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Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business
Check the Gs The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business Author:Ray Shasho At an age when most kids are just getting rid of the training wheels on their bicycle, Ray Shasho entered into a crazy world of secret lingo and bullying sales tactics at the Chin Lung Art Gallery, his father's retail store on the corner of Thirteenth and F Street in Washington, DC. Check the Gs is the true story of how this bizarre family busin... more »ess changed his world forever. Raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and Syrian Jewish father, Shasho made his first sale at the age of six and never looked back. Life in the family business (and in the Shasho family) was never boring. From FBI interrogations to angry mobs, each new day at the Chin Lung Art Gallery brought with it new adventures. Check the Gs tells a story for everyone who is proud their family and heritage but not afraid to laugh at its many eccentricities, and for anyone who has ever worked in retail and experienced its humorous situations and misadventures.« less
Reed S. reviewed Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business on
Ray Shasho has quite a memory, especially when it comes to what songs played on the radio during important times throughout his youth. Combining his nostalgic recant of Billboards Top 100, like some infomercial for a Time-Life Oldies CD collectors set, along with his detailed whimsical recollections while growing up, and you have the soundtrack for a truly enjoyable story called Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business.
Spiraling like a 33 rpm vinyl record around his fathers retail gift store in Washington DC, a block away from the White House, Ray began his career at the age of 6 (going on 16), when he put down the Windex and paper towels to sell a pair of shades to his first customer. Ale-Say, Pig Latin for sale, was said by the guys comical and secretive comments hollered around the store owned by his dad and his uncle ~ both identical twins. Between Cuban slang, Spanish, mathematical pricing algorithms, made up words, and yes, Ig-Pay Atin-Lay, the atmosphere in the store was as clouded with unrevealed slang to thwart customers understanding the pricing of merchandise as the perpetual second-hand smoke laid a fog from the owners cigars. What a tumultuous time in this countrys history. The babies were booming, the racial tensions post Kennedys and Martin Luther Kings assassinations threw the USA into a riot driven country. However the dollar had value. The store had radios, TVs, cameras, binoculars, rings and jewelry, souvenirs and you name it all stocked behind sparkling clean glass cabinets, with shelves higher than can be reached without a ladder and items displayed in the front window precisely as a masterpiece of jigsaw placement.
Ray, raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and a Syrian Jewish father was 100% street smart. What impressed me most was when Ray was older, so did his style of writing change into a more mature written voice. For example, his early years, the first third of Check the Gs, had observations as seen through a kids perspective. I actually felt a kid was narrating the story in first person! Yet as Ray matured, his storytelling had more to do with his meeting all sorts of people, falling in love, but still selling gadgets, and making a PR (profit).
Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! Its a great gift for your over-the-hill friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.