Tag Archives: leadership

Don’t Punt, Coach!©

Coach  Nick Whitlow was sorting football equipment in the Leopards locker room when his cell phone buzzed.  He looked at the caller ID. Coach Whitlow  scowled and said, !@#$%^&*.  Then he pushed the answer button, smiled and said, “Coach Whitlow speaking.”

The caller was Dr. Ima Farseer, dean of  Letongaloosa Community Junior College’s School  of  Electromagnetic Communigraphics.

“Coach Whitlow, we need to talk,” said the dean.

“I’m real tied up right now, Ma’ am,”  he said. “Got football practice, comin’ up ya know.”

“That’s why I  need  to see you in my office.  Your football team has academic eligibility problems.”

 

“Whoa.   Whoa. Hold on.  I’ll be right there.”

Dean Farseer’s office door was open so Coach Whitlow   walked in and sat in the visitor’s  chair opposite the dean’s massive mahogany desk.  All four legs of the  visitor’s chair had been shortened.  And one leg had been cut shorter than the other three.  The visitor was forced to sit on a low, teetery  chair.  Advantage, Farseer.

“Ima,” pause, “Uh, I mean Dean Farseer, our atha-letes  work very hard on their academic studies. Very hard, in deed.”

“With little to show for it when grade cards come out,”  said the dean.

“Ma’am,   the Leopards are  ten and one on the year.  Our best season since 2012.”

“And  your athletes are  zero and 23 academically.  Not a single ath-lete (she pronounced the word  slowly and enunciated it pointedly) is on the dean’s list. On the other hand, 17 football players are in various after school detention programs.”

The coach teetered silently.  Then he said, “Let me get back to you on this,” said the coach.

“Please do,” said the dean.  “Soon.”

It had never occurred to Coach Whitfield to call up the dean’s list on his computer, but he did so the moment he arrived back at his office.

The names of students with four-point- oh grades led the list, followed by others in descending order down to the bottom of the list where he recognized the names of a number of his football players.

At the top of the 4.0 list was Tyler Kirby.  The coach remembered him. He had been an eager first-day-of- practice walk-on. Kirby weighed 187 pounds. His thick  glasses were held on by an elastic  band .

“Sorry, kid,” the coach had said, “We already got enough  managers.”

“I want to make the team, Coach.”

 

“Not  this team, you don’t  Go take a shower.”

“Gaaaa,” said the coach, as he remembered the encounter. He left the building.

On the sidewalk outside the  building he bumped into someone.

“Sorry, Coach, I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

“My fault. Say, aren’t you Tyler Kirby?”

“Yes sir.”

“ Son, I need to talk to you.  Could you come to my office?”

“Now, sir?”

“Yes, if you’re free.”

After the meeting, Kirby Tyler set up a team of his own—a group of academically high achieving students who tutored athletes. The athletes thrived.

Coach Whitlow put Tyler on his team, and  made  sure  that Tyler got to suit up for every game.  Toward the end of the season when the Leopards were leading the La Mancha Mongrels 47-6  the coach called:

“Kirby. Get in there at quarterback and heave a long one down field.  ”

-30-

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. He is also the author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia, a collection of goofy and fun short stories that have nothing to do with old age,

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Eloise Calls the Robo Callers©

“Ring.”  When Eloise Simplekins picked up her phone, a robot voice said: “Hello. This is Jan.  Congratulations! You qualify for ….  Please press ‘one’ now to speak to a customer representative. Press ‘nine’ now if you wish to be removed from the qualification list.”

“Fiddlesticks!” said Eloise, and clicked her phone off.   It was the sixth robo call this week.  She had tried hanging up, she had tried pressing “nine,” but a salesperson always came on the line anyway.  She had pressed “one” and told the person who answered to take her off their list.  The person didn’t answer Eloise’s request.  All Eloise heard was a  click and a dial tone.

Eloise Simpelkins is plain—beginning with her name and continuing with her squat chunky figure, her thick unruly hair, her flat face, her squinty eyes, and her pug nose.  But she is very smart.

Years ago Eloise became a pre-cleaning lady for the women of La Mancha, that rich part of town where the streets are winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile.  It embarrassed the women of La Mancha to have their cleaning ladies see poopy toilets in their husbands’ bathrooms, so Eloise became their pre-cleaning lady. But she became much more.  These women ached to reveal their foibles to someone.  Eloise was there every week and seemed discreet. She became their confidant, and the women rewarded her handsomely.  She invested wisely and became a wealthy woman.

