There’s been no gray and only the slightest signs of a waistline spread, but the sensibilities of middle age mutate sufficiently these days, enough so that the time came to make a substantial adjustment. I bought a sports car: an Audi TT Roadster. Moro blue with vanilla interior, convertible, turbo engine, two seater, automatic with a secret “S” gear for aggressive driving purposes, and a remarkable stereo system with a volume that goes up to thirty, ignoring the fact that my ears bleed somewhere around twenty-two. The only unanswered questions remaining: (1) Where do I go; (2) What music do I take?
You need to keep in mind all this happened in late October 2003.
Born and raised in Ohio, I had not ventured from Arizona to the Buckeye state in twenty-one years, despite near constant longing for my artificial boyhood paradise. I already missed this year’s World Famous Annual Circleville Pumpkin Show, but there remained plenty to see and do in Central Ohioan bohemia, so I mapped out a rough outline of a route, threw three sweat shirts and a pair of jeans in an old suitcase and psyched myself up for the journey, mostly focusing on question number two: what would be the perfect sounds for this mid-life road experience? I immediately abandoned obvious selections, such as The Ramones’ Road to Ruin, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, and Dion’s The Wanderer, classics all, but a tad too predictable for my forthcoming nervous collapse. No, I needed music for both the general between-city-tedium, and locale-specific sonics, music and noise that would propel my traveling companion dog Molly and me through the stratosphere of interstate highway ecstasy. This was gonna be fun.
Remember that jive by Elton John about “Get back/Honky cat/Better get back to the woods”? Well, from my personal point of view, that notion stinks. The high point of my trip, as it turned out, was when having hooked up with my friend Ruth Ann, she and I motored stately into my old neighborhood--Jefferson Addition--for the narrow and specific purpose of taking a few pictures of my old house. The place looked pretty much the same, despite the thin and fractured roadways which had seemed so much wider before, and we pulled over alongside my former abode, the morning rain yielding to a brisk pre-winter cloud sulk, and I hopped out with my camera. There I stood, in awe of my former home, located at 367 Ludwig Drive, in case anyone wants to visit. Just as I was lining up the exposure, this craggily retiree came bounding out from my old living room and threw open the door. “Hey!” he hollered, for that is what one does to get attention in Circleville. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Looking over my shoulder, I noticed Ruth Ann slouching low in the passenger seat. Ah, the things friends must endure. “I used to live here and I’m taking some pictures of the house. Could you step out of the frame please?” The old guy was having none of this, but to my surprise, he did move out of the way so I could snap my photos.
“I don’t like people taking pictures of my house. Who are you?”
I explained that this had been my house long before he owned it and that I was indeed going to take pictures and thank you very much. He displayed a lot of flag decals on the garage, so he probably thought we were terrorists, staking out the structure of the house, all the better to position our surface-to-air rocket launchers. By the time I’d shot the third exposure, his glazed eyes were steaming, so I said “I suppose a tour of the place is out of the question” and hopped back in, spraying mud while Ruth Ann laughed herself silly. She is a good egg, that girl.
I'm going to mention again that this all happened in 2003. Spotify did not exist. Music streaming channels? None.
My trip from Phoenix began well enough. Having mapped out my destination and estimating my overnight cities, I popped the CD’s burned especially for the occasion into the compact storage case and plunged ahead down I-10 toward Tucson en route to the first night’s stop in El Paso, a mere 650 miles away.
The proper musical accompaniment not only provides a much needed surcease in the audial road burn; perhaps more importantly, it imposes upon the driver a vivid soundtrack with which to recall the trip, possibly many years later. And so I divided the CD’s into the general category--for those long stretches of interstate where nothing much more than tumbleweeds and rusted-out cricket pumps decorate the landscape--and the specific category--songs which made some implied or overt reference to the city or region through which I was passing. Sometimes those references boasted the glories of the area and sometimes they made their point with a bit less reverence. In either case, volume was key and the top was definitely down.
