Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Don't you hate it when someone reads your email over your shoulder? I know it's easy to do but at least pretend you're not reading my email. You don't have to lean forward and put your fat head in my direct line of sight. That's all I'm saying. Be oblique. Employ a little subterfuge. Look up the word 'tact' in the dictionary.

Speaking of tact

When I was in high school I worked for a ski resort in Northern Michigan. Some of you know that. I worked as a houseman in the housekeeping department. This meant I delivered clean laundry to the maids and brought the dirty laundry to the laundry room.

The maintenance department was in the basement right next to the housekeeping office. I worked a lot of nights at the resort (this is why I never did my homework, Mom. I can't believe you and Dad never figured that out) and there was always a maintenance guy on duty also.

The only one I remember is a guy that was probably in his early 20's who had just graduated from college with an electronics degree (so he said). I'll call him Bob since I forgot his name years ago. We got along well and he had gone to the same high school as my step-brother and he would tell me stories about him. I was initially surprised to learn that my step-brother was considered a half-retarded burn out. I always remembered him as being older and more worldly than me. He did get into pot early.

One of the dangers of working in Northern Michigan is that you can get snowed it at work and end up trying to find a place to crash. Not a problem for us that worked at a resort that never had to turn people away. One night it started snowing pretty heavily and Bob had been brought to work by his girlfriend, I believe. She was able to leave early and get back to Traverse City, where they lived together, which was about 25 miles away. Bob had to stay and work his shift. Instead of spending the night like a sensible person Bob decided he had to go home that night. I think he was afraid that if he didn't get home that night he might have to spend the next night at the resort also. He decided to take a cab.

Since this is years before ATM's Bob had no cash for a cab. He axed me if I had any money and I had a twenty dollar bill in my pocket. He asked to borrow. I stutttered and mumbled, scratched my head and said, "I...don't...know." It wasn't that I didn't trust him but in the mid-eighties twenty bucks was a lot of dough. I had never loaned anyone an amount of money that even approached $20. He convinced me it would be OK and I loaned him the dough. At 11 I drove home and he caught a cab to Traverse City.

The snow let up during the night and life went on as usual the next day. I got to work after school and after clocking in went immediately to the maintenance department and found Bob. He was talking to one of his co-workers. I had been fretting over the $20 all the previous night all that day at school. I butted in and muttered something along the lines of "hey...uh, Bob. You got that twenty bucks?" He gave me a nasty look and said, "I'll be with you in a second."

I slunk away and stood outside the door of the maintenance room. A few minutes later he came out and gave me a twenty dollar bill and said, "Man, Eddie you need to learn some tact." He wasn't rude but he was firm and I did learn a lesson in tact. I still have to remind myself of his lesson occasionally when I get impatient. Especially at work.

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