Robot phone calls irked Eloise, and after she became rich they irked her even more.  When she couldn’t convince the “you qualify for…” robot voice organizations to quit calling her, Eloise turned to Hadley Wilkins for help.

Readers will remember Hadley “Cyberman” Wilkins. He’s the electronic engineer who helped develop cell phone technology.

“Hadley,” she said. “I need your help.”

“Say on, oh Wise One.”

“I get six to eight robot calls a week,” she said.  “If I hang up, they just call back.   I press the button and talk to a live operator but they still won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  Hadley, I want you seek out the private phone numbers of the executives who run these robo-call outfits.   I’m going to give them a taste of their own medicine.”

“On it,” said Hadley.

Randall Egregious, the vice-president for operations at Techaly Communications, Inc., was relaxing in his den when the unlisted number on his cell phone rang.  The screen said “Mara Belle.”  Mara Belle Function was a Techaly  executive.  Egregious clicked on.

“Are you being pestered by robot telephone calls?” a robot voice asked.  “If you get robot calls seven days a week, please press one.  If you get robot calls…”  Egregious clicked the phone off, but the robo- voice continued talking: “If you get five or fewer robot calls a week, please press two,  if you get fewer than three  robot calls a week, please press star.  To repeat this message, please spell out “help,” on your keypad. ” Egregious hurled the phone across the room.  It slammed into the brick fire place and fell to the floor.  The robot voice continued to speak:  “If you are angry and frustrated and want to destroy your cell phone, please press the “tone” button.”  Egregious picked up the cell phone, ran outside, and threw it as far as he could.

He came back inside and turned on the television.  Instead of his favorite channel, the screen showed a television test pattern.  From the television speaker the robot voice intoned the same message.

Egregious ran to his car and sped to his office.  He called the company’s technology director at his home.

“George, this is Randall Egregious. I’m at the office.  How do I shut down the robot-call apparatus?”

“You can’t.  Don’t you remember?  You ordered us to create closed-circuit hardware and software that would, in your own words, ‘make robot calls forever.’”

Egregious clicked off and ran down the hall to the fire safety cabinet.  He yanked it open, grabbed a fire ax, ran back and smashed all the robot-call machines.

Then he scribbled, “I quit, Randall,” on a scrap of paper and taped it to the CEO’s office door.

-30-

Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. His book of humor columns, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia,  is available on Amazon. You can also visit his website at www.daydreaming.co

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Shy Freddy and Salesman Sam©

Freddy was smart and looked handsome with his dark hair and his horned
rim glasses. But Freddy was so painfully shy that he almost never spoke. Some people
mistook Freddy’s reticence for wisdom and admired him for it.
Freddy grew up as an only child on a farm a long way from town. His father and
mother died unexpectedly when he was in his teens and Freddy came to live with an
elderly aunt in Letongaloosa.
After he moved to town Freddy hardly ever went out. Occasionally Mrs.
Chattermore or Mr. Buttinsky would see Freddy in the yard and force him into a
conversation. That made Freddy panic, and when he panicked Freddy spoke gibberish.
Freddy read a lot, and he watched a lot of television. He had vast amounts of
information from books and television stored in his head, but when he was forced speak,
Freddy’s shyness made him blurt out gibberish phrases. Some people thought he was
being clever; others may have thought he was high on something.
Freddy lived quietly and peacefully until Salesman Sam came along. Salesman
Sam was very smart, but he looked really dumb. His beady black eyes and his pug nose
were set smack in the middle of a big flat pumpkin-pie face. Sam was hulking and
rotund. His body sloped up toward his head and down toward his feet. He looked like a
toy gyroscope.
Sam was the kind of salesman that makes people put “no solicitation” signs in
their yards and on their porches. Sam ignored “no solicitation” signs and “Beware of the
Dog” signs. He even ignored “Quarantined” signs. Salesman Sam was pushy and
persistent. Once someone cracked the front door and Sam had inserted his number
fourteen shoe inside, it was all over. Sam had a sale.
Despite being pushy and persistent, Salesman Sam didn’t get into many houses. His
bulk and his ugly pumpkin-pie face worked against him. That hurt his sales, and he was
looking for a partner who could get him in the door.
Fate, or destiny, or the Native American trickster gods brought shy gibberishspeaking
Freddy and bombastic Salesman Sam together.
Salesman Sam was working in Freddy’s neighborhood and he was having a
terrible day. People yelled at him from behind locked doors but they wouldn’t let him in.
Freddy’s aunt was at her mahjongg club when Sam loomed onto the porch and
pounded on the door.
“Open up. It’s the F-I-B,” he shouted.
That scary door approach was one Sam saved for times when he was desperate.
It worked. Freddy opened the door and Sam clumped into the house.
“I have a really great deal for you, young man,” said Salesman Sam.
“Stocks were mixed in mid-day trading, and when used as directed Duodib
relieves symptoms within minutes,” said Freddy.
“What did you say?” asked Sam the Salesman.
“Foster told sports reporters he was keeping his options open with this marvelous
new double ply bathroom tissue,” said Freddy.
“Huh?” said Sam.
By this time Freddy was trembling noticeably.
“Okay, son,” said Salesman Sam. “Just take it easy. Everything’s going to be all
right. Can I sit down?”
Freddy nodded. Sam lowered his bulk onto a sofa and motioned Freddy to sit
beside him. Sam smiled. “You and me need to talk, kid,” he said. “I need a partner. Do
you want a job?”
Freddy nodded.
A year later Sam and Freddy were featured on the cover of Neighborhood Sales,
the industry’s leading retail door to door magazine. They had won the magazine’s
annual sales award. People couldn’t resist letting nerdy Freddy into their houses, and
once they did, Sam never lost a sale.
Standing behind a microphone at the awards banquet Sam the Salesman said, “I
couldn’t a done it without Freddy.”
A trembling Freddy said, “Side effects are mild and may include headaches, sore
throat, and much more sunshine over the next five days.”