Just out from the biospheres of Tucson, as the road straightens and clocks its hours of monotony, I plugged in the ideal tune to launch the trip: “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. As the dust devils swirled up and above the copper-coated dirt fields, threatening to transplant dog, car and self into Oz the hard way, Ian Gillan’s counter-twister scream wail strangled up with Ritchie Blackmore’s controlled adrenaline guitar boxing match and propelled the Audi’s contents forward with such velocity that “airborne” fails to capture the sensation. My hair straightened, the hat I was wearing is now attached to some motorist’s CB antennae, my cheeks went taut and the feeling is just now beginning to return to my gums. There was nothing much to see along the southern border of Arizona anyway, except a few rattlesnake pits and the bursting tires of eighteen wheelers. Just as my heart palpitations yielded to police-induced paranoia, the irony of the next song’s title took hold: The Byrds’ version of Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” There remains something about the line, “Strap yourself to a tree with roots,” that perfectly encapsulates the cartoon futility of the trip ahead.
The Sweetheart of the Rodeo album from which the aforementioned number came provided the ideal transition into the Flying Burrito Bros’ take on Dave Dudley’s “Six Days on the Road,” the most often repeated tune here. From this, it was a cold water crash directly into the instrumental abutment of The Ramones’ “Durango 95,” the song that crashed down just as twilight warned that it was time to get specific.
The southern leg of New Mexico hasn’t lent itself to an overabundance of name-place musicality, primarily because nothing much between Deming and Las Cruces jumps up and demands attention, other than the occasional patch of fallen cattle, apparently either the victims of underground nuclear testing or a simple lack of imagination. Las Cruces itself was clearly a bi-pass town, although I did come up with a Geronimo’s Cadillac song called “Crack Up in Las Cruces” to get me over the hump.
About seventy miles beyond Las Cruces is the Southwest Texas town of El Paso, which presented more problems of an overnight nature than of musical. I flipped in the CD marked EP and charged up the intro mariachi slash flamenco chords of Marty Robbins’ classic, a tune local town folk were quick to point out they are so tired of hearing, a stay in the local jail is the proscribed punishment for blaring it past eight pm. Heeding this timely advice, I skipped forward to “El Paso” by the Gourds, from their Bolsa de Agua LP. This choice meeting with some favorable nods, I inquired where might be a nice place to stay the night. The look of alarm on the kids hanging outside the Dairy Queen spoke volumes. “You’re not gonna park that car outside a motel, are you?” one of them asked.
“Oh, no!” I assured him. “This thing disassembles in just a few minutes. Hey, you guys ever heard of Kinky Friedman?” Having not, I played them the classic “Asshole From El Paso,” which cheered them up so much that one young honey with a waistline tattoo offered directions to the local Holiday Inn.
I had not much more than checked in, watered, fed and walked the cocker spaniel, when the look on that one kid’s face started giving me the jitters. My room leaned on the first floor, the car rested right outside the window, and the alarm system screeched loud enough to unhinge arms from their sockets. But darned if I could sleep for fear of getting stuck for God knows how long in a Holiday Inn this far from home. Insurance is fine, but how long would it take for them to wire me the funds, get the check cashed, and hop a plane the hell out of here? Nope, better to take a quick shower and shave, grab a burger and get on down the road a ways.
This jittered-out paranoia settled into a warm place in my mind, becoming a defining element of the rest of the journey.
Just outside of Van Horn, I jotted up to I-20, climbing steadily on the overnight drive to Dallas, a little more than 600 miles in the distance. On past Pecos, Odessa, Midland and Big Spring I drove, a confused cocker trying to get comfortable on her small leather seat, constantly insisting on inspecting the exterior of every semi we passed. Between Big Spring and Abilene, I entertained my passenger with a variety of general Texas tunes, like the bassist Randy McDonald’s “Texas Flower,” Elton’s Merle Haggard parody “Texas Love Song,” Louis Armstrong and King Oliver’s “Texas Moaner Blues,” and Lester Young’s “Texas Shuffle.” It was the situationally appropriate “Texas to Ohio” by Damien Jurado that actually introduced me to trouble. I’d cranked those ghost guitars and gravel road vocals so high that my gaze wired itself to the highway and I didn’t detect the friendly Texas State Trooper until long after he’d seen me.
