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Bulldoze the Community Center!
Lawrence Von Haelstrom

Originally published December 16, 2011 

Hello and welcome, ladies and gentlemen. I know you’re here for one reason and one reason only. You want to get rich, right?! You want to get rich, and you’re here to learn my secret. And my secret to personal wealth is, you know what it is, say it with me: “Bulldoze the community center!” That’s right, the secret to wealth and power is tearing down community centers. In this brief introductory seminar, I’ll let you in on some of the tricks and traps of bulldozing community centers.

The first question you may ask is, “Why?” Yes, why bulldoze that community center? Look, we know those kids are just a bunch of good-for-nothing hoodlums. With their dancing, singing, skateboarding, or BMX bike riding they’re just terrorizing our neighborhoods. We know that land would be much better as a parking lot, shopping mall, or luxury condominiums. Those twerps are up to no good, and they’re a bad influence. How many times has your business partner’s daughter ended up breaking up with her prom date just so she could spend more time with those hoodlums at the community center? Or quit going to her private ballet school so she could spend time dancing some new street style of dance down at that damn community center? Or quit business school to go skating with those punks at the community center? We need to tear them down. And we need to make a profit.

Now, this is what those jackasses will do when you come around to bulldoze their community center. The first time you show up with your colleagues, you will all be wearing suits and hard hats and carrying a tube of blueprints. A surveying guy will set up his tripod in the middle of the basketball court. Those kids will step up to you and be all “Who do you think you are, old man? This is OUR community center.” And you’ll just say the truth: “I’m buying this property fair and square. It will be MY community center, unless you punks can somehow raise $500,000 and outbid me.” And they’ll say, “Yeah? Well we just might.” And you’ll just scoff. But watch out for the little one who makes all the jokes. He’s going to pull those blue prints out of your hand and make your colleagues chase after him all over the place. All you’ll be able to do is throw your hard hat to the ground and shake your fist while all the kids point and laugh. Your business partner’s daughter is then going to say something scolding to you, too. But all that doesn’t matter. You’re here to make money! Am I right? And the way to make money is to, say it with me again, “Bulldoze the community center!”

If the old gray-haired man on the city council starts a slow hand clap, you’re doomed.

Now those kids will be pretty organized. They’ll head down to city hall–dancing and singing all the way or doing tricks on their BMX bikes–luring other people in the neighborhood to follow. Even an old lady will be there at the end of the pack doing some crazy dance move she learned from the kids. And their leader, the tall, handsome one who doesn’t apply himself at school but is smart anyway and reads a lot, he’ll make some impassioned speech about how the community center changes lives and keeps kids off the streets. And now this is where I’ve seen plenty of bulldoze-the-community-center plans end. But I’ll tell you the secret here. Now listen closely. After the kid finishes speaking, if the old gray-haired man on the city council starts a slow hand clap, you’re doomed. But! But! But! If you start a sarcastic slow hand clap and step out of the shadows from the back of the room, then, my friend, you have won! You’ll get to say, “Bravo. It’s nice to see you off the streets for once, Turbo.” And you can talk about how the city council shouldn’t be swayed by such naive talk. You’ll tell them that Turbo’s brother got into trouble for steeling cars a while back, and you’re pretty sure Turbo was in on in the caper, too, only his records are sealed because he’s a juvenile. You’ll say, “He’s a juvenile all right…a juvenile delinquent.” And you’ll tell the city council, sure, the community center keeps a few kids out of trouble for a little while, but a new shopping mall will help the whole town. And all you want to do is help the town. And to help the town you need to, let me hear you loud and clear this time, “Bulldoze the community center!”

But, listen to me now, you’re still not done. I told you those kids will be organized. They’ll even settle their beef with a rival dance/skate/bike crew and they’ll all come together for a big Save the Community Center fundraiser event. This is the doozy for us. A known celebrity might arrive in a helicopter and donate the rest of the money they need. Or a TV station will cover it and your business partner will see his daughter dancing and he’ll realize that her crazy friends really do care for her and he’ll head down to the fundraiser and donate the rest of the money they need. Or the studious kid with glasses and the girl will come running back from the town library after looking at city records and say they’ve discovered that the land was donated to the town with the designation that it will always serve the community and it will turn out that that person was your own grandfather.

Any or all of these can and has happened, but forewarned is forearmed. You can hijack the local TV signal and broadcast yourself explaining how many jobs your condominiums will provide. You can arrive in your own helicopter and throw cash to the crowd. You can claim that your grandfather was insane and was blackmailed by Turbo’s father into writing that clause. You can do anything because you’re rich, your pants are pressed, and you say loudly and proudly: “Bulldoze the community center!”

Thank you all for coming today. Of course this is just a taste of my full ten part lecture series. You can sign up for that right now at my special Insiders rate. And when you do sign up now, you will get fifty percent off the registration fee for my companion courses, “Implode the Orphanage,” and “Steamroll the Family Farm.”

Now go out there and make some money! Thank you, and goodnight.

Lawrence von Haelstrom is a former Bull Roping Champion Magazine reader and street magician observer.