Simple-Minded Behavior About The Value Of Things In North Dakota

I have had this happen to me many times in North Dakota, where I am kind of amazed at the simple-mindedness of people about the value of things.  I can’t really find the right words to express this, other than simple-minded, primitive, or child-like.

To begin describing this, I want to use the example of what I have seen on the television show “Pawn Stars”.  There is a large Pawn Shop located in Las Vegas, owned by Rick Harrison and his father Richard Harrison.  Throughout the day, people bring in items to try to sell to Rick.  On this television show, I have seen the same situation happen many times.  A person will bring in an autographed baseball, photograph, or document, and explain to the Pawn Shop owner Rick, about the famous person who signed it, when and how this happened, and how they acquired it.  Rick will ask how much they want to sell it for, and they might say $3,000.

Rick will reply, the value of this thing, is really in the signature being genuine, do you mind if I telephone a friend of mine who is a signature expert, who can authenticate this signature?  When the signature expert arrives, sometimes, he will say that this is a very nice piece, and actually quite rare, “I can definitely authenticate this signature, and I would say that this might sell at auction for $8,000 to $10,000.”

Rick would then say to the person, how much do you want for this item now?  The simple-minded, primitive, child-like people, say $10,000.  Rick then explains, “Look, the expert said that this might, might, sell at auction for $8,000 to $10,000, you never know what something will sell for at auction, there is no guarantee.  If I buy this item, I have to make a profit on it, and something like this might sit around here for quite a while before it sells, not many people come in here with that kind of money to spend on something like this.  The most I can give you is $5,000.”

To the simple-minded, primitive, child-like people, they can not see the absurdity in this situation, that the item they would have been happy to sell for $3,000 one hour ago, they are now refusing to sell this same item for $5,000.  Thanks to the help and honesty of a knowledgeable person, they discover that the item is worth much more money, and now they are unwilling to part with it.  However, they still have this item, no one to sell it to, and they still need money.

I used this example of what frequently happens on the television show “Pawn Stars”, to begin to explain, that people left on their own, have a view or an idea about how much something is worth, but then when you begin to discuss what they might sell it for, and begin to discuss with them its merits, possibilities, or uses, just the mere suggestion of possibilities to a primitive or child-like mind, makes something they own, grow enormously in price.

There is a recent incident that happened to me, that caused me to want to write this blog post, where something of no use or value to anyone, once I expressed an interest in it, it suddenly became very valuable.  But first, I want to describe a similar situation that will help to explain this most recent one.

I like cars, I read about cars, I do research on cars, I study certain cars, and I understand certain things about particular cars, that most people don’t know.  I look at cars for sale on internet classified ads, salvaged-title car auctions, printed publication car ads, parked cars for sale, and parked cars that are no longer being driven.  Sometimes, I like to talk to car owners about cars that I am interested in, to see what kinds of problems they have had with their cars, so that I know more.

A couple of years ago, on Bis-Man internet classifieds, I kept seeing a red 1987 Porsche 924 up for sale for about $3,000.  This was very interesting to me, because this ad kept getting renewed because this car hadn’t sold and no one wanted it, though the price was low, which indicated to me that no one knew what this car was.

I like Porsche 924, I have one. There are many things that people don’t know about them, all most people think that they know, is that they are slow.  They stopped making Porsche 924 in approximately 1983.  Whenever you see a Porsche 924 for the years 1986 and 1987, it is not a 924, it is a left-over 924 body that the Porsche factory put a 944 engine in. The Porsche factory called these cars 924″S”, they are fairly rare, and faster than 944 cars because they are smaller and lighter.  They will be collector cars very soon.

I called the car owner who posted this advertisement on Bis-Man.  Though he had re-posted this advertisement several times for about a year, he said that I was only the second person ever to have called about this car.  I asked him about this car, and he said that it was in good condition, no body damage, good paint, with not that many miles on it.

Then I explained to him what this car was, with a 944 engine, which he had not fully understood.  I did not want this person to be unaware of what he had, apparently no one in North Dakota knew what this car was.  I was so positive and enthusiastic in my explanation about the merits of this car, that he didn’t want to sell it anymore and he took the ad off of Bis-Man.  This was fine with me, I was glad that he had a new appreciation for this car, and he knew that it was worth more.

