Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Braggadocio, Swagger, Arrogance...

The thing that I miss the most nowadays in our American Swoon is the ability to brag. Our chests are not thrust out like a proud tom turkey. Americans have always been the swaggering young upstart amongst the established countries of the world because we proved them wrong. Our way was the best. We established a standard that no one had ascended to before, besides the Romans, maybe. And now, we seem to be a post-Nero Rome. And we all know who our Nero was.

Some will excuse away everything that our past President, Vice President, and assorted goons have done to dirty our reputation. Where once we were shining princes coming to the rescue of our Allies, we are now the Bully of the world. Where once we only responded forcefully to real threats, we now (or rather, the past 8 years), instigated warfare (the "Bush Doctrine" that Sarah Palin now knows).

Countries of the world thought that they had mis-judged us. Where we were once the amiable big brother, we were now the abusive bigger sibling that gave wedgies to weaker brethren. Gave 'swirlies' to freshman dweebs. But, that's all changing. Thanks to some 'real people' in the White House.

Right Wing finger-pointers have made fun of the Obamas during this sojourn to Europe. I see it as sour-grapes from Republicans who have gotten the cold shoulder from former allies for years. Every video and clip that I've seen from this trip has been of leaders of other countries welcoming the humanity and realness of our First Couple. Maybe we can get back to where we once were.

Friends, Allies, Hope for the Future. It all looks good so far. Unless you listen to Right Wing Radio. They'll tell you Michelle Obama's arm around Queen Liz is a major Faux Pas. I saw it as a response to Liz's warm first contact.

I also see it as a first thawing of the frosty relations that we've had since we blew it after 911. And I'm Optimistic for the first time in around six years.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To Those That I Want To Succeed

There are times that I don't really care who survives these tumultuous times. I deal with so many restaurateurs and managers daily that some blend with the others. There are many rumors going around about which restaurant is on it's last legs and those that are teetering on the precipice. I take the rumors with a grain of salt and go on. And then there are those instances where I actively root on those with the balls to start up a concept in these trying times. Last week, my new champion walked into my life.

Ordinarily, I tend to write off the 'concessionaires' who come in. They are ordinarily 'Mr. and Mrs. Joe-Sixpack' who think they have the best barbecue around, or the best funnel-cake, or the best what-ever. They have checked out the used equipment purveyor here in town and come in with quotes and scribbled notes about what they need.

This past week, I got a new customer. She is, shall I say, the most fun that I've ever had with someone who is starting their own business. Ida was the funniest, sunniest, most bubbly personality that I've dealt with in the almost two years I've been dealing with in this industry. She had the obligatory legal pad with notes about what she needed and quotes from other purveyors. But, she was special.

When I met her half-way in the door, she was smiling and it lit up the room. Usually when a new customer comes in, they are awe-struck when they see the expanse of stuff that we offer. She was just so giddy about being there, that it made my 'see customer, smile obligatorily' grin open to a half-chuckle. It didn't matter that she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with food stains, or her half-grown out weave. Her happiness was infectious, and I was smitten. And willing to help her in any way that I could.

She had a small concession stand and would be offering gumbo, burgers, and other similar wares in a good location close to the military base. I whittled down her needs and gave her some numbers that she was very happy with.

I wrote up a sales order and she wanted to pay right away, even though it would take a few days to get her items in stock. (Now that's our kind of customer!) I would have one of her items in two days and she told us that when she came in to pick it up, that she would bring in a sample of her gumbo. Double bonus!

Well, she did come in, and she brought in the sample. Two quart containers of gumbo with crab claws, a container of rice, plenty of Styrofoam plates, spoons, napkins, and crackers. I was flabbergasted, as were all my drooling co-workers. Not to mention the gumbo was very tasty. This was a first, as far as someone bringing in all the essentials. She had her act together. And she made some very good contacts in the process.

I certainly hope that Ida makes it good. I hope that she has so much success, that she will spread her joy and friendliness far and wide. She certainly brightened my week.

For that is what we need nowadays. Forget chain arogantness and mediocrity. We need more Idas and the happiness that is cooking good food and having fun doing it.

Friday, February 13, 2009 update.

Sorry to those who may check in from time to time. I try to write, I want to write, I need to write. I start to write, and it all seems so banal. I used to think my writing was pithy, humorous, and timely. Hmpthhh. I guess that I'm my own worse critic. And there's so much more important things happening that it all seems so inconsequential. Anyways...

I finally found out last week that my polyps were benign and I don't have to go through the Hell that is Colonoscopy prep for 5 more years. I guess my hopes and prayers were answered and I inherited my dad's genes and not my mom's. Except for the addictive personality traits. Damn the gene pool.

So, I guess that I can breathe freer and not worry so much about the cancer link on my mom's side of the family. As far as my dad's side, I only have to worry about Alzheimer's, heart disease, and Parkinson's. Smooth sailing, indeed.