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My Long Shot Existence

My Long Shot Existence

Hello and good day!

I had a friend and customer point something out to me the other day.

He mentioned that I've shared some very personal things about myself and my family in these daily emails.

I've talked about my problems with substance abuse.

My brother had the same problem.

My bro flunked 12th grade and had to go to summer school to graduate. He then joined the army on his father's advice, because it seemed like his only choices were the military or stay home and become an addict.

To clarify the statement above, my brother and I have the same mom and different biological fathers, although my brother says that he actually has two dads, my dad being the second.

I was kicked out of college for being a drunk.

I've talked about what a truly awful student I was as a kid.

I've written about what it was like watching my parents declare bankruptcy and lose their businesses when I was twelve years old.

Around the same time that my parents lost their businesses, the son of my dad's best friend was murdered by a 14-year-old gang banger. Check out the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to learn more about that incredible story of loss and redemption.

The kid who pulled the trigger got out of jail not too long ago, after serving a decades long prison term.

He is now working with the foundation to help other inner-city youths avoid making the same violent decisions that he made.

Our friend forgave his son's murderer and now they work together.

 My dad owned his hotel, and my mom her theatre, for close to fifteen years before a crooked investor illegally stole our pride and joy from us.

I visited the hotel and the theatre on a recent trip to San Diego.

They're called the Horton Grand Hotel and the Horton Grand Theatre if you are ever in downtown San Diego and want to check them out.

The hotel still feels like it should be ours.

I grew up in that dang hotel and had it snatched from me. As a kid, I was sure that I'd be running the place when I got older.

The fellow who took it from us is dead now and his kids are the owners. They appear to be absentee owners, with our hotel just one of many assets in their extensive portfolio.

They've hired a management company to manage the property.

It made me really happy to see how much the workers there seem to care about the hotel.

There is a good team in charge, and they were genuinely thrilled to meet my dad, the builder and original owner of the place where they earn their living.

The beautiful theatre where my mom put on hundreds of shows is now defunct, boarded up, abandoned, and shut down.

After losing the hotel and theatre, and going through all that heartache and trauma with my dad's best friend, the emotional strain of it all sent my parents into a depression and they divorced.

That is my childhood.

The first half was bliss.

My dad was the hero big shot business owner with a hundred employees.

My mom was the actress and producer who put on the best plays in town.

They were beloved local celebrities.

And then it all fell apart. We were down and out and on hard times for a good 7 or 8 years.

Then my mom met a new guy and fell in love again. She is still with that man by the way.

My dad came out of bankruptcy after seven years and launched a mining supply distribution business with my brother. Our first and only customer was the world's biggest gold mine, located in northern Peru.

My brother and I moved to Peru and fell in love with our Peruvian wives.

Things were on the upswing.

Then we closed down the mining business because we hated the social values of the mine and how they operated with such an uncaring and heavy hand in the community.

Over the course of the next several years, through a whole bunch of lucky breaks, we got into cacao and chocolate. We've been doing that now for 16 years, and I plan to run this business for the rest of my life.

So why share all that?

Why not hire a marketing firm, develop flashy corporate branding, and leave the past behind us?

Here's why.

I'm not supposed to be here.

I am the child of a reversed tubal ligation.

After my mother's first marriage, to my brother's father, my mom gave up on true love. As a sign of her complete and utter disillusionment with the idea of love, she tied her tubes.

She met my dad 12 years later and they fell madly in love. My pop was forty and childless and saw the romance with my mom as his last chance to have a kid.

Mom went to the doctor to have her tubes reconnected.

There was less than a ten percent chance that I'd be born.

But here I am.

So why get personal?

Because over the last few years, as we've moved from being a wholesale business into being a direct to customer business, I've learned something.

I've had the chance to talk to a lot of customers and hear a lot of stories.

Here is what I've learned.

My story is not the least bit unique. Every life is a roller coaster.

We're all going up and down and we're all over the place.

We feel good.

Things are great.

Then you go through the loop de loop.

A loved one gets sick.

You get sick.

Somebody dies.

Somebody is born.

You lose your job.

You get old while a new generation grows up.

You bounce back.

Since my being here was such a long shot, I figure I owe it to the world to do the best I can with what I've got while I'm here.

And the best thing I can think of doing, rightly or wrongly, besides helping to put out delicious chocolate, is trying to discover and present what real life looks like.

My conclusion is that life is more good than bad by a wide margin.

But that doesn't mean that it is all good.

There is a lot of bad too and to get through the bad times, you must keep the good times in mind, and constantly strive to get back to them.

So, I share some of my saddest and hardest memories to show that eventually the sadness ends, and the good times come around again.

Why do this as a part of business communication?

Because we are a family business, and our entire past is what makes the chocolate possible.

And if the chocolate is good, which it is, then you have tangible, real life proof on your tongue, that it is possible to win in the end.

If I can help people remember that it is possible to win in the end, even if it is just a few people, then I have done something good and I have justified my long shot existence.

If you are a customer or reader, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We can't do our work without you.

It doesn't make sense to write something if nobody reads it.

And it doesn't make sense to create chocolate if nobody is going to eat it.

There is also the very important issue of financial support, which your purchases provide.

From the bottom of my heart, again, thank you so much for your support.

Thank you so much for time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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