"People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out."
- Warren G. Bennis
He's the newly elected mayor of Tofino. A successful entrepreneur, an engaged parent and a savvy protector/promoter of the ocean paradise in his front yard. In short, the guy has absolutely nothing to complain about. Life is good, his business is thriving, the future looks exceedingly promising and his surfing skills are improving each year.
Alas, not all is well in Perry Schmunk's world. Though few get to glimpse his pain, Perry nurses a still-bloody wound from a past that he's never really been able to let go. It's all too apparent in his voice when he shares his story. Nostalgia. Regret. Shame. Anger. Fury even. His emotions shake and dance through his words. And you can't blame him. It truly is a remarkable tale.
I mean this guy went from hero to zero in the blink of an eye. Saw a career shatter into a million pieces for no apparent reason. His life was flipped completely upside down. One moment he was managing one of the most exciting and innovative ski schools on the continent. Respected by colleagues; admired by staff — a guy with limitless opportunities. And then: Wham! The next thing he knew he was driving a cab in town and wondering what happened to his job, and how the heck was he going to afford Whistler on a cabbie's salary, and what would happen to his relationship with his four-year old daughter if he couldn't live here anymore?
Chilling story, no? You couldn't come up with a more noir plot if you tried. I mean this one has it all. Pettiness. Betrayal. Dishonesty. It's like an old morality play from the 18th century.
It's just too weird for words. Stripped of his livelihood, virtually bullied out of the mountain town he'd fallen so hard for, the young ski pro with the once golden prospects suddenly found himself out in the cold having to invent a whole new life for himself. Yeow. Talk about harsh.
After a beating like that, most people would have folded their tent, packed up their bags and slunk away in defeat. Hard not to after such a thrashing. But Perry wasn't quite ready to raise the white flag yet. Taking a page from his past, our man Schmunk slowly transformed himself into a twenty-first century version of the old country, guest-focused, high-touch hotelier. Innovative, youthful, ambitious, fun — Perry's a walking, talking, surfing advertisement for the nouveau Tofino that's now just emerging into the world. A man loved and respected throughout the community. A leader. A mentor. A... But wait. I'm getting way ahead of myself again. Why don't we start at the beginning?