As I was surfing the web for any sign of life in the job market, my attention was captured by WGN, because they had begun the greatest film of all time, Road House.
Now I could go on about many aspects of the Patrick Swayze classic, from “How did a New York bouncer get so famous that waitresses know him by one name in Missouri?” to “Is there anything lower than throwing a bottle at a blind guitar player because he has to take a bathroom break?”. I could argue that Dalton’s three rules (Don’t underestimate your enemy – expect the unexpected; Take it outside; Be nice) are the only creed a man needs, as he strives toward the Zen-like state where “Pain don’t hurt”.
But, this time, I was most struck by what a sweet deal Dalton has. I mean, I know he’s at the pinnacle of his profession, undebatable after Wade Garrett dies, but he seems to be more than well compensated. There’s much we don’t know about Dalton (like his first name), so we have to make some educated guesses. He takes the job at the Double Deuce for $5,000 upfront, $500 a night and full medical. He makes it clear that once the joint is cleaned up, he’ll move on.
There’s no real sense of how long it took to clean up the Double Deuce, but let’s estimate three months. It also isn’t clear what $500/night means…is it for every night he’s in town, or every night he’s actually working? Let’s split the difference and pay him for 6 nights a week. That comes to about $45,000 for three months work, including the initial bonus.
This is a windfall, especially when you take into account that he has almost no expenses during this time. He lives in a spacious, stylish barn lodge with a lake view…for $100 a month, which presumably includes utilities. He doesn’t have to worry about paying the bills for all the stitches he requires. Overall, the cost of living in Jasper County, MO is 70.57 (100 is average for the U.S.)…assuming it was similar in 1989, his food and entertainment costs have to be pretty low (although I’m guessing Dalton is willing to pay more for organic food). He purchases a 1965 Buick Riviera for his enemies to trash…the Blue Book value is $925-$6,110 today, so for a beat-up one in 1989, he wasn’t paying more than $1,000. He might carry insurance on his Mercedes 560 SEC Coupe, but then again, Dalton may not be an insurance type of guy. He’s also insists on being paid in cash, so I’m guessing he’s not a taxes type of guy either.
Dalton seems to be a hard-worker, but also the type of guy who does some serious traveling. So, let’s assume that takes at least three months off a year to study Tai Chi in Asia or hike up to Machu Picchu. We’ll split the other nine months between three separate jobs. That’s $135,000 Dalton makes a year…to be a bouncer…in 1989. That’s almost $250,000 in 2010. For some perspective, the median salary for a physician is $150,00 and for a lawyer is $90,000. Not bad for a blue-collar job requiring no education or training.
So, if there’s anybody out there looking for a cooler, I’m willing to do it for the discount rate of $85,000. I know I’m no Dalton, but I could do at least 1/3 as good a job. And, I’m pretty sure I’m this close to being able to kill a guy by ripping out his throat.