Hell of a Guy
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Something Fun, for a Change…


Within the past couple of days this website saw its 31,000th hit.  To celebrate this I have decided to compose something lighthearted but thought provokingly laughable, and maybe even funny.  Now all I have to do is to think of something.  So here goes….

Things on my “To Do” list:

1.  I am going to declare my vegetarianism at an end on August 11th of this year.  Why?  Just so The Nancy will not have to tell everyone when we go out to someone’s home or to a restaurant that it is what I am.  I hate it when people have to plan around my dietary considerations.  Now this doesn’t mean I will immediately or ever take up eating critter.  I still believe one of the reasons I have not been sick in the last twelve years (actually it won’t be twelve years until August 11th, but I am rounding up) is my shunning of animal flesh.  So, come August, if you invite me to dinner, do not cook around me.

2.  Fix the bathroom door.  Do any of you, if you are old enough, remember the Ma and Pa Kettle series of movies?  Pa Kettle was a slightly built, skinny little man.  Ma Kettle was the family authoritarian.  She was large and robust, with a man-sized voice and a hearty laugh.  They had about a million children of all ages.  The Kettles, in one movie, lived on a farm.  Their farm was in a state of complete disrepair, everything needed some kind of fixing.  Every time something fell off or fell down, or broke off, Pa Kettle would say, “I need to get to that someday.”  Now the door of the bathroom that is part of our master bedroom doesn’t close well.  Something with the little gizmo that comes out of the doorlock and into the door frame - you know the male looking thingy into the female looking thingy - is messed up.  It is off about an eighth of an inch and doesn’t catch unless you slam the door hard or pull up on the handle as you close it.  Well, The Nancy and I about it each time we go in the door.  We make a mental note it needs to be repaired and instantly forget about it as we exit the bathroom.  I need to get to it, one of these days, but not right now.  Right now I am busy, but I will make a mental note of it.

3.  I have my company’s annual meeting coming up next month.  I have made myself a promise to lose a little flab between now and February 18th.  While none of the other attendees give a healthy crap whether or not I gained a couple of pounds (okay – about fifteen, but that is still just a couple of couples), it is always nice to hear someone say, “My, are you losing weight?  You look great!”  I like that, and since the annual meeting is about the only time of the year I give a real shit about how I look, it’s time to begin.  Actually I began the weight loss program on January 3rd and I dropped a little weight in the process, but five days of denying me the epicurean delicacies I love to shove into my oral cavity in copious amounts was about all I could stand.  I altered my program - euphemism for “chucked it out the window” – and soon gave way to renewing my beer consumption to its pre-January 1st Resolution.  I am now on a weight gain program.  The proof is in lack of breathing room in my newly acquired trousers with the waist measurement of forty inches.  I do refuse to ever purchase pants with a forty-two inch waist, and that is a promise to me that will never be broken…at least in the near future.

4.  One of my Resolutions for 2007 is to complete the painting of the walls in our basement.  Just so everyone knows I don’t always renege on these promises to myself, I have made a conscious effort to start the painting, and I did.  I started it and thus far I have about finished about 1/8th of the job.  I ran out of ambition.  Painting on hold until I can refill my ambition tank.

This thinking is way too exhausting for an old guy like me.  I need to rest now.  So, that is all I have to say about that….

Friday, January 26, 2007

My Flight to Seattle - January 22nd


Another day, another flight, or so it seems.  This one is propelling me at 450 miles per hour toward Seattle, Washington and the “opportunity” to listen to about a dozen poor souls beg for the chance to work for my company.  I get to play a part in their future, yea or nay!  It is an awesome responsibility of which I have never given much thought.  I’ll have to dwell on this one for a moment.

In the meantime, here I am again thousands of feet above the earth’s surface, which at this time is hidden beneath a sea of rolling clouds.  This Airbus 320, kept aloft by the science of Bernoulli’s Principle…it’s the air passing over the wings that allows this overweight boat to stay air born, aided by the pressure of the air passing beneath it.  The whole concept is really quite simple; right?