Imagine if you will: you’re a cop and you see a dark blue sports car speeding through the night at somewhere between 85 and 90 mph, temporary tags and out of state ones at that, plus the driver doesn’t even slow down when he passes you. The red white blue bubble lights did compel my attention, however, and I pulled over, lecturing Molly to be on her best behavior.
“Is your dog gonna bite me?” the friendly trooper inquired with what appeared to be genuine concern for his own safety.
“Not if you don’t bite her first,” I responded, all bleary-eyed with good humor.
He turned out to be a very nice guy, letting me off with a warning, all of which made what happened less than an hour later moderately embarrassing. Having stopped briefly at a McDonald’s drive-thru for a freshening cup of coffee, I revved the midnight beast up just past 125, the hazel stars sparkling in admiration at my inability to learn a simple lesson about local law enforcement. Somewhere between a replay of The Ramones’ instrumental “Durango 95” (the title lifted from a late-night drive in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange) and the Collins Kids’ “Hot Rod,” the unhappy contra flash erupted over the oncoming crest, a flash I passed as fast as it approached from the other side of the median. A quick glance in the tiny rear-view assured me of my toast status: the trooper-mobile spun across that divider and sprayed angry gravel in the air as it yearned for sufficient traction to end my careless ways. I eased off the gas, found a strip of shoulder, and reined the Audi in for a graceful stop.
It felt like a scene out of Les Miserables as the same trooper sauntered up, flipping the pages in his ticket book.
He explained that at the speed we’d been traveling, he had every right known to God and Man to throw my skinny ass in the pokey, but since that might not bode well for Molly the wonder dog, he would record the pace at 98, just low enough to keep the Spaniel from having to seek out food and shelter on her own. I admitted that I found his actions quite generous and wondered aloud if he’d be interested in taking the Roadster for a spin. I figured he wanted to, and the pause between my question and his answer confirmed my suspicions. He politely declined despite my offer to keep an eye on his short. As a result of this fine officer’s manners, I did indeed learn my lesson and that was my final speed infraction in the state of Texas.
After an upright two hour nap at a breezy roadside rest, Molly and I greeted the dawn with the multi-level hyper speed ping pong attack of The Who’s “Going Mobile.” The beyond perfect production from Glyn Johns--the most incredible separation in all of rock--in harmony with grand musical ambitions and acid-accurate lyrics that shot out like Kerouac, reminded me of something my friend Paul Hormick had told me years and years earlier: “The more you listen to Who’s Next, the better it gets. Forever.” Better advice I have never received.
As we roared on in search of our next major stop in Dallas, we punched up Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s teenaged eight-track classic “Roll on Down the Highway.” The song’s mechanical rhythm section, indecipherable vocals and moderately inspired lead guitar encouraged the dog and I to shoulder dance even as BTO faded and the Rolling Stones dirged into all eleven plus minutes of “Going Home.”
Neither Molly nor I had Mick Jagger’s baby waiting for us back home, but despite this social inadequacy, we were both dying to get back there, even though Molly had never heard of the place and the only thing I knew for certain was that I believed I had been happy living there. I did in fact have some splendid specific recollections, most of which centered around various bicycles I had owned and the places they had taken me. One of those places was The Blue Drummer Steak House. I was a frightened yet brash sixteen year old anticipating college with about as much clarity as I was old age pensions and my parents insisted I take the job not only to defray up and coming educational expenses but mostly as a way of guiding myself along the path toward some infantile form of maturity. And so for nearly two years I rode my ten-speed racer the two miles from our garage to the Bicentennial-appropriate steak emporium.
