Whenever strange things appear in my yard, I know my buddy Stan has stopped by.
It happens a lot. Stan’s suburb gets upset when he stores things in his backyard, so he drops them off in mine.
After returning from a trip, I found a bulldozer napping next to my pole shed.
So I got on the phone.
“You know why I am calling…”
“Haven’t a clue.”
“I found a bulldozer in my yard.”
“Is it yours?”
“Well….. that’s complicated.”
You have to understand – Stan is a simple, straight-forward kind of guy who through no fault of his own, gets caught up in terribly complex situations, mostly because of his job.
Stan repairs industrial equipment, machines so enormous that by comparison a bulldozer is a mere toy. Not a lot of people can do what he does – and because he does what he does, he attracts a great deal of regulatory interest.
OSHA has his phone number on speed-dial. The NHTSA follows his every move and the EPA tracks him with bloodhounds; whenever Stan gets a new contract, local regulatory agencies get the vapors.
To do his job, Stan has to cut through a thicket of regulatory thorns – but he takes it all in stride and over the years, he has developed a sensible, down to earth method of dealing with his blizzard of paperwork – one that is very Stan-like.
He ignores it.
And because he doesn’t give a rip about regulation, he is cited, tried, convicted, fined and occasionally jailed on a regular basis. It is a cost of doing business that he simply shrugs off.
He gets away with it because his business agent keeps a platoon of lawyers on staff – and when things really get dicey, they move him to Africa, Asia or South America until the powers that be make the machinery of government spin in reverse.
To understand why this is so, you have to appreciate the nature of his work.
The things he repairs are so big and so vital that when they go down, they take regional economies with them. So in a very real sense, Stan is more or less immune to rules. In short, he can do anything he wants with his email server.
I had to ask. “Did you steal the bulldozer?”
“Technically speaking perhaps… but the guy owes me money.”
“How long is it going stay in my yard?”
“I dunno, I thought maybe you could keep it.”
“What would I do with a bulldozer?”
“You could clear that bug-infested swamp next door.”
“Are you kidding?” I said, “that’s the Minnesota State Mosquito Preserve. The Department of Natural Resources owns that land and they are fanatics about protecting their turf.”
“I guess you’re right,” he said, “they would come down on you pretty hard.”
“You bet they would.”
“You want me to do it?”