Discouraged Sometimes? Meet Private Investigator, Jay J. Armes
|by FC Miller, Profiles Threat CounterMeasures Group
(From the Informed Source Newsletter, published by Profiles Threat Countermeasures Group.)
Every professional goes through his share of frustrations and discouragements. Sometimes, we think were the only ones going through them, but were wrong. Discouragements are part of life, and we have to deal with them. We sometimes get "suckered punched" by Madison Avenues portrayal of "other" lives filled with ease, glamour and success, but those "images" are as phony as a lead nickel! Within the profession, there are guys who struggle because they have the business acumen of a mango, or have physical challenges. Forget the "public relations images" we sometimes stumble over, and let me introduce you to a disappointment and challenge "over-comer," a Private Investigator whos been called one of the worlds greatest PIs.
Excerpting from a commentary:
Excerpting Jay J. Armes:
I was born Julian Armas. I had two brothers and two sisters, and my father worked in a grocery store. We lived in Yselta (Texas) and we werent rich and we werent poor, just everyday normal. I was an ambitious kid, and I wanted to get ahead. I knew the only way to do that was to be like Avis and try harder. By the time I was 11 years old, I had four jobs. I delivered the morning papers on my bicycle, getting up at 4:30 am, then rush to bottle-feed sixty calves for a local farmer before I went to school. After school was out, Id deliver the afternoon papers and then bottle-feed my "babies" again.
After supper, I had a job down at the local movie house where I doubled as an usher and ticket collector. I didnt have any clear idea of what I was going to be or anything, I learned how to take care of myself very early. One of my less savory sidelines was a loansharking operation I ran in school. Id loan quarters to the other kids at the beginning of the week, and collect fifty cents at the weekend when they got their pocket money. Sometimes theyd renege, and Id have to whip them to get paid.
I nearly got thrown out of school when the principal found out what was going on. He made me promise to quit loaning money in school, and I did. I always keep my promises. I started up again on a street corner opposite the entrance to the school, and settled any differences after school hours. By the time I was 12, I had a firm ambition. I wanted to be a doctor. I had a doctor friend, and he answered all my questions patiently, loaned me books, encouraged my interest. I had dreams of myself in white mask and gown, a regular Dr. Kildare. Then all those dreams were shattered, literally blown to bits.
When Jay J. Armes was 12 years old:
My mangled hands were squirting blood like two water hoses. I looked around and saw Dickie running out of the yard. I thought he was running to get help and ran after in him. In fact, he was running in sheer terror. "Dickie!" I shouted in anguish. "Get the car, get the car!" He turned around and looked at me. I must have looked like Satan coming up out of hell.
Dickie ran to the car and yanked the door open for me. He couldnt look at my arms. The pain was coming in sweeping waves. I remember that my blood was squirting so strongly that the windshield become slick and opaque with it, and Dickie couldnt see to drive. He had to wipe the glass clean with his hands. By the time we got to the doctors, Dickie was soaked in my blood as well. At the hospital, the doctor told my father that there was no way they could save my hands.
So they did what they had to do, and I began to realize what had happened to me. I wanted to die. I didnt want to do anything. I just lay on my side and stared at the wall and thought black, black thoughts. "Why me?" I kept thinking. "Why me?" Tears of self-pity would fill my eyes I loathed my own ruined body.
Then one day I realized how totally selfish I was being. I suddenly realized that I wasnt really saying "Why me?" at all. What I was saying was "Why not somebody else?" It was as if someone somewhere had heard my question and told me the answer: "Why not you?" At that moment, the effect was miraculous. I quit feeling sorry for myself. Ive never felt sorry for myself since that day, never felt that I got a rawer deal than the next man. And I vowed that I wasnt going to be just as good as Id been before the accident. I was going to be even better.
I had to learn everything from scratch. All of a sudden, something as commonplace as tying a shoelace became a major engineering feat. I had to be stubborn and refuse to go to the rehabilitation center; I simply wouldnt think of myself as handicapped, needing help. I was going to do it all my way. My way turned out to be the hard way; thats the way I did it. When I got through, I could do a lot more without hands than I had ever done when I had them.
As I said, you could look upon the fact that I have hooks instead of hands as a handicap, but I dont. You are only handicapped if you think you are. Ive spent a lifetime observing people, and I know now, that they set their own limitations, create their own inhibitions. Yet a man can be anything he wants to be, do anything he wants to do, so long as he has a star to steer by. I make no secret of the fact that in my case it is Jesus Christ. Im not proselytizing; I just believe.
