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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a true story, that features watching someone listed as a genius, at least by his Mother, attain greatness. It is a tale of great success and then failure. The era the 1980s were the time of the first Tech boom. It was the year when the Personal Computer was touted, as the miracle we needed to increase, kids test scores, etc. What I witnessed informed me on how not run a business empire. THIS IS A TRUE STORY, BUT THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO LESSEN THE SHAME OF IT.

Submitted: September 05, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 05, 2014





 by: wily geist

My neighbor came over to inform me about how her Grandson is a genius, slotted to be a doctor and going to the highly esteemed University of Chicago. I took in the information or the brag about her Grandson with my usual aplomb, and wondered how smart the kid really is? I know, that I am a cynical old guy, but my cynicism usually turns out to be correct.

Personally, I am not enamored with doctors since they get to bury their
mistakes? Ops!

It actually didn't take long for me to confirm my suspicions of the boy-wonder.
When the neighbor came over to brag again, I asked how was his pre-med studies going? Her reply confirmed to me that my cynical nature was correct. “OH, he is no longer Pre-med, as he didn't know that being doctor required so much science. '' “HUH?” I was thinking how can a college student at the University of Chicago not understand that medicine and science go hand in hand? My mind made sure that I control my impulse, that I didn't laugh and tell my neighbor that that Grandson is surely overrated as a genius.
I stifled a laugh,and listened halfheartedly about her brag worthy grand-kids.

After she left, I was depressed how self-centered and deluded that everybody is and then poured myself a drink.
It hit me that sometimes the term genius is overused or based on the PR scams of hovering helicopter parents.
Isn't today's society more like the age of idiots? You know the ones (idiots) that behave badly on TV getting paid more than some genius in a garret trying to invent something other than a social network, like solar shingles that turn my shingles into a source of electricity, which in turn I sell back to Comical Edison instead of getting screwed over by a Nuclear power plant leaking into my house and water supply.

Another sip of my Jack Daniels and Coke it forced me into thinking about the term genius, and why sometimes it is better to have a practical skill in times of emergencies. Did we really need another social network that seems not to be that social, and why my neighbors can't say hello to each other?

Being isolated, bored and now slightly drunk, I peruse the internet for the current status of those rarefied castles of brilliant minds. I decided to look up information about that esteemed University, that said neighbor's grandson will be housed to make him the future genius of this America empire. My web-search hits upon the inner truth of genius: Holy CRAP!

This is a true story from the University of Chicago:
“CHICAGO, March 6 (UPI) -- Students at the University of Chicago said one of the school's dormitories is plagued with unsanitary conditions, including exploding toilets. Michelle Rodriguez, a first-year student at the school, told a panel of
student government representatives the 52-year-old dorm, Pierce Hall, has rampant problems with unsanitary conditions, water outages and toilet explosions, WBBM-TV, Chicago, reported Tuesday.

"In a 24-hour period, the plumbing exploded twice, and exploded with such force and severity that a toilet bowl … shattered, throwing porcelain shards across the bathroom," Rodriguez said in her testimony. "There were, on the floor, there were just rivers of excrement, urine and pieces of porcelain. There were no e-mails, no nothing, no notifications sent from house
administration about the issue."

Rodriguez told the Chicago Maroon, the student newspaper, the explosion left her with "pieces of someone else's excrement on my hair, my face, my lips."
School officials said last week the dorm will be improved when the spring quarter begins later this month.
"At the highest level of University leadership, we regret the conditions you have encountered. We find them unacceptable, and share your determination to improve your quality of life," Kimberly Goff-Crews, vice president for campus life
and dean of students, said in an e-mail last Wednesday.
Now,if you have kids, grand-kids that are going to this prestigious University,and you live with in driving distance, I recommend that you consider starting your own college dorm and charging your kids or grand-kids ten grand.
The money you earn is better than one of those reverse mortgages. The reverse mortgage is designed to
steal the house money away from your kids and grand-kids. Since their old, the bank basically is getting Grandpa and Grandma's house at a very low-price, unless your parents or Grandpa and Grandma keep on ticking forever, the bank is a winner.
However, the kids and grand-kids just lost their inheritance of house money.

Here are your sales pitch to earn money off those Geniuses Grand-kids:
I _________ will pay my rent to Grandma/Grandad______ of $10,000.00

dollars per annum, as stated in this legal document and note that if I am ILL behaved
or break house rules, the above listed Grand-kid will be both fined and evicted.

