Dreams of glory die quick death
Fred, my commercial real estate
agent, was coming by. He said he had some very exciting information for me.
I could hardly wait.
I was in the parking lot when he drove in. I remembered the
same scene from eight years earlier, the glory days, when Fred drove up in
his shiny new aqua-blue Porsche Carrera. He had been pocketing commissions
left and right, including a few from me, and was eager to show off the new
toy his clients had purchased for him.
It was now eight years later, and much had changed. Except, of
course, the car Ė he still has it. And itís still aqua-blue, I think. It
was hard to tell under the dirt and dents.
Poor Fred. The commissions that came so reguluarly in the glory
days have disappeared. Never an easy business, commercial real estate has
become an even bloodier battleground in recent years. Fred and his car have
survived, but barely.
He rattled to a stop and kicked open the door of his Porsche.
Exchanging pleasantries, I escorted him to my office.
"So, whatís this exciting news?" I asked.
"I have a tremendous opportunity for you," Fred said.
"Itís a sizable investment, but itís a once-in-a-lifetime
There was that word again Ė opportunity. Iím a sucker for
it. Carpe diem Ė seize the day. Reach out and take the opportunity
before it passes you by.
I was definitely interested. Just then, a little bird appeared
on my shoulder. Whispering in my ear, it chirped, "Nick, you have no
I reached and swatted it right out the window. I turned back to
Fred. "Give me some details."
I think I shocked him with my level of interest. His eyes
brightened. He sat up a little straighter and brushed some lint off his
He finished reciting the key details of the opportunity, and I
realized this was indeed a chance to fulfill a long-standing ambition. The
bird flew back in the window but was scared back by my threatening look.
"It sounds very interesting," I said. "Let me go take a look
at the location and Iíll get back to you in a couple of days."
I could see Fred was still a little stunned by my exuberance.
Rubbing the nubs on his face where he had missed shaving, he solemnly asked
me if I felt I had the financial wherewithal to put together the deal.
The little bird was back, and it was twice the size. I still
managed to slap it off my shoulder, right in mid-sentence.
"It will be tough," I said. "But if the
opportunity is what you say it is, Iíll find a way."
After Fred left, I sat in my office envisioning the realization
of this opportunity. I could see income pouring in, and I was the toast of
the neighborhood following the tasteful remodeling.
As my excitement grew, I felt a weight on my shoulder again. It
was a pterodactyl. "You big dope," it cawed. "You have no
With much effort, I unhinged its claws and shoved it out the
window. This was no time for introspection.
On my way home that evening, I dropped by the property. It was
everything I had hoped it would be. It was indeed an opportunity that comes
along ever so rarely.
I walked around for quite some time, inspecting, planning,
dreaming. Then I went back to my car, parked across the street, and
fantasized some more.
Eventually, my thoughts turned to financing. I had some ideas,
obviously, and now it was time to explore them. I was having trouble
concentrating, though, because there was an elephant on my shoulder.
As it trumpeted rude comments about my economic condition into
my ear, it was obvious this subconscious behemoth was here to stay. I slowly
began to diffuse the dream, and by morning both the elephant and the
opportunity were history.
"Sorry, Fred," I said when I called with the bad
news, "but I have no money."
He wasnít surprised. In the old days, I might have found the
money, but not anymore. "What about the great opportunity?" he
"As John D. Rockefeller said," I replied, "every
opportunity implies an obligation."
I think I heard Fred whimpering.