By copyrighting his property as an artwork, he has prevented oil companies from drilling on it.
Peter Von Tiesenhausen has developed artworks all over his property in northern Alberta. There’s a boat woven from sticks that is gradually being reclaimed by the land; there is a fence that he adds to each year of his life, and there are many “watching” trees, with eyes scored into their bark.
Oil interests pester him continually about drilling on his land. His repeated rebuffing of their advances lead them to move toward arbitration. They made it very clear that he only owned the top 6 inches of soil, and they had rights to anything underneath. He then, off the top of his head, threatened them that he would sue damages if they disturbed his 6 inches, for the entire property is an artwork. Any disturbance would compromise the work, and he would sue.
Immediately after that meeting, he called a lawyer (who is also an art collector) and asked if his intuitive threat would actually hold legally. The lawyer visited, saw the scope of the work on the property, and wrote a document protecting the artwork.
The oil companies have kept their distance ever since.
This is but one example of Peter’s ability to negotiate quickly on his feet, and to find solutions that defy expectations.
(It is a busy Saturday night. During the dinner rush, I have been dealing with a table of two 20-something year old men. The blonde one has found something to complain about every time I’ve walked by while the brown-haired one just blushes and stays quiet. They’ve finished their meal.)
Blonde Man: “Are you new here?”
Me: “No, sir. I’ve been a waitress here for two years and three years at [other restaurant] prior.”
Blonde Man: “Then you have no excuse for how terrible this service was. The salad was wilty, and the entree was way too cold, and you were nowhere to be found. Plus, this place is far too noisy; I could barely hear myself speak! Honestly, I get better service at a fast food place.”
Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. While there isn’t much I can do about the noise, I did offer to bring you different food before, but you said no.”
Blonde Man: *waves me off* “Just bring me the check, and try not to be so slow about it for once.”
(I go and get the check, but when I return, the brown-haired man stands up and hands me a $20 bill.)
Brown-haired Man: “Here, this is your tip. He wasn’t going to give you one. As a former waiter myself, I thought you were doing a perfectly fine job. My food was great, and the service was fast even though you’re so busy right now.”
(He turns to his blonde companion.)
Brown-haired Man: “People like you made my job so much worse, especially for making us work that much harder for no tip. So thanks for the meal, but you can go ahead and delete my number because there will be no second date. And by the way,potjevleesch is supposed to be served cold, you idiot.”
(With that, he left the restaurant without his date. It made the whole night worth it, to see that blonde man speechless for once.)