"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Friday, May 18, 2012

Obsessed with efficiency

I hate for people to have to wait for me to finish; be it paying at the check out counter, ordering my Egg McMuffin at the drive thru or getting gas at the pump.

May I also say, I hate waiting for inefficient people.

For instance:  when you're going thru the check-out line at the grocery store, sooner or later you'll have to settle the bill.  It seems to me that with just a modicum of foresight you could be ready with your credit card, or cash, or checkbook as the cashier finishes ringing up your items.  So, when I start getting rung up, I immediately step to the swiping device for the credit card and complete the swipe while the cashier is still ringing up the items.  I'm pretty much set to go before the cashier finishes.  And then there are the others who sometimes appear shocked that the last stage of the grocery buying experience is for them to pay.  All of a sudden they're checking their pant, looking thru their purse or fumbling with their wallet as the whole process comes to a dead halt.  Now is it just me or do you also get a little irritated when people seem ill-prepared to follow thru with their responsibilities.  It's not like they haven't done this before.   OK, I admit I'm a little over-the-top with the efficiency thing but puhleese people, can some of you just add a little anticipation to your routine.  It will make a number of us much happier.

I go to work early and some mornings I order an Egg McMuffin from the local Mickey Dees.  An Egg McMuffin is relatively healthy choice if your going to have a fast food breakfast.  At 5:30 a.m., you'd think there wouldn't be much traffic going thru McDonald's and you'd be right.  But by 5:30, any servers have long since lost the ability to focus and move efficiently and then people are still having trouble deciding what to order from the clown face.  More than once I've been the second car in line and waited 10 minutes for my Egg McMuffin.
If there are 3 cars in front of me, I just drive off; I don't even bother to order.  It's not going to be efficient.

My "funniest" McDonald's fast food incident happened about 3 months ago.  There were these two young adults of a more relaxed ethnicity ahead of me in a 25 year old Ford and they are jawing back and forth with the clown face trying to make up their minds.  Finally, their order is in, they pull around the corner up to the window.  I've ordered my E.M. and wait my turn.  Well the cashier is at the window, they're all talking, the two young men have obviously made an order change and I'm thinking this could be awhile.  Suddenly, around the corner a car screechs into a parking space, a youngish lady hops out and runs over to the order window yelling her car is on fire.  Well I see steam, not necessarily  smoke and certainly no flames.  The two young guys in front of me promptly turn of their engine,  jump out of their car  and run over to the other car to participate in the fun and festivities.   I'm yelling to myself, "NOOOoooo.  Move your CAR!"  Well, that wasn't happening, I actually just gave up and drove off leaving behind an Egg McMuffin.  I really hate to do that but I had no confidence at all that I could pay for and receive my order before the inevitable fire engine arrived 15 minutes later.    AWKWARD.


My family moved to a new city in 1982 and I made a bunch of friends the 8 years I worked for the school.  Last night I got to see a bunch of them.

Gene , Sandee, Jim , Ruth, Jarod and Tim.  My friend Nev , David , Jim  and Sandy.  Dennis and Joyce  and their son Danny.  Dave and Suzie and their daughter Ashley, Ron , Dave , Brad , Rusty , Tim, Sharon ,  Ben , Ron, and Hal .  It was nice to see Sherri  who brought order into my chaotic years when I traveled weekly to help out.  It was also a blessing to see the Sajjahs.

These wonderful people have enriched my life.  May God continue to bless them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Johnny Carson; a final sadness

PBS had a special on Johnny Carson's life in 2012.  They interviewed friends, other comedians who knew him and even one of his ex-wives.  It was a fair and fascinating glimpse of a man who was immensely famous but increasingly private.  He had 4 failed marriages (he and his last wife never divorced but they ended up apart), he was never close to his sons  (his middle son was killed in a car accident on the Southern California roads), and at the end of his life he had about 4 friends left.  He was a serial womanizer and he spent much of his last years sitting on his back porch in Malibu staring at the sea.  He really did become a hermit; probably a natural situation for a man who could never have  privacy any other way.
He battled alcohol through-out his adult years; turns out he was a) a mean drunk and b) had bigger problem than Ed McMahon.
Emphysema took him at age 79.  He chose not to fight  the ravages of the disease caused by a lifetime of smoking.
He was generous, gave many people or organizations monetary gifts; and left $156 million to be distributed; a sizable amount.
He died, rich, incredibly famous and pretty much alone.  It was a sad ending.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In honor of Edwin Heppner

My freshman year at a small Christian college did not go well.  I was invited to NOT RETURN by the Dean of Men predicated by my "D" plus average and my really sucky attitude.
The one bright spot of the year was being a part of the Chorale.  We sang some great music and we also performed at various churches all dressed up in our Tuxs etc.  I was a very average baritone.  Average was my specialty.
The director was Mr. Heppner, a small dapper guy with a great tenor voice and a very nice wife. I did think, and do think many years later, he was an excellent chorale director.  Periodically I tried to track him down but with no success.  Then last week I was thinking of the chorale and decided to use the internet - specifically whitepages.com.  There were 3 people listed with his specific name and two of them were too young, according to the WhitePages.  So I decided to take a chance, spend a dime and call the one who lived in Arizona.  BINGO, I got him.  His wife answered the phone, I asked if this was the Heppner residence and if Mr. Heppner ever lead a college choral group.  She said, "Yes indeed, let me put you on."
I spoke with Mr. Heppner for about 5 minutes.  I knew he had left the college but didn't know why.  It turned out he had a very bad back and was increasingly unable to stand and lead choirs so he retired from that profession and became a driving instructor.  He said he had a seat especially made for him and it had worked out fine.  ( He ended up having a couple of different back surgeries and was never the same. )

I told him who I was and that he would not remember me ( again, I was a very non-descript baritone).  He wanted to remember me but he couldn't. I told him how much I appreciated and enjoyed my year in his chorale.  He seemed both touched and appreciative.  He again asked what my name was and I told him.
He is now very old and sounded very frail but delighted to hear from an old student.
 I'm glad I called him; I'm glad I could find him thru the wonders of the internet.

I did not tell him that of the 40 members of the chorale, 39 got "As" each semester and one non-descript baritone received a "B."  I didn't tell him A) because I have gotten so much humorous mileage out of that true story and  B) I was afraid he might feel badly about it.  That would have been thoughtless on my part. [Back in the day, the professor posted your grades next to your name on his door for all the world to see.  That's how I knew I had the only Bs. ]

So Mr. Heppner, you were a good man, an excellent tenor and a fine choral director.  Kudos to you and may God bless your remaining years.