If the kids or their parents balk at the sales pitch, remind them of the facts:
The price of this room is only $10,000.00 per annum at the Grandparents room/dorm with no exploding toilets.
However, the cost of room with the exploding toilets at the University of Chicago is $12,633 .
(Next year the price will be going up at the University of Chicago, so sign up now for the Grandparents dorm.)
Ok, the grand-kids or your kids most likely will take their chances with the exploding toilets.
My most stunned question, is why the University of Chicago can't afford a good plumber?

The bigger question is the term genius or high-achiever and why they can't fix their own toilets. Maybe it is something you should ask yourself before plunking down those big bucks. Is my son or daughter really that smart?
It is through the personal experience with people listed under the banner of the Mensa flag that makes me reconsider anybody who claims that they are a genius.

Well, as a baby-boomer, I always doubted that the best and brightest. The best and the brightest were the ones that planned Vietnam?  Hmm, how did that go? Is the term high-achiever, gifted, advance placement, a scam to make sure that you spend your retirement money on that Ivy league school? Are these Ivy league schools really worth the money?

Why is the world so screwed up when these people end up with powerful positions and how the hell did George W. Bush get into Yale?

No, not any member of my member family was categorized as genius, but my next-door neighbor Ricky Stulz was gifted, a wunderkind that would go on to great things. His Mom and Dad,said he was a genius the next Edison or Tesla.

I, being an average idiot almost believed this until my own little brain noticed that the kid genius seemed to do a lot of dumb things. Even though Ricky's future devised by his parents, this future Mensa member, a CEO of the bright shiny factory of circuit boards and electronic utopia, there seemed to be something wrong with his actions. He seemed highly adept at causing himself great bodily injuries due to incomprehensible dumb Three-stooges actions. Why did the kid genius dive into a pool with not enough water in it?
Why did the kid genius take apart a bullet with a hammer and chisel?
The result was pure Stooges, KABOOM! Lucky, the bullet just exploded but didn't kill him. Somehow these strange actions did not lower his IQ points.Society and his parents had him listed on the bright list. Yes, his brilliance was tested by our school system and Ricky Stulz did become an electronic engineer. Like other men of his generation, Jobs, and Gates, Ricky did start his own Hi-tech business, but was he really a genius? Time will tell and I did witness his success.

Then one night at his own party for his wedding anniversary, I did witness his genius. It was a strange sort of genius, but for guys it was an incredible use of his brain power. You see, the last time I saw one Ricky Stulz; I accidentally discovered his true brilliance. Now his genius didn't seem business-related, since his travels to Russia, did not create any new business opportunities. His genius was how he introduced me to the concept of the beautiful Russian foreign exchange student, who at the present time resided in his home.

Now I understood his genius: Those incredibly beautiful Russian female exchange students changed my mind about those damn Commies, and that Ricky was a genius, like Hefner in his prime. They were some of the most beautiful women I have ever met in person. DAMN IT! Ricky was a genius.

Here is a sketch of the girls I made that night:



AH! YES! Ricky was a weird lucky genius, when he brought these young nubile women back home with him, even though he was married. THINK ABOUT, HOW DESPERATE ARE MOST PEOPLE TO GET OUT OF RUSSIA?  I would say very desperate and willing to be very friendly to remove themselves from the cold and bleak country.
This is when I knew he was a genius, or just one lucky bastard. I am still not sure why his wife didn’t smother him to death with a pillow or at least send his soul and wallet to Kangaroo divorce court. You would think that young nubile desperate Russian girls running around in their underwear or swimsuits would cause some strains on a marriage?
Why doesn’t this sort of stuff ever happen to me? Damn it!

I thought these were one of those Internet lies, about Russian girls wanting to meet American men. However, for Ricky this was not the case, as I viewed these beauty’s in the flesh, and not on my flickering computer monitor. Ricky had now turned into a party, animal who had a stable of Russian coeds coming and going even though he was celebrating his marriage anniversary, his new lifestyle was starting to think he tapped into the Hugh Hefner mojo.
Ah, the good life. It was amazing. This SOB was golden.  
Everything always seemed to go swimming for Ricky. His plans fit his ego. To live the life of the rich famous, is great, but if you are running your own business, the key to business may not mean you spend all your time having a good time unless you are managing a hedge fund or strip club, where the rules of ethics and morals are null and void. Somehow Ricky was still riding the wave of circuit boards toward heavenly cash.