I don’t mind losing the opportunity to buy a car, once I have had an honest discussion with the owner about their car, explained why I am interested in it, and what I think the car could be worth.  I don’t want to take advantage of someone in a car sale, and later have to deal with a lawsuit or disputed ownership and title.

I also want to talk with the owner to find out what they know about their car and what they think of their car, so that I don’t insult them with too low an offer.  Many times, I have had to admit that I can’t even make them an offer because it is no where near what they would want.

In other words, I don’t try to convince women and the elderly that a $10K, $20K, …$80K old car is worth only $500 or $1,000.  And I have found some very valuable old cars.  I never even heard of a Porsche 912 until I found a 1968 model in the weeds beside a closed restaurant in Idaho.  I never even heard of a Porsche 911 “Sportomatic” until I found a 1970 model under a tarp in a garage in Idaho.

I was angry today, because a vehicle purchase that I wanted to make, was ruined by what I felt was simple-minded, primitive, child-like behavior.  This past summer, I was working on a road construction project in a rural area far outside of Dickinson.  The highway that I was working on, passed by an old abandoned farm house outside of a very small town.  There were old, beat-up, abandoned vehicles on the property.  However, I recognized one 30 year old vehicle, as being a good one, though nothing about it would make it stand out to anyone else.

I thought about this vehicle from time to time through September, October, November, and December.  In November, I stopped at the gas station in the small town near the old farm house, to ask who owned the abandoned farm, I wanted to contact the owner about a vehicle on the property.  I was given the name of the property owner.

Several days after learning the name of the property owner, I asked an old contractor from the area, if he knew this man.  The old contractor said that he did, and he gave me his phone number.  I called this number twice, but I did not leave a voice mail message because I wanted to talk to the property owner, in order to gauge what his feelings were about my offer to buy this vehicle.

Several days ago, the contractor who gave me the property owner’s phone number, asked me if I had had any luck buying the vehicle.  I said no, I called him a couple of times, but I didn’t leave him a message.  I said to the contractor, I wouldn’t be able to buy this vehicle for a couple of months anyway, I had so many bills due right around the first of the year.

I asked this contractor if he was interested in buying this vehicle, and he said no.  I explained to the contractor several reasons why this was a good vehicle.  The next day, I called the property owner again, this time it appeared as though his Meth-addict teen-aged children were in the home alone, and I couldn’t even get them to answer me one way or the other if this was his home.

Today, I drove by this abandoned farm house, and the vehicle that I wanted was gone.  I would have tried to offer about $500 to $600 for it, because it was a parked and abandoned in a field.  In this area, if the owner would have placed an advertisement in the newspaper, offering this vehicle for $1,000, I don’t think that anyone would have bought it, because there would have been no interest in it.

This vehicle would have just continued to sit there, for ever, had I not said anything about it.  However, once I went through the trouble of finding out who owned the property, trying to call him, and someone found out that I was interested in this vehicle, it went from something that no one noticed and no one wanted, to something somebody had to try to get immediately before I could get it.  This vehicle had no value to anyone, until I wanted it, then it became highly sought after.

10 thoughts on “Simple-Minded Behavior About The Value Of Things In North Dakota

  1. I have found this area to be filled with honest, energetic, hardworking, family orientated people. Opportunities for success are all over. What a great place to live and to have raised my children!


    1. Dear Pastor Simons,

      My first experiences living in Dickinson, were of people living in their cars, though there were miles and miles of undeveloped land that could have been used to allow temporary trailer parks, man camps, or low cost housing. The truth was, that many people in Dickinson looked at this as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of people, far, far from any kind of Christian morality, ethics, or charity.

      During this time, you already had a house to live in, in Dickinson. You did not experience getting chased around town by the police when you tried to find a place to sleep at night, you didn’t experience having to go to the Tiger Truck stop and wait in line to pay $8 to take a shower.

      I have heard your story about your early life in Bismarck, and starting out in Dickinson. Your mother and father, brothers and sisters, your wife and her family, were all from Bismarck, 100 miles away. You did not live through or experience driving alone 1,000 miles to get to Dickinson, not having any friends or family for 1,000 miles, arriving in Dickinson to find no housing available for less than $1,500 per month, no homeless shelter, and no where to stay except for Wal-Mart parking lot, Tiger Truck stop, or the bushes beside the rail road tracks.

