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One Man’s Empire is Another Man’s Clip Joint

Dear Ma,

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I hope everything is good up there in Heaven, we are still dealing with COVID-19 down here on the Big Blue Marble.

I am very scared that our governor is gonna shut down Texas again. There are already some states that have been shut down. That’s very scary for a lot of us that make our living in the motorcycle industry and in the hospitality industry…like me!

Last time they shut the country down, it was a nightmare. Here at my motorcycle shop, Strokers Dallas, I sent about half my employees home and some of them refused to come back to work when I called them back in, because they told me that they made more money sitting on the couch in their sweat pants watching “Leave it to Beaver” than they make working! So I replaced all those lazy people with folks who are glad to have a good job!

As far as my bar/grill, Strokers Ice House, we completely closed last time for three months, putting all my employees, 12, out of work. Same thing with our diner in Irving, Big State Fountain Grill. I sent everybody home except for a few people for take-out service. That makes it extremely tough to survive and I pray to God that we don’t have to do that again. That’s why you see so many bars and restaurants going out of business.

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Things are actually going pretty good right now, despite the ugly virus gripping the country. Our weather has been good and that is the biggest contributor to my bank account! When the weather is good, lots of bikes come to see me, but when the weather is bad, I’m pretty much up here by myself watching a “Three Stooges” marathon in my office! But, this is Dallas, Texas and our weather is normally pretty good.

So Ma, I try so hard to get along with everybody, but I made an idiot mad at me last week. He came up and wanted me to buy his bike and told me all about it. Sounded OK, so I told him to drag it up here so I could look it over and if it was as described, then I’d buy it. It was a “custom chopper professionally built” or so he said.

A few days later, I’m standing up at the front counter with Bigun and we see this $800 truck with a junky Chopper hanging out the back, tied down with rope, pull in the my parking lot. Just as I’m commenting to Bigun on what a piece of junk the Chopper was, that same cat got out of the truck! Oh no, not that guy. He comes in and sees me standing there and asks me to come look at it. Well, I could see enough of it when he pulled in to know that it was not anything that I’d be interested in. But, I went outside to look at it anyway, just out of respect.

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Now, I’m here to tell you that this cat was extremely proud of this chopper, so I had to take it easy on him. I told myself to find something nice to say about the bike and then find some excuse why I couldn’t buy it and then get the hell away from it!

So, here’s the conversation:

“That’s a pretty cool Chopper ya got there,” I said.

“Yes sir, built her myself, right there in the kitchen,” he replied.

So now, I’m walking around the POS and noticing that there is rust everywhere and the tires are dry rotted. Then, I notice that there are a bunch of loose wires hanging under the seat. The paint looked like three drunks painted it in his back yard, at night!

“You keep this thing outside,” I asked.

“Yeah, I don’t have a garage and my wife ran me out of her kitchen,” he replied.

Then I went on, “When was the last time you rode her?”

“Oh, probably 10 years or more,” he said. “I gotta bad hip and I’m on disability.”

I told him that even though it would make somebody a nice project (I lied) I was gonna have to pass. That’s not what he wanted to hear, so now’s he’s pissed!

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He told me that his (piece of junk) was as nice as any bike Strokers Dallas had ever built! OK, now I’ve had enough.

“Well, thanks for letting me look at it, but I’m not interested.”

“That’s what I thought” he said, “I knew you wouldn’t buy it because it shows you up! My bike is better than the junk you build!”

“OK, get your beautiful chopper out of my parking lot cause I’m tired of arguing with you,” I said.

“Oh yeah, I’m leaving and I ain’t ever coming back to this clip joint again,” he said as he was pulling out my driveway!

I just smiled & waived, Ma and I’m hoping he’s right, that he never comes back to my “clip joint” again!

OK Ma, I gotta go for now. It’s 70 degrees in November so I’m gonna drag my Shovelhead Alice out for a ride!

Love ya, Ma!
RF

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