Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Path of Dalton: Road House Economics

It's quite likely that you have made a horrible mess out of your life.  It happens to most people, so you shouldn't feel too bad.  Maybe you became a doctor, a lawyer, or pursued some other dead-end low wage career that has left you feeling hollow inside.  You are probably wondering where it all went wrong, and the answer undoubtedly lies in having poor role models.

There's really very little I can do to offer you hope.  At this point, most of you are probably too far gone, but there is still a chance to save your children.  Hope still exists for them, which I have discovered through a deep and insightful examination of our society's greatest artistic achievements.  The subtle clues of how to live a meaningful and profitable life have been provided to us all, if only we had paid attention.

Let's just take a moment to consider the 1989 Academy Award winning film Road House.  Beyond it's obvious guidance in the fields of hair spray application and how to rip out another man's throat, there might be some very sound financial advice, just lurking beneath the surface.  This advice might not be applicable to everyone, but if you yearn to breathe free, and live the unfettered life of a rambling, roaming, well-coiffed barroom bouncer, it presents some very exciting possibilities.

Now, you may be thinking that you don't have what it takes for such a lifestyle.  Like most modern "men", you probably have an endless stream of excuses for why you haven't reached the peak masculinity exhibited by this film's main character Dalton.  Let's just give that cowardly attitude a moment of thought.  Do you really believe that you are less deserving of the good things in life than an NYU philosophy student?  Well, that's exactly how Dalton spent his college years, and we all know that philosophy majors are a step below McDonald's fry cooks on the socioeconomic ladder.  Yet Dalton is seen tooling around town in a 1987 Mercedes 560 SEC.  In 1989 that would have been a two year old  car costing $76,380 (or $159,575 in 2015 inflation adjusted dollars).  Not too shabby.  How many philosophy majors do you know who have that kind of cash lying around?

Unfortunately, Dalton wasn't very forthcoming on how he had managed to pull this off.  Even when his doctor (dramatically re-enacted by Kelly Lynch), asked whether he had "Come up with any answers" from his philosophical studies, Dalton played coy.  Whether it was modesty, or a reticence to reveal the golden path to financial success, Dalton wasn't going to confess how he had not only avoided life as a barista, but had managed to thrive.  The one thing he didn't take into account, was that his every action was being recorded, and repeatedly viewed by a sleuthing internet blogger.


At the beginning of this fine documentary film, we see the owner of the 'Double Deuce' road house, trying to lure Dalton to come work at his bar.  The incentives Dalton was presented with were as follows:

$5,000 in upfront cash (which we will view as a signing bonus)
$500 per night that he works.
All of Dalton's medical expenses will be covered.

Okay, let's ignore the $5,000 bonus (or $9,570 in inflation adjusted dollars), and the health care coverage.  That's chicken feed.  If Dalton worked just 5 nights a week, 52 weeks a year, that works out to $130,000 per year.  That's in 1989 dollars.  Adjusted for inflation, that would be a yearly salary of $248,820.  Even if the government was hitting Dalton with a 40% tax rate, with some sound investments he could almost certainly retire fairly comfortably by the age of 40 (assuming he started his throat ripping career when he was just out of college).  That strikes me as a fairly attainable life span for a bouncer.

Based on what we know of Dalton, and his free spirited and drifting ways, his finances could really go quite a bit further.  From what we are shown, he has no known family.  Wandering from road house to road house, he only seems to be in town long enough to impregnate the local barmaids before moving on, making child support a non-issue.  Hell, I might be able to argue that he could retire by 35, if the courts can't manage to track him down, which is easily within the time frame that I think his body could still sustain the occasional beatings.

The only real question is how poorly Dalton actually handled his cash, which admittedly is something that brings us back to his purchase of the Mercedes.  I'm kind of torn on this subject, because I am a strong believer in Nazi engineered vehicles, and the possibility that Dalton could have reasonably maintained that car for the next 30 years.  Those cars were built like tanks.  Regardless of my biases, we have no other evidence of frivolous spending, but we do know that he took residence in a barn, which he rented for just $100 per month.  So, his annual rental costs could have been a mere 0.92% of his annual income.  That's rather impressive.

I would also argue that Dalton's pay, upon arriving at the 'Double Deuce', was partly due to his reputation for being able to rip a man's throat out with his bare hands.  Like many legends, there were surely people who doubted the truth of this...umm...skill.  By the time his employment at the 'Double Deuce' had come to an end, Dalton had demonstrated yet another throat ripping, that I suspect would have created further tales which would have circulated among the local populace.  Since criminal charges didn't seem to follow this assault, I have to assume that this would only legitimize the folklore that followed Dalton, and potentially increased the demands for his services, as well as the salary he could demand.  This isn't meant to be viewed as an acceptance of these practices, but merely an acknowledgment of the apparent employment qualifications that are valued in the world of hill-billy road houses.   I'm not sure where salaries top out for bouncers, but I also never would have suspected that a bouncer could earn $130,000 per year.  So, where do we draw the line?  5 verified throat rippings, and a salary of $500,000?  It's very difficult to speculate.

The more thoughtful readers of this blog may have leapt to a rather insightful conclusion, without my assistance.  We have all undoubtedly heard of bartending schools, and while they have their place, I doubt any of us have seen anyone become rich from pursuing this path.  But where are the bouncing schools?  I've certainly never seen one.  The only conclusion I can reach is that the rewards of a successful life for a bouncer are so great, that the path to this life has become rather secretive.  It's sort of like that island in the Caribbean where topless super-models go to engage in dwarf tossing.  You don't hear about it, because you're not traveling in the right social circles.  The one percenters have no interest in letting the plebs in on their fun.  Still, we have to assume that some sort of bouncing school exists, or that there is an apprenticeship program in place.(as exhibited by Dalton's mentor Wade Garret, whose real life is portrayed by Sam Elluitt).

All I can really say is that you should probably stop saving for your children's college fund.  Maybe put them in some Krav Maga classes, and encourage them to start picking fights at a young age.  Save a few bucks, but still manage to reap the rewards further down the road.  It seems like a winning plan to me.

Or, I might be a little drunk.

1 comment:

  1. Your Drunk Ramblings are the best I've heard in a long long time.