Saturday, April 10, 2004

One of the real joys of being in the bail bond business during my dissipated past has been the pleasure found in witnessing the "coming of age" ceremony that some of my agents have gone through.

The business is maturational in a very fundamental way because it is grounded on money and power and the necessary moral "rightness" that is inherent in traditional maleness. One woman of my long acquaintance once said that I was the kappelmeister of a modern day boy's club. I took it as a compliment.

Let me explain: We get guys out of jail so that they can stay at home and be with their families until they have to go to court and face the music. Sometimes, we get people out who probably should have been left in the traditional darkie hole. They don't go to court and we have to go get them and return them to the jurisdiction of the court. The bondsman is the jailor and the deal is that I will get the chump to court or I will go get the guy and make him do the right thing.

Make him.

What this means in practical terms is that I'm an old guy with a cool head surrounded by young guys with much warmer heads. That's a good and necessary combination. Most of the guys that I've been associated with over the years in this business have tended to "move through" the bail bond business to something else... related is some way, but something else... as they've matured, or perhaps "grown up" is more appropriate... they've gone and found useful employment while retaining the John Wayne, manly man, imago. Some of them went back to school and are now lawyers. Some of them found that they could make more money flying commercially. One guy moved to Alaska and is a bush pilot. Another is a boat captain and spends most of his time creeping across the oceans with a supertanker in tow.

And several of them are soldiers. One of these guys is now in the little dust up over in Iraq. He's a shooter... big bore sniper. His task is to knock down anything carrying a weapon and he does it from great distances with the modern equivalent of a 50 cal. (I think). When he was a 20 year old kid working for me he was a loose cannon, a hot head with good hands. But he was the kind of guy that you always wanted at your back when it came time to kick in the door and take down a skip. Now he is a soldier. And a good one.

I get these interesting emails from him ever few weeks when he has a chance to stand down. He can't say exactly where he is, and won't. But I'm pretty sure he is involved in the most recent fighting. Where else would the Marine Corps be? Of course, the great thing about the internet is that while the guy is in the middle of the shit he can send his old boss chatty little notes about what he's reading. Amazing.

One of the things he's reading is The Belmont Club. He sent me a snippet from Wretchard's blog today. What makes it amazing is that I was reading the same blog when he was emailing me a chunk of it. Neat.

Rick says that "this guy has got it right on target". Gee. No kidding.

The snippet he sent is:

"To recapitulate. The press has got it absolutely backwards. There is no crisis in military capability. The real problem is political. There are now huge strategic opportunities and dangers. But the first step is to put the revolt down, and this is near to happening, and to install the Iraqi Governing Council as soon as possible. Then we should focus on how to turn the tables on the Syrians and the Iranians. The crown sits none too easy on their heads."

Isn't this great?