My friendships there weren’t lifelong, but they were deep. As The Beatles’ “Get Back” bled into Elvis Presley’s version of Hank Snow’s “Movin’ On,” some of those memory images came rolling back. Most stark was a kid about my own age at the time, just an average friendly kid named Jamie Welliver. One night Jamie and I were toking up in his Duster, listening to the soundtrack from the new Tommy movie, and he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. It was cold as a shit storm out, and I was already in enough trouble for one night, so I passed. The next morning, a Sunday, if memory serves, I came back to work at eleven, just a few minutes before the lunch crowds emerged from the various church services. I walked in, bebopping a whistle to some self-composed tune, when the look another co-worker delivered stopped me cold. “Jamie Welliver’s dead. He wrapped his car around a telephone pole.” Before I even had a chance to register the horror of this, our manager, Pat Bevan, charged in through the big metallic doors and ordered us to get ready for the lunch rush. Ms. Bevan knew what had happened. She knew that we knew. But she had an insignificant job to perform and nothing was going to get in the way of that.
The most peculiar aspect of the entire experience was that when I had first begun working there, my number one concern, fear, obsession, was that by earning an insubstantial living there I might lose the young kid in me that I so cherished. Every man in the world frets about this constantly. Lose that internal boy and prepare to crawl inside a box and pile on the dirt. I never did completely lose him, of course, but that Sunday morning, a little part of him died for the first time.
On the outskirts of Dallas, the pre-encore take of Gram Parson’s live version of “Six Days on the Road” filled the air for miles and my heart muscles tightened for the first time since the trip had begun. An ominous cloud clings over Dallas and always will. A lot of that, naturally, stems from the Kennedy assassination, and a lot of it sprouts from social conditions that could allow something like that assassination to take place. There was a lot I wanted to see in Dallas, but there was only one song I wanted to hear: “Willin’” by Little Feat. Sadly, the story of Alice--Dallas Alice--was nowhere in my collection. So sitting in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn, I rolled up the windows and sang the damn thing myself. Molly wept.
By the time we checked into our room, we had been on the road exactly twenty-four hours. We had driven thirteen hundred miles. Giddy with exhaustion, I plopped Molly back in the shotgun seat and we set out to discover Dallas.
About a mile and a half from the hotel we found ourselves so hopelessly lost it took the better part of three hours just to stream our way back. We never unearthed Dealey Plaza. We did learn, however, that Dallas sports a lot of road construction that only slows down the out of towners. Prior to motoring along freeways reduced to one lane with unyielding SUV psychos and crypto-tank drivers both fore and aft, I would have sworn that Phoenix drivers are the most hateful pack of self-absorbed sons of bitches who ever lived. After three hours sweltering and choking in the blood pools of Dallas congestion, I can honestly report that Phoenicians are among the most polite motorists in the world. If I ever return to Dallas, it will not be unarmed.
One of the primary reasons for my purchase of the Audi TT was that it is the ultimate anti-SUV. Despite the fact that every one of my current friends drives one, I do not like SUV’s. Perhaps more importantly for the purposes of this story, many people who drive the rough-riding death traps do not like the occasional little sports cars that punctuate the road like dots at the end of exclamation points. In particular, they do not like Audi’s, probably because SUV drivers recognize that there are only three or four non-Audi’s that can outrun the Roadster and none that can are the modern day urban tanks that in reality have nothing to do with either sports or utility. They are, in fact, only marginally vehicular. They do, however, serve as excellent tools for committing interstate homicide. Just ask the guy in the onyx black Denali a few miles south of Little Rock who tried to stampede his moon-roofed marauder up and across my roll-over bars, or the tailgating Esplanade, both of whom endeavored to careen their armored kill machines up and over my back just because I had the audacity to mouth the words “stupid twat” in their directions as I passed them merging back onto the freeway. Like a breath of fresh air irony, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” filled the Audi and I switched lanes just as the mini-convoy barreled boldly by.