      I didn’t know what it was like to be a Black person until I came to Dickinson. Having a good work history in several different fields, a degree in engineering, no criminal record, and being treated worse than local people with Meth addictions and criminal records, because I was from somewhere else.

      I have seen a level of corruption in Dickinson, like no where else. Eric Haider getting killed on a job site in Dickinson in 2012, and OSHA refusing to investigate. Dickinson State University awarding degrees to foreign students who did not complete their curriculum, DSU almost losing its accredidation, DSU Alumni Foundation going into receivership by order of the state, DSU recruiting thug hoodlum athletes, DSU violating EEO laws in hiring, 75% of the complaints in North Dakota for non-payment of wages with the Department of Labor coming from this area, 2 year wait for investigation of Department of Labor complaints, companies in Dickinson with multiple complaints of non-payment of wages and nothing being done, hoax commissions like the Civil Service Commission in Dickinson to address employee complaints to circumvent lawsuits, prominent local businessmen having their criminal records wiped, prominent local businessmen receiving four year sentences for heinous crimes that would have normally resulted in 20 to 30 year sentences. Did you forget about all of these things, or is it easier to just not think about them?

      I don’t trust you Pastor Simons. I have lived here for five years, and I have seen people mistreated, taken advantage of, and kept down. It must be too uncomfortable, too risky, or too much trouble for you to say anything about the Catholic Church in Dickinson operating almost like organized crime here. The priests and the Catholic Church in Dickinson indoctrinating the local people with the belief that the Catholic Church is their supreme ruler, leader, and instructor. Catholics come first, local people come second, everyone else is fit to be taken advantage of. Wealthy Catholic people are more important, their children can receive higher education, then return to Dickinson, and rule over and govern the poorer Catholic people who must be kept ignorant, so that they are more controllable and obedient. You have lived in Dickinson, for what 30 years, and you don’t see this?

      I don’t trust you Pastor Simons, because you appear to want to go along with all of this, because you like the way that things are going for you personally right now.


      1. You shouldn’t pick on Mr. Simons. Even after all of that moving, his son still deals with chronic mental disability to this day.


      2. Rusty,

        I have met Pastor Simons and his family. I have met his wife, his daughter, his son Luke, and his son Ben. I believe that Pastor Simons’ son Ben, has a son who has dwarfism, who is about 4′-0″ tall. Pastor Simons’ daughter is married to a Pentecostal Minister. Pastor Simons’ son Luke recently got elected to the State Legislature. I don’t know which family member you are referring to, who has a mental disability, I am interested to know, because I did not know.

        Pastor Simons, in the comment that he wrote to one of my blog posts recently, and in the way he acts, appears to like things the way that they are, because things are going O.K. for him personally now. He has a nice home, newer vehicles that run and drive O.K., a Harley Davidson, a wife who might even be the primary income earner, and he gets to travel to Honduras when he wants to. Things are going O.K. for him.

        Me, my friends, and acquaintances, experience things like repeatedly not being paid money that we are owed by employers in Dickinson, and having to deal with almost non-functional agencies in North Dakota like the Department of Labor, and North Dakota Job Service. Me, when I have gotten off of work and was playing pool, undercover Dickinson Police officers try to entrap me for being a drug dealer, to try to get me sentenced to seven years in prison, when I neither use nor sell drugs.

        Prominent local Dickinson business men get sentenced to four years in prison for molesting an eight year old girl, while at the same time the Dickinson Police are trying to get Manish Maharjan sentenced to 20 years in prison for not even ever meeting a fictitious 16 year old girl that he never tried to meet.

        Dickinson is so corrupt, and Pastor Simons is happy with the way things are, because his life is O.K.


  2. I don’t like the ad hominem attack. You certainly can make your views known by arguing without such. He used his first name only. Why are you putting his name out here? Do you know that I initially found this site, this blog, when, in a fit of pique I Googled “Dickinson S****”. I had just realized that husband and I had been ripped off in Dickinson (yes, by locals) and I was wishing we could leave. I found your blog and thought your story-telling was often hilarious and I could relate to some of it. Lately, you’re getting meaner. I have a good memory and you may remember I am an avid reader. I pick up on things. Lately, you’re meaner. Comments here make the blog more interesting and you may garner respect when you allow dissent (as you have often done). However, I hate that you’re sharing a name a poster elected not to share.


