Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brother and Sister Oil

Eric and Anne
The oil boom and ensuing oil bust of the 70s and 80s is long past and seems almost like a dream to me now. I can recount stories about the period for hours, some of them funny and some of them sad, and I still chuckle about one that happened to my then wife Anne and me.

Anne was an oil and gas accountant – a damn good oil and gas accountant. She and I formed a small oil company and began drilling wells. I love the oil business, but Anne was passionate about it. She poured her heart and soul into our company, and I guess so did I.

Caught up inextricably in the bust, we both fought to keep our floundering company. We began a quest for a “white knight,” or at least a responsive banker. Alas, we found neither, but we had a few adventures along the way.

I have often heard that people that live together for a long time begin to look alike. If this is true then Anne and I were identical twins. Why? Because we were together twenty-four hours every day, and we both had reddish-blonde hair.

As Oklahoma oil companies began crashing Anne and I traveled the country looking for a friendly banker. We thought we had found a home with a bank in Los Angeles. On a trip there, we pitched our company, and our souls. The banker, a large man with long hippy hair, a longish beard and John Lennon glasses, listened to our fervent plea with a jolly Santa Claus smile on his large face.

“I’m curious,” he said when we finished our presentation. “How did a brother and sister happen to start an oil company together?”

Neither Anne nor I had a satisfactory response and it didn’t truly matter as his inane remark gave us the answer to the question we had just spent an hour asking.

We never found our white knight, or our friendly banker. Like so many companies during the 80s oil bust, we went belly-up. Yes, the bust is long past and seems almost like a dream to me now. Some of the stories were funny but many, so many, I keep buried deep in my mind until moments such as now when they come bubbling up painfully to a surface still foaming with crushed emotion.

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