Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Me in HCC 1979

Back in the Bay Area and another job hunt was on. I crashed at my parent’s house, with Stella in San Francisco and with men I knew and didn’t. A large ski shop by the Polk district was hiring for the winter. I dressed sporty chic, showed up, got in a long line and waited next to a rack of brochures. Out of boredom I grabbed one and scanned bullet points touting the unique characteristics of Solomon bindings. Having had some years of retail sales experience by this point there were fewer lies on the application. I could also answer the question, “Do you ski?” honestly.

“What kind of skis do you have?” the owner asked. I told him. “What kind of bindings?”

“Solomon,” I lied.

“Why did you chose Solomon?”

“Because their compact shape attaches them closer to the boot, they allow more flexibility in the camber over the length of the ski.”

Parroting the pamphlet landed the ski shop job, and it turned out I was pretty good at selling puffy clothes. — From Chapter 4

I was recently asked for the mission statement of my business to apply for a grant, which inspired me to figure out what that might look like. Half a day later I had googled and read notable mission statements of a hundred companies—from animal rights non-profits to Pixar. I imagined what mission statements throughout my life might have been had I bothered to formally articulate my goals. The first was rudimentary: Earn a degree — accomplished in 1977. In 1982 it was: Learn to make a living as a creative entrepreneur. That took longer.

This blog is at the part of my book describing the five years in between, when my mission was to careen through a life that looked very much like a game of PacMan. That I kept jumping to new levels without imploding into Game Over has me convinced that angels and divine intervention are more powerful than luck alone. Unfortunately, “I hope to get lucky” isn’t a mission statement that opens an investor’s checkbook.

A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at

Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.