    1. S,

      There are a number of different reasons why I wrote what I wrote. In the comment that he left for me, he used his full name. There are a number of reasons why I am angry with Pastor Simons.

      After I had lived in Dickinson for about two years, I heard Pastor Simons on his weekly radio program. He sounded knowledgeable and likable. I went to his Church, to see what it was like. His Church was mostly made up of poor people, poor people and criminals that he had invited to his Church through his local jail ministry. There were a few Church members who owned land, as much as 4,000 acres, who began receiving a large amount of oil revenue. Because of the tithing of a few recently wealthy Church members, the Church bank account had grown to nearly $1 million. Yes, $1 million.

      The Church was O.K., Pastor Simons’ sermons were O.K., interesting, or entertaining. I tried to invite several other people to come with me to Church service, but only one older man would come with me.

      During this time in Dickinson, I was trying to help four or five people who were just barely getting by. These four or five people were often having vehicle problems, money problems, employment problems, and health problems. Fairly often, I was driving to go pick someone up or work on their vehicle, loaning someone my truck or my bicycle, giving them a ride, loaning them money, trying to help them find a job, getting them to come and work with me, or getting them to come and live in the house where I was living.

      Then, when I started going to Pastor Simons’ Church, I contributed some money, $100 here and there, more than several times, probably totaling $400 to $500, when I was not making that much money myself. I tried to get several Church members to work with me at my job, or in my self-employment work, after they had made a plea to the Church for help with money, but these three people turned out to be quite a bit of trouble. One of these people that I got to work with me, got kicked off the property by the property owner after one day of work, this property owner was probably the wealthiest person in Dickinson who had a tremendous amount of work to offer. The other two people were a problem and trouble too. Like I said, Pastor Simons’ Church was made up mostly of poor people and criminals who he had invited from his jail ministry.

      In Church, I heard how Pastor Simons’ Church had bought other churches in this part of the country vans, and property to build a church on. I heard how Pastor Simons’ Church had bought two vans for a church in Honduras, then a few weeks later, the pastor of this church in Honduras that had received the two vans, called and asked for a new Honda CRV SUV for himself to drive around in. I thought, “What the Fuck! Send this guy a moped!”

      After about six months of going to Pastor Simons’ Church, I needed a place to park an extra pick-up truck and utility trailer, because my landlord was acting very bad, and I needed to find another place to live quickly. I could rent an apartment somewhere, but I needed a place to park the extra truck and trailer. I told Pastor Simons that I needed help to find a place to park my extra truck and trailer, that I was having tremendous problems with my landlord. Even though I knew that a couple of Church members owned over a thousand acres of land, Pastor Simons was no help at all to me.

      It was as if Pastor Simons was the kind of guy, who wanted me personally to fail and lose what I had, and if he could withhold help when I really needed help, he was happy that he had the opportunity to totally fuck me up. Pastor Simons being no help at all to me, when I actually really needed help, was his big FUCK YOU!, to me.

      Now, Pastor Simons’ recent comment to my blog post about how good things are in Dickinson, only solidifies my opinion of Pastor Simons, that as long as things are going well for him personally, everything is O.K. Pastor Simons is in lock-step with the local people here in Dickinson, no different than the Catholics, in thinking, that because they personally are doing well, that they are righteous, and other people who are not doing well, are less righteous, less good, deserving of what is happening to them, and fit to be taken advantage of.


  3. My comment was in reference to Representative Simons, his son. After watching many of his campaign ads on facebook, etc, and encountering him in public places, I have looked into his eyes, the windows to the soul, and I see nothing but madness, chaos, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the mechanical nature of the world. The beauty, tragedy, of it is that Luke doesn’t seem to be self-aware of his condition, unlike other sleazy politicians that are fully aware of their own character.

    The history of Luke’s rise to power in district 36 is that there was another Republican Rep. Fehr that voted on a single bill in the 2015 legislative session that the Catholics found to be reprehensible. The bill would have codified in law that discriminating against homosexuals in rental housing was illegal. It failed, mostly along party lines. Rep Fehr did the morally correct action and paid the Catholic toll. The caucus voters of dist 36 propped this marionette, boot polish connoisseur to do the dirty work. It also helps that he is a hustler, in the work ethic sense, and he get things done, but misdirected things that he has no clue about.

