While I had a couple great sales this year, all in all it has been pretty bad. There are several reasons I could assign, or blame if you will, for my dwindling bank account, I won't, but the reality is that I just didn't have the focus or drive necessary to excel at my business.
Albuquerque didn't work for me this year. I normally equal Santa Fe receipts at Albuquerque but don't think I made expenses this month and certainly didn't if you count cost of goods. Had a few be-backs that either walked by with other dealer's bags and refused to even make eye contact or evaded me for the rest of the shows all together.
Part of the game, part of the deal. I have won, I have lost, this sort of stuff happens. Luck of the draw.
But when the bad streak continued into Santa Fe at the Whitehawk Show I started sweating. I used to be the king up there and I was pretty much striking out. Had my day in the sun come and gone? Was I now merely yesterday's news?
I brought beautiful material. If I had a dollar for every bloke who said it was like walking into a museum... And that is the problem. You can approach the game by buying dirt cheap and taking advantage of the muggles at the front end or you can do what I have traditionally done - pay a fair price for the best material, with the understanding that somewhere down the line someone would be willing to step up for quality and pay me a little bit more.
Well, that's over.
We antique merchants are serving a bunch of octogenarians who are more interested in talking about hip surgery and soup than expanding their collections at the moment. There were more classic and late classic navajo blankets available than I have ever seen at a show in over twenty years.
Why, you may ask?
Because the aging owner sees the writing on the wall too. He better liquidate now for his family trust because a) the kids want no part of any of it and b) the kids want no part of it.
Now you can bash the millennials all you want and I certainly do but let's look at it from their perspective. Many are dead broke. If you add up the phone bill and the cable bill and the two thousand a month rent and the car payment...They are talking about pop up jobs now, one or two years max. They know fully well that their possibilities for advancement have shrunk due to factors such as globalization. Dave won't hire a programmer from the United States to code for him because it will cost him 150k a year and he can get a PHD from Hungary or Rajahstan to do the same work for 70k.
They don't collect, they live in ikea designed environments with all the warmth of lab rat colonies. They have next to no art, art history, music history or plain old history education in school and most couldn't find Mexico on a map if you spotted them Canada and Guatemala.
So we purveyors of culture, ethnic art and regular art know very well that the clock is ticking. You don't see many people at the shows under 30, and most of us won't hold our breath. We've been through this all before. Putting all my money on tattoo removal.
Still that ain't going to cover this month's bills, which are considerable, and I was waking up during the middle of the night the first two shows having panic attacks about life clutching its bony fingers around my throat and everything closing out on me.
Michael said I should bring a gun to the show and I decided to leave the wheel gun with my wife as revolvers are pretty bulletproof. That left me with the 380 calibre automatic. I confided to Barry at breakfast that in the worst possible bad show scenario I would blow my brains out at Meteor Crater on the way back.
The 380 is a notoriously wussified round. My deputy friend Frank Adams shot a biker in Harbison Canyon with five bullets from this gun and the guy didn't flinch and kept on coming. Barry pointed out that in such an event I wouldn't even be able to beat myself to death with the butt end of this weapon. I saw that this course of action would just leave me horribly disfigured and only able to eat pureed items for the balance of my tenure on earth and finally decided to table the whole thing.
Barry is a funny guy. He was a comedy writer for years, with Phyllis Diller, Rodney and Rickles among others but he doesn't have an attitude. He laughs at my jokes and we laughed for three weeks. People were taking us out and buying us drinks to hear us riff and we tore it up. Next year Morty and Shecky will be appearing at a Holiday Inn near you. Seriously I never knew the benefit of having a guy around me capable of delivering a decent straight line now and then. And vice versa.
We were good. And he liked my new plan for promoting the venerable New Mexico School of the Death. I got ideas of placards and bumper stickers, honk if you like the New Mexico School of the death. No? Guess you would have had to have been there.
And then there was the packrat. Steve has a pet packrat. Big, cute, very cool. But when I turned the car on and I got these strange warnings that my parking brake was on I knew I was in trouble.
I ended up going to Brakemasters for some rodent triage. Steve had some noxious fox urine lying around for just such an occasion. I left the hood opened and pissed a protective occult symbol around the front of my van every night. Problem solved.
John Morris gave me a great deal to do the Indian Show. I couldn't lose. So nice to be back in the fold with my good friend. He likes to take me to dinner because I can talk to practically anybody and provide entertainment if he is beat. Anyway I did his show and I killed. People loved me again, they were throwing money at me, I got word from up above that the curse had been lifted.
Beautiful and just in time.