Since Ricky's parents were from humble backgrounds, this success of their golden son, caused them to brag like Donald (there is a ferret on my head) Trump. My family now received the dreaded brag phone calls. This method was faster and more efficient than the Christmas card brag letter, but a little more expensive.
The last meeting of the Stulz's was a unique event. They drove to the old neighborhood like Mussolini rode down Rome's vaulted streets with Hitler in that overpriced Mercedes. Full of pride and a new car, which was rare for old man Stulz finally own a new car, since all his money went to his favorite kids college funds.
The Stulz's rode in their new Buick during the summer of 1982.
Their old neighborhood now was smaller and shabbier than their new digs in Mchenry, they had joined a better class of people, but unlike Mitt they didn't mind mingling with the mere working class slobs on certain occasions.

There son's success did cause them on many occasion to rub in the fact their son was now a millionaire, or the time we helped them move for free. We slobs were then allowed to grace their presence. We helped moved them from their old house filled with all the accumulated junk that had been there over twenty years, including a piano, and pool table.
You see the Stulz's were our next-door neighbors had moved to be closer to their god-like son, plus they were both working in the kid-genius's, sweat shop; I mean circuit board factory. Since they were smarter than us, we did help them move for free, but we did start making verbal threats, after they tried to have us move stuff all for free for Ricky's business. Pops and I did say no to that one, pointing out that if Ricky was so rich, he could afford real movers.

For a couple of months, Stulz's still did call and stay in touch unlike the other successful neighbors who had left for greener lawns and bigger abodes. On the rare occasion, the Stulz's would actually make a surprise visit to the old neighborhood.

They informed us slobs, that their Son was now a millionaire and new tech titan. What this meant for us is that we had to endure a visit and their photo album and phone calls. At the moment, for the last in-person meeting with the Stulz parents contain the dreaded vacation photos of Ricky's latest trip. (Ricky was not totally inept at business, since even though he was on vacation,his genius made sure that Mom, and Pop were still working in his factory while he hung out with Robin Leech and his ilk.)

(Ricky another major business coup, was he managed to pay his parents minimum wages for all their devotions, so he did understand the true Walmart business model of the proper pay scale for the worker, even if those said workers happen to be your folks.)

His parents now were sitting in our tiny living room and had to show us Ricky's vacation pictures of the scuba diving genius. The photos were very confusing as Ricky was a rather large person. Upon my first viewing, I was confused that I had just viewed a beached Sea-Lion and not a human, as Ricky in a scuba suit was like a Sumo wrestler crammed into a speedo. My Father normally, would have fallen asleep viewing someone's vacation photos,but his time was different.

The old man beamed when he saw the pictures.















Ironically, Ricky was vacationing near the exact site of where my Dad served in the Marine Corp. Ricky had traveled half way around the world and was near Funafuti Atoll near the Marshall Islands. Even though my Pops was being bombed by the makers of Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi, Ricky was closer to death than my Dad in actual combat.

If I had been there, I would have advised Ricky to change hobbies to stamp collecting or stick with the Russian Sexy exchange students. Deep down, I knew that once Ricky started in with mechanical things he was bound to encounter one of those Wily E. Coyote moments of his life. The Stulz's then began the amazing tale of Ricky's latest adventure to the wet and wild world of exotic vacations. Ironically, Ricky was vacationing near the exact site of where my Dad served in the Marine Corp. Ricky had traveled half way around the world and was near Funafuti Atoll near the Marshall Islands. Even though my Pops was being bombed by the makers of Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi, Ricky was closer to death than my Dad in actual combat.
The Stulz's then began the amazing tale of Ricky's latest adventure to the wet and wild world of exotic vacations.

The kid genius was scuba diving near the Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific, plus he was using one of his new inventions. Ricky invented a digital meter and timer designed especially for Scuba diving. Nothing could go wrong with his new inventions because, he of course was perfect. The big OPS! A more modest inventor may have tested his device on land, but not Ricky. Even though I am a dummy, I know when you are down in the depths of a dark ocean, it is certainly not where you want to screw up or find a fatal flaw to be pointed out the first time in your design.
Could the Kid genius once again have another accidental mishap?

YOU BETCHA! Well, his invention did fail, and he returned to the surface way too quickly, and ended up with the bends. Without access to a decompression chamber, that may spell the end to Ricky the kid genius once and for all.Unbelievable as it sounds; the cosmos, freak luck, or maybe God, saved this guy’s fat ass once again. His luck held, as the charter boat radioed for help, and a Navy ship was in the area and had a decompression chamber.
Did this near-death experience teach him to pay attention to his work and business?
NOPE! He kept living like a playboy. Parental devotion told him he was a golden god, and they sweated and helped him, while he had been out playing. Why should he worry, about his business?
What could go wrong?

