Saturday, August 09, 2008

Drove my Chevy to the Levee...

...then I left it there for 35 years. Nostalgia will not get the best of me. Not this time. It's back to the future, if anything.

You see, I went to my 20th high school reunion back in 1994--an event I had pondered for the better part of a decade prior--basically wondering how my peers were aging and succeeding in comparison to...well, me. But no, that wasn't enough. I had to go back for seconds 10 years later, even fatter, balder and more mediocre (but with a much better wife) than the first time. Few classmates looked even vaguely familiar during this second visit, and I spent most of the evening talking with someone named Chippy; a person I'd never seen before in my life (although according to him we were the best of buds back in the day... frequently skipping homeroom for higher ground, as it were. Hey, I don't remember nothin' but apparently, he graduated from Duke and I barely made it through Slippery Rock with a 2.0 average so he must not have been inhaling.). Anyway, the few people I did recognize were very happy to learn that rumors of my early demise 'were greatly exaggerated,' to paraphrase Twain/Clements/et al... as was I.

I left high school thinking I was going to be an actor or a writer or a movie director but ended up selling insurance for 15 years--my 'profession' when I made that first grand re-entrance to a gallery of uncaring eyes at the 20th gathering. A good many of my immediate peers in attendance had either inherited family businesses or were existing on some form of trust fund or another. Old money runs deep and wide in those Mid-Atlantic southern states or at least, that's how I've observed it over the years. All my rich kid friends became rich parent aquaintances--if even that.

When I hobbled into the 30th get together, 10 years later, I held the designation of 'Chicago Realtor.' Again, my immediate peers were either semi-retired or at the very least, identical clones of their own wealthy mothers and fathers, grandparents, etc.; good old boys in the richest sense. Old money is funny like that--it is genetically unforgiving. More so than ever, I realized that I was cast into a life where any success on my part would have to either come from within (i.e....selling lots of condos, houses and multi-units), or via the Illinois lottery.

And now it's 2008 and has informed me of yet another soiree---The 35th Reunion of the Myers Park Graduating Class of 1974. I emailed Chippy to see if he was going but he responded back saying he had no idea who I was and to take him off my list. (I email at least a half dozen other people every week I never went to high school with who tell me basically the same thing. The real estate business is also funny that way--quite unforgiving in its own right.)

The truth is, I don't have a list. I only approach those who have either happened upon one of my blogs or Googled 'Chicago Real Estate' and registered on our site. These registrants are then assigned to me for follow-up. I don't send out direct mail or make cold calls or even knock on doors anymore. No farming. No magnets. No newspaper advertising, to be sure. No billboards. Only the Internet, dear friends (and the occasional referral or past client still residing in the overtaxed boundries of Cook County). The Internet holds the passcode to the future of Chicago real estate marketing as I see it. So don't worry Chippy, you'll never hear from me again. Same for anyone who has registered but apparently forgotten. Not a problem. I'm trying to reduce my oversized nostalgic footprint anyway.

And while I'm at it, bye bye to Miss American Pie as well. I'm sick of the refrain and you're getting a little long in the tooth, if you don't mind me saying. After a couple hundred million spins of the disk over a 35 year period this could very well be the day that I die and I don't want that tune stuck in my skull ad infinitum. Like I mentioned a few minutes can find my Chevy at the levee with a couple thousand cases of long ago emptied whiskey and rye. And if the good old boys still feel like singing around the yesteryear campfire, so be it. I'll be scouring the Chicago MLS on my laptop for price reductions.

Geno Petro

and's not really my ride.

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