Words of wisdom from the guy in the Jaguar
Back in the 1990s I was working for the Department of Tourism. Among the many projects I worked on was the Spring Break Programme. I had to go around to US colleges inviting young people to come to Bermuda for their Spring Break. I know; great job.
On one of the first trips, I arrived to meet my contact in the US, who was supposed to take me around, show me the ropes, introduce me to people and help me sell Bermuda. I was in my late 20s but still a young Bermudian male. Dude rolls up in a British Racing Green Jaguar J-16, with beige leather interior and of course the two infamous mufflers pushing clouds of smoke out the rear. Of course the guy was a Brit. I had visions of James Bond
I said, as any right thinking young man would and should: “Nice car”. The gentleman’s reply was: “Young man, there are three things a person will always remember about you. Your car, your watch and your shoes“.
Those were some very wise words of wisdom for me, that have stayed with me forever. Here’s what I took from it, which I will try to apply here for consumption by others.
You have to be real. Everybody cannot afford a Jaguar, even though they really do drive nice. I’ve actually driven a 2013 Jag; trust me, the standard has not dropped and the newer models have enhanced and more modern features.
But the car lesson is that whatever car you have should be clean, neat, well maintained; so that it is ready and impressive for whoever you might meet, wherever you might go, whoever you might want to offer a ride. Your car is an extension of yourself. If your car is dirty, that says something about you as a person. Sorry, the truth may offend, but it is still the truth.
Indulge me some more. Let’s say that wherever you work, your boss asks you for a ride in your car to go somewhere, or let’s say that you have to give some colleagues a lift. Let’s say you generally keep your car clean. If you are asked to give people a ride, because you always keep your car clean; you are likely to make a better impression on your boss, colleagues or whomever; than someone whose car is usually dirty or dirty on the day they had to give their boss or colleagues a ride.
I know people who will argue the point and say that this is shallow thinking but I disagree. If you roll up to someone’s house, unexpected and their house is dirty and a total mess; and you go to someone else’s house unexpected and their house is neat, clean and tidy; which person will give you the better impression?
So the lesson re the car is that if you have a car, keep it clean, neat and tidy, because it’s just a smart thing to do. Let’s take this somewhere else. In addition to career enhancement; you can impress a person you are trying to date if your car is neat and clean. Who really wants to go on a date with a person whose car is filty, messy, untidy, etc?
Now the watch lesson. I get the fact that everybody cannot afford a Rolex, Cartier, Patek Phillip, Omega, Brietling, or even a Tag. But like it or not, a watch says something about the person. I will admit to being a watch connoseur.
I will share with you the tag line for Patek Phillipe. It says,“ You never actually own a Patek Phillipe; you’re merely keeping it for the next generation.” The message is that you should pass on the very best of life to your kids and every parent should aim do that.
But the lesson re the watch is that people will remember what kind of watch you wear and you don’t have to spend thousands to get a decent watch. The trend for women nowadays is to wear bigger faced watches and men’s watches and that’s cool. But the point is that a well chosen watch makes an impression. Chose well.
The final piece is the shoes. People will always remember your shoes. Again, they don’t have to be Manolo Blaniks for women or Ballys for men; but they should always be neat, clean, well maintained.
For women, there is nothing more cheesy than damaged heels. If you’re working, go to Heel Quick and get them fixed. A word of wisdom for husbands — offer to do this for your wife — it will put you in the good books — just trust me on that. If you’re not working, I understand that you may not be able to afford such discretionary spending; so if you have an interview, wear your best pair of shoes or ask a friend to help you pay to get your favourite pair repaired.
Back in the day, as children we were taught to clean our shoes for school the night before. You had to put down brown paper bag or newspaper and polish your shoes, to keep them looking good and to make them last.
There is no reason that this should change when we are older and in fact it should continue so that we model this behaviour for our children and the younger generations to follow.
In conclusion, I close by restating the advice of my British buddy from New England, who said that ”There are three things that a person will always remember about you; your car, your watch and your shoes“.
I will add, ”You only get one chance to make a first impression. So don’t screw it up“.
Words of wisdom from DJLT.