I was thinking back to when I was in high school. There was only 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Took the bus, although there was a student parking lot. Just walked through the doors, no guards, no metal detectors, no I.D.’s. Hostess baked goods were $.12 and the pies were $.15. School lunch was $.25 and milk was included. We could drink as much soda as we wanted. There were plenty of cliques, none of which I was part of. I did play poker and learn magic tricks. There is nothing in my yearbook about boofing and I cannot remember if I got a couple of girls I had a crush on to sign it. Instead of going to Friday night football games, I went to the arcade and played King Kool and Jack in the Box. My indulgence was a pre-made sub and ice cold Mountain Dew while racking up free games.
I was thinking back to when I was in college. I remember one semester cost $950 and the food in the dorm wasn’t bad so I stayed in the dorms all four years (Wilson and Wonders at MSU). Those were the days of LSD, free-flowing and students tripping. My RA had a good old time, personally, never tried it. Amazing what one little spec of something can do to your body. It was also the time of grass, joints, water bongs, roach clips: All allowed in the dorms, just open the window please. Here indulgence was part of the curriculum. Bean bag chairs, black light posters and lofts were the norm. LP’s were $3.99 and how could anyone pass up Frampton, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Journey, ELO and so many others? I amassed more than 400 and still have most of them. It was also the time Domino’s started and whole pepperoni pizzas at midnight made a nice snack (double cheese please). Dooley’s was the main bar and pitchers were a buck and mixed drinks half that on Friday’s. Oh, legal drinking was 18 back then. I did have a friend, Jeff S. who loved to burp and could actually sing a song burping. Campus showed the first porn movies, “Behind the Green Door” and “Deep Throat.” But back then, the most extreme activity we did was streaking.
Fast forward to today and you have to give Domino’s credit, they are perhaps the most successful pizza chain in the world. Grass is more popular on campus than ever before. Rock and rollers are making more money touring than when they were in their prime. Alas, pinball has faded but let me tell you, is destined for a comeback!
So what about sex back then you may ask? And I may answer back to you, “Well, what about it?” Do you think my stories are any different than your stories? You went to high school to get a diploma, wear a cap & gown, and have a party. You went to college for the same reason. But now, the country and perhaps much of the world is riveted on the events of last week and how they will play out. Will students ever be the same moving forward? Back then we had no phones, no video cameras, heck, a calculator cost more than $100 and did nothing more than basic math. We were naïve. And truth is, weren’t we supposed to be?
If you are still reading this blog, you know I’m a business guy, not a politician, not a lawyer, and certainly not a government employee. When I started TNG, our employee manual was one sheet of paper. Today it is a binder. I get it, there are laws and rules for a reason: That is what makes a democracy work.
My biggest concern right now? Certainly not the FBI investigation and if Kavanaugh makes it to the Supreme Court. It’s the tariffs. Last week half the goods from China were taxed 10% on top of tariffs already in place. Already many vendors have increased their prices by 10%. Companies are scrambling to decide what to do with prices as we are, and yet, the true uncertainty is what happens this January when Trump has threatened to take the entire lot to 10% and even 25% if China retaliates. You have already seen how tariffs have affected the automakers, but like everything else these days, winners and losers are more apparent than ever before.
Bottom line: I can only focus on what I do best. MSU hasn’t won a national championship since 1966 and that drives me crazy but there is nothing I can do about it. When it comes to running a business, focus is more important than ever and while the curve balls keep on coming, you can act like the Detroit Tigers or the Boston Red Sox. Sorry Tigers, you lost 98 games and Boston won 108 games. Winning matters.