Arkansas is the most beautiful state, blessed as it is with miles of aisles of cotton, soybeans, wheat, corn and stacks of flax. The unsettled purr of idling semis spills a churn of its own kind of symphony. Strangely, a lot of great music comes from Arkansas but there’s not tons of tomes about it. That may be because in the early autumn, the scenery is so splendid, nearly nothing could approximate the grandeur. The fading foliage from the Ozarks announce themselves modestly and the timber trembles in awe of its own multi-hued gorgeosity. If there were ever a region in which it is manifestly appropriate to put the top down on the car, this is most definitely that place. The dying allergens kissing tightly to forsaken cotton balls, the colliding spruce and pine perfumes, the lust grip of cones and cinders: the sights and smells alone make a majestic visual-olfactory orgy that mere music cannot replicate. So I settled--if one can call it that--for a smorgasbord of CCR’s “Cottonfields,” “Arkansas Hop” by Boz and the Highrollers, “Joan of Arkansas” by Dorothy Shay, Big Medicine’s “My Ozark Mountain Home,” Black Oak Arkansas’ “Jim Dandy,” “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” by Chuck Berry, the American Gypsies’ “Bottle of Hope” (get it?), and--may God have mercy on my weary soul--Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell’s duet of “A Little Girl From Little Rock.” Hell, I’m no snob. I played the latter ditty three times as I wound my way around and through LR (as the local signs refer to it) on my way northeast to Memphis.
No city on our trip boasted a greater selection and variety of place-specific songs than did Memphis, Tennessee. About twenty miles out from this remarkably friendly border town, I snapped in the first four versions of Chuck Berry’s classic: the first was by Chuck, of course; then came the slightly hokey rendition by Flatt & Scruggs (recorded, no doubt, because of its title), followed by the rave up instrumental take by Lonnie Mack and the sloppy but transcendent cover by Sandy Denny. “Long distance information,” I sang as loud as my frayed vocal cords would permit. “Give me Memphis, Tennessee!”
Flipping from manual back into automatic as I stretched my neck to find a place to eat that wasn’t part of the burger axis of indigestion, Dan Bern’s “Graceland” whupped me upside the head:
Well look at me, Lord
I’m at Graceland
On a Saturday afternoon
I threw up last night
At a rest stop
From eating cheese grits
At the Waffle House
The Memphis horns hit me like a Gospel brick house as the late Dusty Springfield cued herself up on “Willie and Laura Mae Jones,” another place and another time belting out as real and immediate as front porch lemonade. Memphis Minnie sashayed in shout-singing the “Killer Diller Blues,” the guitar sounding just like a banjo. King Curtis spooned up today’s special of “Memphis Soul Stew,” and when those fat back drums strolled in, I swear the trees along the roadway actually bowed. The obvious Mott the Hoople number bleated like a dying calf, but that memory quickly faded with the authentically ridiculous “Memphis Train” by soul papa Rufus Thomas. “Whoo! Aw, shucks now!” And before I knew it, I was leaving Memphis behind, the tires twirling and oblivious as the steady country rhythm of Rosanne Cash’s version of daddy John’s “Tennessee Flat Top Box” battered down on Molly and I like rain on the roof of a caboose.
Along I-40 East and slightly north toward the former country music capital, as the winds whipped and the sun brayed in harmony, the first genuine scenic rhythms of recognition gripped me like a corpse. Tennessee houses a thousand tiny towns, most of which are thoroughly ignored by the grand interstates that double-X their arms across the expanse. Jackson--one of the biggest names in all the South--retains a bear’s share of promotion, but real people also live and die in Brunswick, Rosemark, Gallaway, Braden, Keeling, Stanton, Shepp, Leighton (I been everywhere, man, I been everywhere): God, so many towns and people Molly and I will never meet, many of whom may well someday be doomed to course their ways on wheeled rafts between the banks of paved pathways, fishing for legal fireworks and dreading the oncoming hug of familiarity. That familiarity spooked me like a slime monster peeking from a hollow log as we neared Nashville, the world’s most down home town. As we strained our eyes for yet another Holiday Inn, we got caught up in the porcine okey-doke of “Nashville Cats” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, melted into the leather buckets with “Nashville Radio” courtesy of Jon Langford, self-paralyzed with nostalgia during a dose of Waylon Jennings’ “Nashville Bum,” damn near cried from the pain of Ringo’s “Nashville Jam,” received scads of curious looks throughout the playing of Godhead’s “Nashville Bust,” and felt like genuine cowboy punks as we blared Hank Williams Jr.’s “Nashville Scene.” I awoke a little after three the next morning, sweating like a fever blister, completely unaware of where I was. Molly jumped away from the wet foot she’d been aimlessly licking and stared at me as if I’d suddenly become real. “Nashville!” one of us said to the other, or maybe the word came from the radio alarm clock that some fool before me had set. Over that tinny radio transmission, Mississippi Fred McDowell, who surely don’t play no rock ‘n’ roll, reminded us we had to move, so after a quick run through the shower we did just that, with all the haste of unrepentant sinners fleeing the wrath of a jealous God. I dropped Molly a packet of dog glop and chugged my own magic milkshake as Chris Knight serenaded us with his eerily appropriate “Devil Behind the Wheel,” that Mellencamp impression never sounding better. We’d be in Circleville sometime within the next twenty-four hours and despite the dark thumb tapping its warning against my heart, I hastened us on, my own internal cruise control as unyielding as time itself.
