Sunday, July 27, 2008

In my De-fence

Here is the way I see it. Should I wake up tomorrow with a burning desire to speak Italian fluently, I hope I try. I may not get there, but I'll be better for the trying. So I took fencing lessons. It didn't work out as a lifelong pursuit, but that's fine. It's not that I want to be a fencer, it's that I want to be a person who is open to new experiences. As we get older our horizons contract, unless we launch a massive counter attack.

Learning about fencing was lots of fun. For one thing I learned that sword fighting in the movies is a bunch of crap. All offense and no defense. A trained swordsman would kill Errol Flynn in fifteen seconds. I also got to meet some interesting people, and was privileged to view a fascinating culture. Now it's time to move on. That's always been one of my faults; I don't "move on" well.

I'm 51 and I'm trying to learn stuff here! Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Men don't stop playing because they get old. They get old because they stop playing." So I agree with that. There's more important stuff to learn than how to hold a foil, or proper footwork. For me, I have to learn to say, "Well that was nice, what's next?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Driving in Memphis

That was a great tune by that guy, the guy with the song, whatshisname...
"I was driving in Memphis, knuckles white on my steering wheel.
Yeah I was driving in Memphis, watching out for all of the automobiles

Or something like that.

Well, I wasn't watching close enough at 7:15 on 7/17/08. Sitting there at the red light minding my own business. WHAM! right in the back end. Then a car that looked as if it'd been to several demolition derbies pulled around on my left, straight through the red light. I wasn't angry at getting hit, but the getaway kind of defeated my composure. The getaway was not to be.

When the light turned green I followed my new friends closely, and dialed 911 to relay the license number. Following them wasn't very hard. Their front fender was crumpled against the tire. The tire was smoking like an AA meeting, and looked like 35mph was best they could manage.

The 911 operator was telling me not to follow them but that was a waste of her time. They finally stopped at a Target parking lot (kinda ironic in a way) and the passenger took great pains to assure me they weren't running really. Well OK, maybe, I guess. When the Police came I explained I was just too excited when talking to the 911 lady; they didn't actually hit & run, they just hit.

So now my wife's car is in the shop. I'm glad nobody got hurt, they make cars every day... well, not in Detroit I mean. But somewhere on this great planet, somebody makes cars every day.

"I was driving in Memphis"....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Owning our actions

All organizations are similar in some respects, and things like this happen at factories too. Drawing on a decade of managerial experience, I predict the investigation will yield the following responses.

5. No, I clearly remember Bob saying, “I’ll get the door.”
4. If you’d just let me hire more people…
3. Well, what I hate most is it turned out to be a false alarm.
2. But on the positive side, our response time has really improved.

And as a manager, I can guarantee the following response will be heard:

1. This never would’ve happened if you’d have let me buy the shorter truck.