Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Back from LA

It's been ten years or more since I was last in Southern California, now I remember why.

It is sort of like living inside a smoke stack. The air quality is so chronically bad that I wonder at the sanity of people who choose to subject themselves to it. When I was last there I was told by someone who would know about such things that living in the LA area was like "smoking a pack of cigarettes a day".

until recently I had no reason to go to SoCal, for which I considered myself lucky.

But Steve Barnes and his wife, Tananarive Due, decided (and rightly so) that Hollywood needed their talents in the worst sort of way.

So now I have reason to go to LA again.

The last time I spent any real time in SoCal I worked as a bouncer in a strip joint called "Playtime" out in Riverside County.

Yes, I know it may seem a bit strange for a Sufi-like person to work in such a place, but you go where you are needed.

Now there is this idea that a bouncer is fighting all the time, this is just not true, at least at your better places. The best bouncers are the ones who can defuse a situation with words, no one wants to spend time in a place where brawls break out all the time, and those few who do enjoy this sort of thing are not the kind of patrons you want.

One of the more interesting things about a good strip club is just how much money the girls make. The average was somewhere around three to five hundred dollars a night, occasionally bouncing up to a thousand dollars a night.

The other interesting thing was that a girl who made five hundred dollars the previous evening would come to work broke the next day.

While it is quite easy to spend that much money in a day if you are buying prohibited substances, this was not the case.

So I started a small experiment with the young ladies, encouraging them to think about building up some savings.

None of these girls (from my perspective none of them were women yet) had any kind of understanding of how money works, or even how to make a budget for themselves.

So I went out and got a dozen copies of The Richest Man in Babylon (if you haven't read it, grab a free PDF of it here) and gave it to the girls who I had developed relationships with.

I also found a local bank that would open a CD with just $100.00 and let you add money when ever you wanted (but of course not take it out, banks are funny that way).

Within a short amount of time some of us were having discussions on how to plan a monthly budget, the ins and outs of treasury items and money market accounts, and goal setting. (Things I really wish were taught in schools here).

One very proud moment was when one of the girls graduated from Nursing school, having paid for the tuition entirely out of her earnings.

A surprising number of girls working at the club were single mothers who had no skills to speak of, often not even a high school diploma. Money management came as a sort of revelation to then.

LA is a strange place indeed.

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