    I view Luke as a prime example of when the 2 party system can and does fail the citizens. Democratic candidates have soiled their reputation over the past couple of decades on a couple of key issues, so the voters swallow the poison of the Republicans…even if it doesn’t kill as quickly.


    1. Rusty,

      The first comment that you made, about what Pastor Simons wrote to me, and what I wrote back, I had suspected that you might have been making a reference to Luke. Luke has had some difficulties. In Church, Luke got up and explained some of the difficulties that he had had, which were quite big.

      In about 2015, Luke lost the ability to walk, talk, or move for several months. He was hospitalized in a critical care unit of the hospital in Bismarck for about two months. He was later diagnosed with a rare disorder called “Frenchmen’s Polio”. He was unable to work for at least six months, and his hospital bills were astronomical.

      Luke has a wife, three daughters, and one son. From what Luke got up and told in Church, he had a very frightening financial struggle. I do not think that the Church helped him very much at all financially, but Luke seemed to be saying that a few of the Church members personally gave a lot.

      This made me mad. If Pastor Simons would have taken Church money to pay for all of Luke’s bills, I don’t think that anyone in the Church would have disagreed or objected. If Pastor Simons would have recused himself, and allowed the Church to vote on it, I think that the Church would have unanimously voted to pay for all of Luke’s bills. I don’t think that Luke, Luke’s wife, or Luke’s children should have had to suffer fear or doubt for one minute about being provided for. Especially since the Church’s bank account had grown to nearly $1 million.

      On the one hand, during this time the Church had bought two vans for a church in Honduras, and then a couple of weeks later the pastor of that church in Honduras was asking for a Honda CRV SUV for himself, and meanwhile Luke, his wife, and his children were going through the house and the cars to collect enough change to buy food because they were completely destitute.

      Luke is different, but I kind of like Luke. I wrote a blog post about Luke, comparing him to the television character the “Virginian”, the foreman of the Shiloh Ranch near Medicine Bow, Wyoming.

      I liked Luke when he was humble. About two months ago, I watched a video that Luke had made of himself that he posted to Facebook, where he was supposedly having coffee on his front porch and was talking about property rights. In this video, Luke was acting kind of pompous and arrogant, like John Wayne or something, and this was kind of disagreeable.

      The reason why Luke was speaking about an individual’s property rights, was because Luke had taken the side of a local farmer and rancher named Dassinger in the Gladstone area, who was cited for neglect and abuse of seventy horses and twenty cattle on his property, which were seized. The determination of neglect and abuse, was made by a veterinarian after an examination was made of the animals, which claimed malnurishment, dehydration, and untreated parasites.

      Both the supporters and the opponents of the rancher Dassinger, did not dispute that the horses and cattle were underfed, dehydrated, and suffering. The local farmers and ranchers, for the most part, want government to stay out of how someone operates their own farm, and if they are unable to feed and water their horses and cattle due to a drought, and choose to wait it out, knowing that some animals will make it, and some will not, that is their decision to make, without any outside interference. They are running a business, and these animals are their live stock, their property, and they have the right to make their own decisions about their property, not someone else.

      I can see how Luke would look at it this way, that local farmers and ranchers would look at it this way, and that Luke would have to be on the same side as the people who elected him. However, to me, this is kind of insane, for people to be on the side of not intervening when animals are being neglected and will likely starve to death.


    1. S,

      The commentor “Rusty Shackleford” left his first comment to my blog after reading what I wrote about David Armendariz’s disputed termination with the City of Dickinson as the Street Maintenance manager. At first, I thought “Rusty Shackleford” was his real name, so I reduced his name to R.S. on his comment. I never watch “King of The Hill”, and I did not know anything about the character “Rusty Shackleford”.

      You should go back and read the comments left by R.S. or Rusty Shackleford, beginning with the ones he left to the blog posts about David Armendariz. Rusty Shackleford is from North Dakota, he is a registered professional engineer “P.E.” of civil engineering, and he thinks that my blog posts are funny. He does not mind that my blog posts are critical of North Dakota.

      He found my blog website, after he found my YouTube videos on my YouTube Channel “Living In Dickinson58601”.

      I thought that Rusty Shackleford was one of your husband’s friends.


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