What is the funniest story that you have never told about each other? And also, what is the hardest part of your business? (APPLAUSE)
I’ll answer the second. The second part of your question is that we don’t have a hard business. We love our business. Every morning, when I get up, I feel good. I don’t know what’s going to happen that day. Maybe nothing will happen. But maybe something will happen.
And if nothing else, I’ll roll some T-bills or something. But I work with the greatest group of people you can imagine. I mean, we like each other. And nobody is after anybody else’s job, or anything of the sort. It’s ideal working conditions. And it’s five minutes from my home, or thereabouts. So, I haven’t spent my life commuting. I just can’t imagine having anything better.
And Charlie’s got a lot of funny stories you haven’t heard. But we’ll see which one he comes up with.
Well, I think Warren and I are naturally so ridiculous that we don’t need very many funny stories. We each do things that are peculiar enough so that we can keep one another amused.
Tell them what you told the lawyer when we were buying Hochschild Kohn.
I don’t remember. You tell them.
Well, you remember? (LAUGHTER) It was 1966, and we were down in Baltimore, buying a department store. And we needed a lawyer. And we needed a lawyer who was nearby and would do exactly as told. And Charlie came up with a very good lawyer from Wilmer Cutler’s, I believe. And I don’t know whether Charlie remembers the instructions he gave the lawyer or not.
No. I don’t.
Well, Charlie told the lawyer, who we never met before. And he said, “Treat Warren like” — I was 36 at the time or 35. He said, “Treat Warren like any other 90-year-old client.” (LAUGHTER)
This guy knew exactly what he meant. And we made the deal in a hurry. And then we went to the bank, First National Bank, I believe it was — or Maryland National Bank, actually. And there was a fellow named Cammy Slack there, wasn’t there, Charlie?
We wanted to borrow $6,000,000 bucks against a $12,000,000 purchase. And Cammy looked at us with bewilderment. And he says, “You want you borrow $6,000,000 for this little old Hochschild-Kohn?” And Charlie and I said something to the effect, “Well, the Maryland National was our first call. And if they didn’t want to do it, we had another bank we’d go to.”
And, anyway, they lent us the money. But when he said little old Hochschild-Kohn, we immediately started thinking, “Maybe this isn’t the best deal we’ve ever seen in our lives.” And from that point on, we were trying to figure out how to sell it. Sandy Gottesman was involved with us then too.
And we had as much fun out of deals that didn’t work in a certain sense as the ones that did work. I mean, if you knew you were going to play golf and you were going to hit a hole in one on every hole, you just hit the ball, and it went in the hole that was 300 yards away, or 400 yards away, nobody would play golf.
I mean, part of the fun of the game is the fact that you hit them to the woods. And sometimes you get them out, and sometimes you don’t.
So, we are in the perfect sort of game. And we both enjoy it. And we have a lot of fun together. And we don’t have to do anything we don’t really believe in doing.
I mean, we are not dictated to by any group. And so, we get to forge our own destiny. And in a sense, forge the principle by which we can run the company. And that’s a huge luxury in life.
And we don’t want to be president of any other company in the world, or CEO, or anything else. We’d have to conform to certain things that we really don’t want to conform to.
Is that a fair description, Charlie?
Yeah, it is.
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