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AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR • Januar y/Februar y 2014 13 BOTTOM LINE FOR ME Painting and writing are pretty much the only two things in my life that ever came naturally to me. I have just always been able to do them – prolifically and prodigiously with relative ease. Not a par- ticularly glorious calling, but I was always taught that when the chips are on the table, you play the hand you were dealt. For each of us paint contractors, every day, the chips are on the table. That is the poker game of paint con- tracting. And that is why I have learned to love this economy, this time in which we all conduct business. Sure, it rocked my boat a little when the first couple of recession waves hit, and I headed for what histori- cally had been the safest harbor. For me and my business, it was new construction painting: I can do it in my sleep. Eighteen months into it, I decided that the safe har- bor doesn't really move forward. Safe har- bors imply retreat. Sometimes the best thing to do is what everyone else is NOT doing. One thing I have learned in more than 20 years of paint contracting at a pretty high level is that you can't get so attached to something that you can't turn and walk away from it in 30 seconds when you feel the heat coming around the corner. Robert DeNiro said that in his role as Neil McCauley in the movie Heat (1995). It holds true in most situations. I have written literally thousands of words in this column on my own laments about the apparent decline in craftsman- ship in paint contracting, and why we can't let it die. These laments have includ- ed editorials about lowballers, hacks, trunk slammers and everything that keeps us all pulling our hair out at night. The craftsmanship pieces generated the handwritten response to me from Norman Patton, which I shared in APC's December 2013 issue. I received many requests at topcoatreview.com to share the Norman Patton formulas that I had referenced in this column. It was an honor and a very encouraging sign to see the level of interest in that histor- ical info. From the Field See Advertiser Index on Page 38 Find archives of From the Field at www.paintmag.com.