Playing the Game of Chicken

Playing Chicken

This is how it started;

“James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” – Donald Trump Tweet on 5-12-17

This is how it was challenged;

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” – James Comey testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on 6-8-17

This is how it ended;

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.” – Donald Trump Tweet on 6-22-17

The origin of the Game of Chicken involves two automobiles driving towards each other on a collision course: one driver must swerve, or both may die in the crash, but if one driver swerves and the other does not, the one who swerved will be called a “chicken”, meaning they are a coward. Trump loves the Game of Chicken. I would suspect he has made and lost millions of dollars in his business career playing the game.

I spent 30 years in the real estate development business and played “Chicken” intentionally and unintentionally seemingly every week. Someone makes you a low ball offer for a property you desperately need to sell. The offer covers your cost but puts no money in your pocket. You ignore it, Play Chicken, banking on a better offer from someone else or the low baller upping their price because they want it worse than you need to sell it.

The odds of winning or losing at Chicken are 50-50. So in every case, in order to win, you must absolutely be prepared to lose.

I leased an office building in town for a contractor who had what I can only describe as a very shitty reputation. I was working with a tenant who had identified the contractors building, despite my warnings about his reputation, as the spot they wanted to move their company to. Before I began negotiations with the contractor I got him to sign a commission agreement which spelled out what he would owe me and when it was due if we got a deal done. Short of getting cash in advance this was the most protection I could secure.

After several weeks of heated and tense negotiations and despite my continued pleas of finding another space with a more amenable and pleasant landlord we got the deal done. I sent the contractor a bill for my services and waited. Weeks passed. Phone calls were not returned. Emails and certified letters were ignored. Finally one morning I parked in his personal parking spot waiting for him to arrive at work. He pulled up behind my car and rolled down his window. I asked if I could pick-up a check for the money he owed me and he uttered these two simple words, “Sue me”. Mr. Contractor wanted to play Chicken.

Now what he knew, and what I knew as well is that I would lose money suing him. Yes, if I won I would collect the commission he owed me, and maybe some of my “reasonable” attorneys fees but what I wouldn’t be compensated for is the time I would spend over the next year or two trying to collect my commission in court. The contractor played Chicken with me and won……this time.

Several years later the contractor refused to finish a job that he had been paid to do. He had received 95% of the money and only completed 50% of the work for an out-of-town owner when he walked off the job. When the owner confronted him about finishing the work or returning the money the contractor uttered his favorite two words, “Sue me”.

This time he picked the wrong guy to play Chicken with. After several years of depositions, counter suits and attorney fees the contractor filed for bankruptcy and though I wouldn’t have wished this on my worst enemy also developed Pancreatic cancer during the process which ultimately and slowly killed him.

If you read Trumps tweets or listen to his speeches in the context of “Playing Chicken” you realize very quickly this is how he operates everyday. But no one plays Chicken by themselves, there has to be another car and another driver. Trump plays this game like a man with nothing to lose, which is the only way to win, the only way anyone can win. He dares you and I and the rest of the world to swerve. So far we have, but I got a sneaky feeling that is getting ready to change just as it did today, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”

“Wow, USA Today did todays cover story on my record in lawsuits. Verdict: 450 wins, 38 losses. Isn’t that what you want for your president?” –  Donald Trump Tweet on 6-2-16

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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6 Responses to Playing the Game of Chicken

  1. Perhaps our biggest mistake was in expecting a President who values honor, integrity, insight, respect, self-control, compassion, loyalty, trust, and intelligence. We missed on all counts, did we not?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: Repost : Playing the Game of Chicken | Ends and Beginnings

  3. He has now taken his “chicken” game to the highest level, putting the survival of our species at risk.

    Liked by 1 person

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