Rick still went to Russia and still went Scuba diving, his parents like drones kept valiantly working for him, as his old man was the shop manager,driver, electrician and all around gofer. His Mom, even worked at the line without a break, to make sure she could brag. However, he seemed to have nine lives for life was this playboy lifestyle going to keep his business thriving? Even though my family contains no rocket scientist, we started to notice a pattern from the Stulz family. The bragging calls had now just trickled in and then stopped? Then it happened, one last phone call.

It was the day that Ricky’s father called and said Ricky needed help. The Kid Genius was about to meet his Waterloo. The whole family was sitting around the living room when the old man, my Pops got the call that reduced Ricky from a golden god to a mere schmuck like the rest of us. My Dad picked up the phone that day, and heard old man Stulz on the line. Old Stulz, normally didn’t make any calls, unless to brag, or to invite to a Birthday party,anniversary, etc… however, this call was distinctive. Old man Stulz, was ordinarily gruff and his tone was unusual, a more concinnous offer. Overhearing the conversation, I could tell Ricky’s adventures had been his downfall his coup de grace.

“You want me to loan your son, how much money?


“Holy crap, I can’t afford to do that?”

The old man, was taken back. Dad was cheap about most everything and for someone to ask for five hundred big ones, set his knees a knocking. It was a pure case of job identity confusion for my family. Since my Father always worked for Oil companies, people mistakenly thought we were wealthy. The truth about Oil Companies is that they will screw anyone who is a worker, or a middle manager. Dad had a much better title than a paycheck with enough zeroes.

Sadly, if one mentions the words “I work for oil company”; they think you would be as rich as Oprah Winfrey. Dad's last real job was working for the Gulf Oil company during the reign of Reagan and and the advent of trickle down or Voodoo economics. It was magic. Puff...Pops job disappeared into a hedge fund manager's pockets as savings.
The miracle of Trickle-down economics for us was a block of stale cheese from Wisconsin, left by a cousin who was a devoted Republican. It was an inedible cheese, but could be used as a brick to patch a hole in the garage. Voodoo economics did work its magic on a lot of families, not just ours. Things did vanish like unions, wages and factories. Not only did my old man’s job vanished, but also Ricky Stulz’s empire was also about to blow up. KABOOM!

Like a lot of businesses, the Stulz empire was now cash poor. Plus, the kid genius could not raise the capital to save his business from the bankers. Therefore, Ricky’s business went up for a fire-sale. The dream was over and the bragging phone calls, and visits disappeared. In a way, it was sad that no one could have stopped it and shaken up the brilliant man's ego, so that he had saved his own company. His hubris was his self-destruction. I didn't feel sorry for him, as a genius, he should have known his own folly could lead to his empire failing. However, I did feel sad for his parents who had had taken the failure very hard. His business failure had tragic effects on Ricky’s Mother, as the golden boy, no longer brag worthy. All her work,devotion and the time spent typing his term papers up, and the long hours working on his factory floor now reduced to a memory of past glory, not a future victory.
Sadly, I saw Ricky’s mother for the last time at an anniversary party, but the light and passion in her eyes were gone. Her boy genius was now reduced to selling electronic leftovers on EBAY. Somehow, Ricky managed to keep his house and his wife, a now more frumpy ex-farm girl from Iowa, (who stuck with Ricky,as going back to Redbroke Iowa and working at a pig farm was not an exciting prospect),but the Russian beauties were now gone, along with the Porsches in the garage.
His poor Mother, Rose died six months later without putting up her usual fight. She seemed not to care about anything anymore. I guess, there is a lesson, but it does make me wonder if anyone studied the childhood of these so-called success stories. Can anyone really handle the truth?

Truth should set you free, but America is built on the myth that the next generation is going to always be smarter and better looking. If this was true why is the current batch of American kids’ test score in the basement? How the hell could Kazakhstan, beat us in Math? Maybe Kazakhstan kids, have to keep an accurate track of goats and bags of heroin. Maybe American kids are too busy tweeting and listening to Lady Gaga?
You know maybe the University of Chicago should start a degree program in Plumbing. Jesus, did you ever realize how much plumbers make.



© Copyright 2019 wily geist. All rights reserved.

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