When I got started in this business, there were 18 detective agencies in the El Paso area alone. I knew what most people thought of the private investigator. They called him a snoop, a shamus, a gumshoe, a peeper, a dock, and they used the words derogatively, were ashamed if they had to buy his services. I wanted to change all that.
Think of all the things that burn, bruise, break, tear, slice, shred, or mangle the human hand. Armes is impervious to practically all of them. Having hooks instead of hands poses one obvious disadvantage-the man who wears them is hardly inconspicuous, something an investigator often has to be. To offset this, Armes went to the most famous of all the Hollywood makeup men, and gave him a specification: "make a pair of cosmetic "hands" so realistic that even someone sitting next to me wont be able to tell they are artificial." He wears them for "dress" occasions, and for disguise and undercover work, but for everyday, he prefers the hooks. He knows what he can do with them."
Jay J. has been though all the usual ups and down of the profession - dismal
failures and impressive successes. He once used the music from the television
show Dragnet as background for a radio commercial promoting his Private Investigator
business. According to Arms, "I used his music and followed it with the
sound of a womans scream and then her voice saying, "Who are you?
Who are you?" There would be the sound of footsteps, the crash of breaking
We started getting up to two hundred telephone calls a month, and more work than we could handle. I took on additional agents, and set about writing another set of radio commercials, this time with business backgrounds - a boss finding a shortage but unable to trace the miscreants, a store suffering from heavy theft, but not catching shoplifters, and so on. Same exhortation at the end of each one. In a matter of months, we were handling every kind of investigation there was."
Armes then advanced into competitor intelligence, missing persons cases, etc. His missing persons work took him to Christian Brando, the missing son of actor Marlon Brando, which was so highly publicized it projected him to world headlines and world fame. His other clients over the years have included King Faisal, Elizabeth Taylor and husband Richard Burton, actor Richard Widmark, and Howard Hughes.
Armes says of the highly publicized Brando case, "I think there must have been a representative of every newspaper in the world at those hearings. The case, and my part in it, made world news, but back home in El Paso, they had some trouble accepting that Jay J. Armes, who was being called the worlds best private detective" was the same Jay Armes everyone in town knew. You know what they say about prophets being without honor in their own town. I found it was that way for me. "Jay Armes, the worlds greatest private Eye?" theyd say. "How can that be? He grew up right here in El Paso. How did he get to be the worlds greatest private investigator?" Ill tell you this much, it wasnt easy. Theres a song that says that the best things in life are free, but Ive found that most of the worthwhile things are earned by the application of either sweat, time, money or blood. Most of the capers Ive handled have involved the first three. Once in a while it was all four."
The hardest thing at first, is to let people know that you are there, and that youre willing to work harder for them than anyone else. When I got started, I pounded the streets, going from door to door like a carbon paper salesman, doing it the only way I knew how, the hard way. I set up an office with a secretary and wrote letters to every attorney within a hundred miles. I hired ten agents, all expolicemen, and sat back waiting for the work to start pouring in. Nothing happened. There I was with an overhead that would have crippled Lockheed, ten agents eating me out of house and home, and I wasnt being asked to find a missing dog.
Then I hit upon a system that worked. I would go downtown each night and morning, and pick up the newspapers hot off the press. Then, everything that had to do with a crime was clipped, and I do mean everything, the whole enchilada. These cuttings became the foundation of a potential case file. I would send a letter to anyone who had been the victim of a crime, whatever it was, saying that Jay J. Armes was there to help them. I found then, and I still find, that if I talked to people personally, they retained me. There were more than a few who did a double take when they saw that I had hooks instead of hands, They would sit down in my office, plainly wondering if I was competent to handle their problem. I told them I guaranteed results. If I took on a case, I would stay on it all the way down the line. From that day to this, Ive stuck to that rule. Thats why Ive never had an unsolved case.
This article is reprinted with permission from Informed Source Newsletter at www.profiles-threat.com.
Profiles Threat CounterMeasures Group serves clients both nationally and internationally with protective services, training and educational seminars, products, threat assessment evaluations and educational information - from small start up companies to Fortune 500 and 100 companies, to Professional Consulting and Investigative firms, Executive, Dignitary and Tactical Protection Teams, Law Enforcement, Local, State and Federal Governments both domestic and foreign.
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