It was dark and dreary at ground level, while up here – I ‘m paying little attention to the bumps caused by occasional unstable air – the air is crisp and clean and oh so very clear.  The god of flight has seen to it the middle seat in this row remained unused, especially when the others are all occupied.  Not sure if this is luck or if I created it.

Create?  I am taking credit for the Colts making it to the Super Bowl.  I told The Nancy early on in the game that an interception would advance the Colts.  I also saw the Colts scoring twenty-one quick points.  Your appreciation is all that I need.  Please, do not send money.

Okay, I thought about it.  Tomorrow at 8am our first victim…I mean candidate, will walk through the door to the room in which the interviews will be conducted.  Almost before the candidate says a word, half our decision will be made.  Who says appearance and bearing don’t matter on the job?  It means much more than any of us ever realize.  It’s one reason we all need to dress for success and purport ourselves, always, as professionals, regardless of what kind of jobs we have.

That’s easy for me to say.  I work in a one man office and see no one for days and sometimes weeks at a time.  I get to create a mental picture to those who call me that I am dressed in my best and finest professional attire – Armani, etc – just by how they perceive my voice over the phone.  Think, for second, how you visualized the people doing telemarketing looked as you spoke to them during your supper or as you watched your favorite TV shows?  . 

These folks coming to see me tomorrow are nervous and jumpy.  They all know they will try to BS me into believing the person on the resume is actually the one sitting across from me.  One thing I have learned in the process of interviewing hundreds of people over the past twenty-one years is that they will lie at the drop of a hat during the interview, especially sales types.  One just has to weed through the superfluous adornments and get down to the nitty-gritty.  There have been times when I fell for the lies, when someone put it over on me, when I got suckered.  Mistakes happen in hiring.  Hopefully, this time will be the norm and not the exception.  I have made mistakes, but not many.  A number of the people I have hired are still with the company.  A few have even gone on to be promoted.  I am proud of that.

So here I am, 35,000 feet above the earth, seemingly floating to Seattle, where I will have a profound affect on someone’s life.  Who would have ever thought it?

And that is all I have to say about that…

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Catharsis: My Flight from Los Angeles


It may seem I have to fly a lot these days to some of you who read my garrulous ramblings, but I really do not.  It just seems to come in spurts.  Monday, I get to travel to Seattle for a few days.  Business has taken me on a few planes of late.  While my last post whined about the ills of air travel, especially flights with small children on small airplanes, the one I was on yesterday was a tad different.

I flew to Los Angeles last Monday and was there for three days of company meetings.  You know the kind; the ones where one has to suck up to the boss and bosses, just so they think we love and agree with them and respect their authority and their wisdom, we feed their egos and polish their shoes with the vomit of praise we heap on them.  Actually, all kidding aside, I stuck that in because I know mine will probably read this, or at the very least, someone will share it with them.  The meetings were really good (wink, wink).

My flight back began with a taxi ride to LAX at 5:30am after a night of tossing and turning trying to remember if I had set an alarm, which I rarely ever do or if I had really asked the front desk for a wakeup call.  The night left me groggy and dragging.  My flight time was 8am, but this is LAX and one never knows what to expect as far as crowd is concerned.  I have been there when the lines to get through the security screening seemed to go on for miles, and also when the lines were non-existent.  Friday was one of those days, no lines.  I was in a seat at the gate sipping a cup of Starbucks coffee within minutes of arriving at the airport and the clock on my cell phone read 6:09am.  I had almost two hours to kill.  Eventually the flight, United 946, was called and I took my assigned window seat in row 17, just behind the bulkhead at the rear of the first class section of the Boeing 777.  I, of course, was in Coach, but nonetheless, I had a great seat with a window looking out over the leading edge of the wing.