-30-

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The 50-Foot Turkey Goes To Hollywood ©

Dexter Dolby had to confess. When he started writing the screenplay for Attack
of the 50-Foot Turkey he never thought he would end up here. How he got from
his own red carpet premiere at the Letongaloosa Fall Film Festival to being stuck
in bumper-to-bumper traffic along the Pacific Coast Highway was a blur. One
day he’s a writer and movie critic for the Letongaloosa Register-Journal-
Challenger-Sun Chronicle. The next, it seemed to him, he was here sitting behind
the wheel of his old blue Wrangler, a week before Thanksgiving, staring out at
the turquoise waters and waiting to begin life as a Hollywood screenwriter.
How a film gets made had always been incredibly important to Dexter. As a kid
he’d sit for hours absorbing every detail of every plot line, camera angle and
costume in movies like The Giant Claw, Dementia 13, and The Terror. He wanted
to be a film writer, and he knew if he was going to be taken seriously he had to
pay attention to every detail of the production.
It was that attention to detail that caught the eye of Paul Peterson, the CEO of
Talking Pictures Productions (TPP). The way the camera captured the detail and
movement of a giant 50-foot turkey as it toppled the tiny country town made
the hair stand up on the back of Paul Peterson’s neck. He prided himself in
being able to spot creativity and talent wherever he saw it—even in a
backwater town like Letongaloosa. Peterson wanted Dexter working for his
company.
For Dexter, thinking back to the events of that fateful night after Halloween was
better than a prize-winning movie. Incredibly, Dexter had said goodbye to the
small circulation newspaper and to small-town life. The turkeys at the wildlife
conservatory had changed is life and provided him with the future he had
longed for. With a firm offer of a job, Dexter bid goodbye to friends and family,
packed up his Revere 8Mm, and headed for Hollywood.
The weeks following the movie premiere had passed like a whirlwind. After “Mr.
Hollywood,” Paul Peterson showed up that night outside of the Cineplex, the
people of Letongaloosa had treated Dexter like a celebrity. The managers of
the burger stand told him he’d never pay for a burger and fries and shakes
again. The manager of the movie theatre assured him he’d have free movie
tickets. The president of the Wild Life Sanctuary presented him a certificate that
made him a lifetime member. He could visit the turkeys that turned him into an
up-and-coming filmmaker any time he wanted.
All of the attention at first mystified, then , humbled Dexter. He was delighted
that people liked his work. He was ecstatic about the attention Paul Peterson
paid him in the following weeks. They became friends.
The two discussed everything from to do with the creation of films and
screenwriting, to the nitty gritty of post- production editing. One day Paul talked
to about turning Attack of the 50-Foot Turkey into a one-day classic for the big
screen. All of those conversations resulted in an offer for Dexter to go to
Hollywood and make movies for TPP Productions.
I was a dream come true! Dexter loved his job as writer and movie critic in
Letongaloosa, but he was thrilled with his new life, even when he had to sit in this
traffic jams on his way to write and make movies. Slowly, the sea of cars began
to inch forward. Dexter felt a warm breeze on his face. He was on his way to
HOLLYWOOD. He was going to make movies. The cars started to move and
Dexter felt the Wrangler roll. It moved closer and closer to his future as a
Hollywood filmmaker.
In front of the offices on the TPP Studio lot, noted the palm trees. He sat and
marveled for a moment at the studio’s white stucco façade. Then he stepped
out of his sturdy old vehicle, grabbed his Revere 8Mm, and walked confidently
toward the studio. He was no longer that kid from a small town in the Midwest.
He was Dexter Dolby, Hollywood screenwriter and filmmaker.
-30-

