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Friday, June 29th, 2018
Notes from the Apocalypse

Who Ya Gonna Call?

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”
- Wilson Mizner

It’s not a bad idea to be nice to people whether you are on your way up, down, or sideways. But if, like most of us, you aren’t capable of being nice to everybody, you might want a cheat sheet as a reminder of who is most important to your success, happiness, and even survival.

We’re hardwired to respect people in certain professions. Doctors, lawyers, financial experts, successful business people, elected politicians, and highly educated, upper class individuals tend to get most people’s respect.

But no one in that group is likely to be much help when your emergency calls for a plumber, electrician, diesel mechanic, or an HVAC technician.

Electricity is fairly important in the restaurant business. We were fortunate to have Frank Helton, a supervisor at Gulf Power, around Harbor Docks for 25 years. He kept his boat there. Boy, those were the days. Since Frank passed on, we’ve developed a very close relationship with George Hromadka.

On summer nights when the entire sewage lines would be backed up at Harbor Docks, we didn’t call a team of lawyers or doctors. We called Wayne Cassidy at Panhandle Plumbing.

After the first day of a three-day fishing tournament, when we broke a shaft on the Hey Baby, there wasn’t much sense in calling a congressman or bank president. But Two Tony’s Marine was waiting at the dock when we idled back in the harbor.

No ice, no air conditioning, and it is a balmy 90 degrees on a Friday night in July? It’s hard to imagine any insurance executives being much help. But Pro Tec would show up to get everything up and running.

I’ve been in the restaurant business for years, and dishwashers, porters, and busboys have been more valuable than wealthy developers.

We have needed a lawyer from time to time (we now have a great one on retainer), but day in and day out, the guys who clean fish in our seafood market are far more valuable.

Financial advisors are only necessary if you are fortunate enough to have finances to manage. The only way I’ve ever gathered dollars to invest has been through the hard work of line cooks, servers and bartenders.

On a day off—piddling around on your boat with your family in a remote area of the bay, with a thunderstorm approaching, and your outboard motor dies… You aren’t likely to get much help from your oncologist. Who would you rather call—Matt Gaetz or Bruce Ming?

In the restaurant world, there are so many things that can break and so many different, unexpected catastrophes that can arise. It can be devastatingly mind numbing. Like many in Destin already know, when a problem appears out of nowhere, and no one knows how to deal with it, it certainly helps to be on good terms with Mike Buckingham.