Trips & Tales


Das Gelddirektor

by Arthur "Living Legend" Einstein • June 1, 2005


Over the years, since the founding of American Flyers in 1996, a system of accounting for trip expenses has been developed, ostensibly to simplify life on the road.

Commander Kirk (Rich Marin) – also known as the gelddirektor -first proposed this system since he had the technology in hand. Tour members, docile in the presence of the gelddirektor, and his Amazons (Deb, Mardie, Erin) declined to quibble. The original ‘share-and-share-alike’ formula has survived various technology upgrades (IBM, HP, DELL, etc.) and has proved both practical and idiosyncratic (nutso!).

The long arm of Sarbanes-Oxley has not yet intruded itself into American Flyer finances. But who knows? So a little bit of full disclosure seems appropriate before the hammer falls.

The 12 Iron Rules of Marinomics

1. At the end of each AFMC adventure the gelddirektor (Marin) will render a bill to each rider. Don’t whine. Just Pay up.

2. Bills are rendered according to Generally Accepted Marin Accounting Principles (GAMAP). These principles have been certified by Dennis Kozlowski’s personal accountant. Don’t whine. Just Pay up.

3. Your bill represents your share of trip expenses. Note: This isn’t necessarily your fair share. Who said anything about fair? Don’t even think about whining. Just pay up.

4. GAMAP stipulate that expenses are shared by members of the group per capita. Forget the “he-had-the-caviar-and-I-only-had-the-chicken-salad” argument. You had your chance to eat high on the hog and apparently you blew it.

5. Gasoline chits are submitted to the gelddirektor and the total dollar amount is divided by the number of riders. So be sure to pump Super Premium, even if you’re riding a rental bike.

6. If your bike gets 60 mpg and the other guy’s gets only 35 you get the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Get used to it. Life isn’t fair (see law 3 above).

7. When ordering dinners always check the right side of the menu and order the most expensive entrée. The cost of your Maine Lobster will be spread over the entire group and tomorrow morning nobody will remember what you had anyway.

8. Always remember that the difference between the $35 New York Strip and the $8 Hamburger Surprise is chump change when you spread it over a dozen or so riders. And hey, this is not a dress rehearsal for anything.

9. When the sommelier passes the wine list, go for that $125 bottle of Haut Brion. Everyone will compliment you on your wine smarts. And it’s only a few bucks more than that amusing little Gallo varietal at the bottom of the carte. When you spread the few extra dollars over the whole group, going first cabin really doesn’t cost that much more.

10. After eating yourself circular based on principles 7, 8, and 9, you may be tempted to submit your chits for Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers meals to the gelddirektor when you return home. Are you kidding? Fuggedaboutit!

11. On the other hand society has grown more litigious in the 21st century and if the old cholesterol goes off the charts after one of these excursions, who knows. Antonin Scalia looks a little chubby and he may like your argument.

12. Even if you checked stock prices on your Blackberry, used your cell phone to call the office, or had business-related conversations while on tour, AFMC the gelddirektor says this trip is not tax-deductible. But Kenneth Lay probably won’t serve a day and Martha Stewart’s business is looking hot after only 6 months in the slammer. So you may want to consult your tax advisor anyway. Hey, you never know.

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