Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Legendary Martin "Marlin" Dozier

I firmly believe that I’m a good judge of character. I am. I’m not bragging – I’m just pointing out that I have developed some skills in this arena. It’s true. Judging character is an extremely difficult skill to develop because, generally, that means that you’ve gotten screwed over so many times that now you can see it coming.

I’m there.

I can sense good character a mile off. It leaps out at me. I can also sense poor character a mile away because it also leaps out at me - generally from the bushes.

I’m not saying I’m a genius, that I have 6 senses (I have 12, actually) or that I understand what “spice” was in the movie “Dune” – because I don’t. I just want to establish that I’ve been taken advantage of more times than I can count, it’s going to keep happening, and I’m ok with that. Occasionally, however, my judgments are wrong. Please allow me to give you an example.

Some years back I caught up with my (then-single) cousin Sarah Dozier (nee Brannon) and I put her through the paces of my usual cousin questionnaire: job status, family, marital prospects, etc. When I asked “who, if anyone, should be on my radar right now” she indicated that a gentleman going by “Martin Dozier”, and holding himself out as an attorney - was worthy of further inspection. Some months later I again inquired as to her relationship status and she said “Well, Marty still (I guess) but the jackass won’t pull the trigger.”

Having not yet met the young man in question, my immediate response was: “Get rid of him. It’s been too long. He’s useless and weak.” To which she replied “We’ll see what happens. He better get himself together quick though – that’s all I know.”

Shortly afterward, they were married. I know – because I was there (at the buffet). I know it was a REAL wedding, because they had lamb chops; which (as I understand it) means the bride and groom will live together happily forever – they have to; because if you waste lamb chops for 350 people you’re going to have an ex-father-in-law camped outside your house with a 30-06 until you’re dead.

I know I was happy for a long time in the buffet line, so that’s a good start. Either way – it was a fabulous wedding, but I still didn’t know much about this “Martin Dozier” character except that he had very aggressive hair and an understanding of corporate finance that would blow your clothes off.

To be honest with you – I didn’t get a full grasp of the character that is Martin Dozier until much later. In 2008 we invited Martin to the First Annual James G Ewing and Tripp Maddux Jr. Memorial Deer Camp Squirrel Hunting Championship of the World Invitational Tournament; and gentlemen: Martin Dozier made a man of himself that weekend. Due to his stellar work ethic Martin didn’t show up until after dinner on the first night of The Tournament. By the time he arrived, the majority of the gentlemen present were seated at the bar engrossed in a high-stakes poker game and, quite frankly, I had forgotten he was coming.

Shortly after ten o’clock the door banged open revealing a grim-faced, pinstriped, young man – hair standing on end; steam rising from his heated temples. One hand held a small gym bag sporting the logo of a prominent local law firm, the other; a gallon jug of Maker’s Mark Bourbon.

It was Martin.

He took one tall stride into the room of total strangers, took a long pull from the jug, and loudly announced “Deal me in, boys.”

I can spot good character when I see it.

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