United Airlines provides each customer with a set of headphones.  Their planes receive satellite radio broadcasts and one of the channels plays New Age music.  I immediately found that station and even before the plane left the gate was being soothed with ethereal pieces so thoroughly appropriate for my mood.  I closed my eyes as the big bird rolled down the runway and took off out over the Pacific Ocean and I fell off into a deep sleep.  I am not sure how long I slept.  I don’t usually sleep for very long when I do doze on a plane, but this time my week caught up with me and I believe I must have been out for about an hour or so.  I was awakened by a voice in my ear telling me I could purchase a breakfast snack box with cheese and fruit in it for $5.00. 

As I came out of my sleepy stupor a particularly pleasant sound, almost angelic, was reverberating through the headset and into my ears.  My eyes began to open, as my head turned to the window.  The 777 was now about 30,000 feet above the surface.  The sun was up and illuminating the world.  The sky above was a beautiful array of light to dark blues, and just below the plane was a scattering of puffy, white clouds suspended over the quilt-like surface of the snow covered farms below them.  I was unable to take my eyes away from it and the more I gazed at it the more peaceful I became.  I was so thoroughly happy I was nearly overwhelmed with emotion.  And now I realize the feeling was nothing more than love.  I am overwhelmed with a love of all things.

Am I alone with thoughts like this?  I don’t think I am.  Two years ago in my search for God (but after it was revealed to me that all things are God) this Love took hold of me.  My emotional sensitivity went through the roof.  I have been brought to tears about things I would have laughed or snickered at just a couple of years ago.  I think I have always been kind of a emotional weenie, but, as with most boys, I was taught, or assumed I was, that boys don’t cry and most certainly do not display emotion.  Isn’t funny how some crap sticks to us as we grow up and stays with us as adults?

I have been reading a book by James Redfield, Michael Murphy and Sylvia Timbers entitled “God and the Evolving Universe”.  I am into some deep stuff these days.  Two passages came to mind as I gazed out the plane’s window:

Jalaluddin Rumi wrote: “For ages I knocked at God’s door, but when it opened at last, I saw I was knocking from the inside.” 

Beatrijs of Nazareth (ca. 1230-68) wrote:  “When love for God is awakened in the soul, it joyfully arises and stirs itself in the heart.  The heart then is so tenderly touched in love, so powerfully assailed, so wholly encompassed and so lovingly embraced in love that the soul is altogether conquered by love.  Then it feels a great closeness to God and a spiritual brightness and a wonderful richness and a noble freedom and a great compulsion of love, and an overflowing fullness of great delight.  The soul feels that all its senses and its will have become love, that it has sunk so deeply and been engulfed so completely in love that it has entirely become love.  Love’s beauty has adorned the soul, love’s power has consumed it, love’s sweetness has submerged it, love’s righteousness has engulfed it, love’s excellence has embraced it, love’s purity has enhanced it, love’s exaltedness has drawn it up and enclosed it, so that the soul must be nothing else but love and do nothing else.”

I hope this gives you something to think about?   

And that is all I have to say about that…

Friday, January 12, 2007

My Flight to Myrtle Beach


The title gives the plot away, doesn’t it?  Well, I am on an airplane heading from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  That is, me and several families with small children.  The children are being children, especially the smaller ones.  Unfortunately for me, and the other passengers without children, this is not a pleasant experience.  Kids are crying in front of me and kids are crying in back of me.  When one stops, another begins.  It is a full orchestra, with high pitched instruments, woodwinds, percussion section and even a screechy string section.  This is not classical music I am listening to, this is heavy metal, gangsta rap or something in that genre.  One little guy has quite a range and the decibels are way up there.

I love kids.  I have expressed that on this website a couple of times.  My joy level goes up 99.99% of the time when I am around little guys.  But on an airplane I am a little on edge when a kid is screaming off and on for a couple of hours.  I should add this to my list of things that piss me off.

As I sit in my cramped seat by the window of the outmoded, propeller driven antique that Delta put me on, my eyes get a little droopy.  I tend to doze off here and there.  I could hear the little angels as my mind meandered to that soft place we go to when we sleep.  I so wanted to stay there but was drawn back into reality with the shrill voices of about four of these little darlings at once; two behind me, one in front and another just to my right across the aisle.  I almost immediately had nefarious thoughts of what small children would look like skydiving.

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