Samir could just not figure it out. The old man had come over from the Old Country in the early 1950′s and started a new business in a new land. Father George was from the old school. A lot of business was conducted in the roisterous climate of the Lebanese Club, the dancing cedars which resembled more a joy room from Georgian England than a gentleman’s club of the late twentieth century. But they were devout in a redemption through sin sort of way. No. Samir was perplexed. He was good kid who studied hard and kept his nose clean, managing to get accepted to Wharton and finishing near the top of his graduating class.
George had asked him to study his business from soup to nuts prior to assuming a management role. Samir interviewed salesmen, analyzed the warehouse, pored over documents and papers in the office, checked inventory, ran figures through various software programs and the more he looked the more anxious he became. Nothing was normal and conventional and functional as he had learned in school. Nothing was understandable. The business model was assumed to have no fixed shape. stuff disappeared then magically found a way home in a new section. Orders seem to materialize out of the mists, accounts disappeared only to resurface in different divisions. Unusual commissions were paid to what appeared to be phantom vendors and salespeople. A mess. A 100% seat of the pants style answering to no rhyme or reason. A pied piper that would lead government inspectors straight to the house of Hansel and Gretel.
“Dad” he began. I can’t figure anything out. Nothing makes sense. There is no logic, no coherence, nothing remotely linear, nothing understandable, or even remotely plausible in my wildest fantasies. Dad, answer me honestly. How the heck are you making so much money?
Sam absorbed his father’s non-committal rejoinder and took his invitation to sit down and have a late afternoon scotch in the office. He began thinking, while his dad was recounting some dumb to him story about how hungry he was in the old country and went into a roadside restaurant and ordered what he thought was a stew which turned out to be camel meat. Sam loved baseball, and his after a second filling of single malt thought of Leo Durocher the “lip” ; legendary feisty and intelligent manager. Durocher liked a player called Eddie Stankey nicknamed the Brat and the mobile muskrat. And when asked why, The Lip would quote Branch Rickey: “He can’t hit, he can’t run, he can’t field, he can’t throw. He can’t do a goddamn thing, —but beat you.” Sam’s dad was a gamer,a Stankey. he couldn’t really do anything particularly well, had vague notions of accounting, finance neither here nor there, not the appearance of a captain of industry, yet he was a winner doing exceptionally well, and he, Samir, was making the mistake of only seeing the things his father couldn’t do. And he also remembered Branch Rickey saying that luck was not isolated, a random event but rather what he termed the residue of design, which ultimately meant that one makes their own breaks.