Lessons from Desert Storm - Getting Stuff

DAY 20 - 6 SEPTEMBER 1990

We had a helo from HC-11, based in North Island, California, fly over to drop off a part for us, and we traded some hardware and stuff in exchange. This happens a lot; if one helo det doesn't have something on board, they check the other dets, then we start trading back and forth. In fact, we take extra stuff we don't need, just so we can trade it for other stuff.

Hello again! Here's another post taken from Desert Storm Diaries. Did you realize its coming up on the 20th anniversary of Desert Storm? Wow.

Anyway, just a quick recap, in case you missed the previous post, I was stationed on a ship during Desert Storm. I was a helo mechanic, we used the helos to move cargo, and my ship's cargo was bombs. I think that just about covers the important stuff! Oh, and I wrote a book, you should go buy it. OK!

So, on this day, a helo, like ours, flew over from another ship to deliver some cargo to us. What I wanted to talk about was the second part of that entry, that we used to constantly trade parts and supplies with the other crews out there.

Seems kind of funny in a way. We had been hoarding stuff, that actually belonged to the Navy in the first place, and we'd use it to trade to other detachments in the area, guys just like us.

We weren't being evil, in case you were thinking that. Really! Supply system was kind of... wonky! out at sea. Each ship had some spare parts and materials. Sometimes when we needed things, our request would get sent out to 20 different ships before we'd get a response. But we found it was often faster to ask our neighbors for a cup of sugar, as the expression goes.

They would call us up on the radio and say they needed gray paint, or shiny screws, or some hydraulic fluid. Then they'd say they had a few extra cases of turbine oil, or blade pins, or Insignia Red paint.

Then we'd come back with our own list of demands and stuff we would be willing to part with.

I remember once, one of our guys traded a patch off his flight suit for a paint gun. True story. Actually, that happens later on in the book. So be surprised when your read that one OK?

Yeah, so what, right? This isn't a post about crazy military misappropriation of funds or gear. Posting about that could get a person in trouble!

What I'm here writing about today is that, no matter who you are, or what you have, someone, somewhere wants what you have or know. Its true! Sorry, that has to be one of those sentances the English teachers talked about, bad diagramming there. Lets try this. You know stuff. Other people want to know stuff. Actually, we all like to know stuff, even if we don't NEED to know. Good?

Case in point. I read a few years ago about a lady who would walk down to the fence that ran around her farm, and she'd grab a few tumble weeds. There were THOUSANDS of tumble weeds on her fence! She'd grab a variety. Some she'd leave just as they were, some she'd spray paint silver, or gold, or what ever. Then she'd take pictures of them. And sell them on Ebay! Apparently, these were a hot item in Japan. And lets face it, shipping a tumble weed doesn't cost all that much, they weigh practically nothing!

I've heard of many people who sold pine cones on Ebay, too, especially around Christmas time.

But I'm not even here to tell you to go sell stuff on Ebay. You can do it if you'd like, I'm not here to stop you either!

Have you ever noticed that your friends or family are always asking your advice about something? Or maybe you do something professionally, or used to. This might be a shocker to you. There are people who would want to know what you know. Some of them might even pay to learn what you know. Shocking right?

Obviously, if you already make a living with what you know, its probably not as shocking! But here's a twist for you, too.

You could answer 20 questions, off the top of your head, about your area of genius, that 99% of the rest of us wouldn't have a clue about.

Here's a good example, especially because I know she'll read this! My Mom used to raise Pomeranian dogs. She doesn't sell them anymore, but there are still a few of them left. 7 of them, I think. Its kind of hard to count them when they know you're looking!

Because she used to raise these dogs for selling as pets, she had to know a lot about them. What kind of food they liked, when to get their shots, all the rules about selling them, getting them marked and tattooed and micro chips and all kinds of strange things. All of this makes her AN EXPERT on the subject. She did this for several years. What she learned could be a book, a website, a blog, that could either be given away for free, or... steady... it could be sold!

I used to be a wedding photographer. That ended kind of badly, in that I lost my butt when the market crashed, because no one wanted to pay me anymore, and I ended up selling most of my stuff and was almost homeless for the next year. It was kind of bad! But I know stuff, right? Well, one, maybe don't spend all your cash on cameras all the time, save some for when things slow down! (note to self, probably shouldn't have spent the last of my cash when I bought that Porsche... oh but its shiny!)

I was a photographer and video dude for weddings for about 10 years. Well, 9 years paid, one year before that for friends. And the year after I shot one then too... We'll say 10 years! I shot 10 or more weddings a year, for almost all those years. Some years way more. So, that kind of makes me an expert. Or a has been, depending on how you look at things.

But I know stuff, stuff that could help a bride who is planning her own wedding. I could help someone who was just starting out as a photographer. I have, somewhere, a great cheat sheet, of how to organize a list of all the photos the Bride wants the photographer to take. And even how to get your day organized so you make it to the church on time for the wedding. That started off as a joke actually.

Hobbies even. Photography is almost cliche. How about camping? If you really love camping and go 10 times a year, I'll bet you could write a blog about it, and people would read it.

Pretty soon, people are asking your opinion, and you don't know who they are. That's kind of cool! Before you know it, you have a few hundred people who are paying attention to when you write your blog.

Guess what's next...

Its time to write a book! OK, honest, how many thought I'd say that?

I did recently write a post about how to write a book, so if you missed it, go find it, its here somewhere :) But before you go, think about this. You know stuff, maybe you don't think its very important. But other people would enjoy it. They might even pay for what you know. Seems kind of selfish of you to not share it, right? :)

By Carlin Comm posted on 2010-10-12 18:23:56