In 1987 Donald Trump co-penned a book with journalist Tony Schwartz entitled “The Art of the Deal.” While there is some discrepancy as to how much Trump contributed to the book, it was supposed to be part memoir, part business advice. Being from New York, Trump’s name seemed to be on everything from billboards advertising his commercial projects throughout the city and around the country, to his ownership of a fleet of commercial aircraft called “Trump Shuttle.” So who wouldn’t want to read this book and find some nugget of advice on how to negotiate, as he always seemed to come out on the winning end of the deal. As I learned later in life from people who had transactions with him The Marquees of Queensbury Rules did not apply.
Having majored in Psychology, I’ve always been fascinated by how people interact with each other, and how circumstances can affect the way a person reacts from one situation to the next. Nothing has been a better case study to me than watching how people react during a hurricane or the recent pandemic. With another hurricane threatening to possibly impact our area, I couldn’t help but look back and think, “Haven’t we learned anything?”
Hurricane Charley took all of us by surprise, as many, including myself, were breathing an early sigh of relief as we watched reports that Charley had his eye on making landfall in the Tampa area. When he decided the waters of Charlotte Harbor looked too good to pass up we learned a very hard lesson in disaster preparedness. One would think with a lesson like that, we’d be able to take things a bit more in stride and plan well in advance without the panic buying of gas and water we are currently seeing. And don’t think we haven’t experienced this in the real estate market as well. Why do we jump into this hoarding for ourselves mentality? My thought has been, “Unless we just increased our population two or three-fold, shouldn’t our normal buying practices be able to carry us through without taking more than we need and leaving very little for others?” When the pandemic hit everyone purchased paper towels, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. I thought, “Has everyone become a doctor where shelves were stripped bare of hand sanitizers, masks, and latex gloves?” Nothing was left for doctors and those in poor health. Some physicians I knew said they were forced to limit their interactions with patients since supplies were being bought in excess by the general population. And what about all the toilet paper? I’ve had a bad meal, but I never felt I would run that short that I needed to have the store manager deliver it to my car on a forklift! I guess I look at the big picture and think, somehow we managed to survive these challenges and with a little planning we can take what we need, leave plenty for others, and feel less stressed since this isn’t our first rodeo. My wife then pointed out to me how men and women think completely differently, and I thought, “Perhaps that explains the panic buying.” She pointed out, “Many women worry about the “what if’s,” while men say, “I’ll worry about it when it’s on fire.” I thought she was on to something when the year after Hurricane Charley it looked like we might encounter the effects of another hurricane. Being the cool, calm, and collected husband I think I am, I suggested on the day she was shopping with her friend that they pick up the staple items needed in case we get impacted once again. Upon her return, I asked if she got everything only to have her tell me “Staples was running a sale on back-to-school merchandise and I was able to pick up all of our son’s school supplies.” I looked at her as if we were speaking two different languages and said, “Am I to assume if we get hit by the storm we’ll be eating Crayola crayons?” With a look only a wife could give, she replied, “What are you worried about, nothing’s going to happen?” Weren’t those the same words mentioned on the Titanic’s maiden voyage? I had to wonder if somehow during the night our roles were reversed! My years of preparedness training through Boy Scouts and as a former lifeguard suddenly were being called into question. I’m usually the one keeping things calm and now I feel like I’m riding in the back seat. Perhaps she was right. Maybe even with the little we needed, it will most likely be more than we need, and there will be plenty to go around for others.
I know it is often said, “One of the most difficult things to do in life is to wait when you feel like you need to do so much.” The other thing I’ve learned with each passing year is that “God always provides in one way or another, and we often don’t need as much as we think.” I guess I have to be thankful for a wife who felt there was little need for concern. I just hope I don’t have to hear the smoke detector go off for her to spring into action!
While no major storm or pandemic is anything to be taken lightly, we are sending our best wishes to all of you in the areas that could be impacted for your safety and care during this time. If there is a positive to be taken out of events such as we are possibly facing it is the closeness or bond in our community that seems to be strengthened during these times. Ask for help and know we are all here to help each other.