 

Dr. Larry Day is a retired foreign correspondent turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase on Amazon.

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Eloise & the Dark Stranger

 

A slick Basque conman tried to marry Eloise Simpelkins, and take her for millions of dollars, but an old friend from Letongaloosa showed up just in time to save her.
It all happened at an exclusive private club on east 55th Street in New York City. A romantically smitten Eloise Simpelkins was having dinner at the Toure Club with what she thought was a handsome Spaniard . He called himself the Marques de San Selmo. His real name was Zigor Ordoki, the slickest con artist the Pyrenees had ever produced.
Eloise Simpelkins, is founder and chief executive officer of a highly successful home cleaning enterprise, and until she fell for the phony marques, was a very level headed woman.
Eloise was born in Letongaloosa on the wrong side of the tracks. She spent the early years of her life cleaning houses in La Mancha, the posh section of town. She was as plain in speech and looks as the phony marques was handsome and eloquent. As an entrepreneur she had turned an astute observation about the fastidiousness of upper middle class women into a highly successful cleaning business.
A friend introduced Eloise to the phony Marques at a charity ball. As they danced, the hard-headed entrepreneur who had never had time for romance, melted like a marshmallow. The phony Marques had pursued a number of wealthy single women. He chose Eloise because she looked to him like the richest and the dumbest.

Now, it was show time, and as they sat after dinner in the Toure Club, the Marques was ready to spring the trap.
“My darling Ale-low-eez, I have fallen madly in love with you. Will you do me the honor of being…” At that moment his elaborately planned marriage scheme was interrupted. A tall long-faced man with big ears and a loopy smile called out to Eloise from across the quiet dining room.
“Eloise Simpelkins, is that you?,” The man was Blair Trimert , a dear friend from Letongaloosa. Blair stood and threaded his way to Eloise’s table.
“Blair Trimert!” cried Eloise, “why it’s been years.” They embraced.
Eloise and Blair were children together in Letongaloosa. After they grew up Eloise made made a fortune in business, and Blair inherited a fortune from the Basque parents who had adopted him as a baby.
Blair spoke fluent Basque.
“Please join us,” said Eloise, for whom courtesy was an inbred quality. She introduced the Marques as a dear, dear friend from Spain. Blair guessed the rest of the story from her eyes and voice tones. The Marques masked his frustration with a practiced smile, but his eyes were cold as flint.
A waiter arrived and they ordered after dinner drinks. As Eloise and Blair were catching up on each other’s lives, the Marques’s cell phone rang. He took it out.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I have to take this.” He stood and turned away from the table.
“Yes,” he said in English. Then the Marques spoke again in Basque.
“Ez dago arau bat izan da.” (“There’s a slight complication”).
He listened and then said “Relax. Ez dut hau ergelak uso behatzak bidez irrist utz du. Bakarrik hartuko du ogun bat, hor, da dena. Gogora tu oraigdik dirutza bat ogin onderen, hemen duga.”
(Relax. I’m not going to let this stupid little pigeon slip through my fingers. It will take another day, that’s all. Just remember, we’re after a fortune here.”
Blair understood perfectly the words and what they meant. He squeezed Eloise’s hand and whispered, “This guy is speaking Basque. He’s some kind of conman who is trying to get your money.”
Blair grabbed the cell phone from the to the Marques’s hand.
“Zu pukas, langun!,” he growled. (“Your’re busted, Dude!”).
Without another word, the phony Marques fled, knocking people out of his way as he ran from the Toure Club. The police caught up with him a few minutes later.
After that Blair moved back to Letongaloosa, and Eloise, still single, opened five more franchises on the West Coast.

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Door To Door

Hello, All!!

My first column of the New Year is here!! Check out “Door to Door”:   Head over and take a gander.

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