We've both been interviewed by Furniture Today. Buffett owns a furniture store, too. Sorry, Warren; they wanted my opinion five years ago.
Poor Warren. Wandering the earth for all those years, burdened with all that money, and it took him decades to work up the nerve to finally admit to himself that no man can be happy without his own furniture business.
Anyway, I have two terrible, dark secrets to reveal. You guys won't tell anyone, will you? I sorta not-quite knew Eliot and Barry Tatelman, the brothers that inherited the business Buffett bought from them. Twenty-five years ago they were going through some sort of midlife crisis and were taking drum lessons from a friend of mine in Hopkinton, Mass. I was young and trying to make half my living playing music at the time. I was playing bass with anyone that had paying gigs. If you play the bass and sing a little, you can always work. There was an open mike night at Liam's Irish Tavern in Framingham on Mondays, and I never could find work on Monday nights anyway, and the dissolute and mildly skeevy fellow that ran it needed a "house band" to play with all the flotsam and jetsam that came in. I'd been playing weddings in Connecticut with him for some reason or other, and he asked me to do it. For no money, just free drinks. I told him I knew the bartender and got free drinks already. He said all the other guys did it for free. I said to have fun with all the other guys. I knew he was getting paid.
We hit on a solution. He desperately needed someone to bring a drum set. If he allowed an amateur to bring a drum set, he'd have to let him play all night, and anyone that would haul an entire trap set up those stairs for no money would surely be awful and make for a long night for everybody else. So a friend who played drums gave me the remains of an old cheap red sparkle drum set he hadn't used since the British Invasion, and I hauled it into Liam's on Mondays, and later I bought a real drum set at Jack's across from Berklee, and took a few drum lessons from that fellow I told you about that mostly took care of horses but taught drums on the side.
I've been haunted by the specter of these two unholy secrets my whole life. I must come clean.
A. I'm sorry fellows, but Jay lied when he told you no one was getting paid; he paid me fifty bucks to bring those drums and play maybe two or three songs on them and then drink for free and play darts all night, and I'm not even a drummer. But I couldn't tell anyone I was getting paid. I was just like Arianna Huffington, only I don't think she even owns drums.
B. Hey, Eliot and Barry: that guy was charging you triple what he charged me.