the man who first appeared. He laughed, spoke & drank with dozens of working stiffs. He removed his 4 piece suit, his Stetson & python boots for jeans & a work shirt.
But several years later his greatest Fear became reality…I’ve wondered about ‘Sorry’ all of these years. If some of his friends from his earlier days ever called. I do know that other ‘dark horsemen’ helped him, not because of who he was, but because of what they owed him in the business & political realms.
I hope now…that ‘Sorry’ is content being where everyone else is.
This is dedicated to the ‘Sorry’ people everywhere & those who become victims of their dreams & life…..
Love & Respect,