Running on I-65 North en route to Louisville, the next major stop, we passed a sign that said “White House 18 Miles Next Exit.” We also passed a Tennessee State Trooper who was himself somewhat exceeding the speed limit, and both Molly and I realized that another citation lay in our progress.
This guy stayed parked behind us for at least five minutes--no doubt staring us down from the rear to see if we’d run--during which time I searched vainly for Springsteen’s “Mr. State Trooper.” The best I could come up with was Randy Newman’s “Rednecks,” but by the time the cop swaggered up to our car, that song had come and gone. I smiled and killed the engine.
“You come up here from Air-ee-zonaw,” he began. “So I know you seen the sign at the state crossing that admonishes you to obey Tennessee speed limits, right? Zat your dog?”
“Yes sir, Arizona. On our way to Ohio. Haven’t been there in over twenty--”
“Ohio?” he queried, although when he said it, the state name sounded like “Ah-hi-ya.”
“Yes sir, Ohio. That’s where I’m from. Looking forward to--”
“I don’t have all day to hear about that. Sign this and answer my question. Zat your dog?”
I signed the receipt of citation without even looking at it. “Right, my dog. Molly.”
“She obstruct your view in that little thing you’re driving?”
I desperately needed a drink or a drug or something to blur out the shades of simmering paranoia.
“No. She sits still. Rides low. Rarely moves. No trouble.”
“This here ticket’s going on your driving record, boy. You’re almost out of Tennessee. You make sure you pay this when you get to Ohio or wherever you’re going. You make sure that dog of yours don’t obstruct your view. And you better make sure you don’t get no more tickets in this state. You follow me?”
“Assured clear distance,” I replied as I hummed up the engine and rolled on toward Louisville.
My ears popped and clogged steadily as we climbed the road altitude that glides one almost unconsciously into northern Kentucky. Late in October, the trees coughed out crackling colors like daytime fireworks, each leaf a silent harbinger and leaden weight. Law enforcement warnings and penalties to the contrary, I shot us up to ninety just after we crossed the Kentucky line and the music took over for the next hundred miles. The deranged banjo stomp of Danny Barnes’ “Life in the Country,” The Byrds’ “Goin’ Back” (with its self-referential and irreverent line: “a little courage is all we lack”), the unsolemn roll of BTO’s “Freeways,” Joe South’s high strung “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home,” the heavy-light xylophone of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s “Reunion Blues,” the harmelodic majesty of Ornette Coleman’s “Skies of America,” the power and the glory of Phil Ochs’ “Power and the Glory,” the pop up grind and slash of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream”: aw, it was somnambulant, it was invigorating, it was a bunch of purple mountain majesty, it was pure and fleshy, and my terror finally backed off. We truly were, as Funkadelic promised, “One Nation Under a Groove.” A zombied-out nation in our protective shells sealed for our own sanity, but one nation nevertheless. “Here’s my chance/to dance my way/out of my constriction.” Rat own.
End of Part One.
The World of Franchise Investing in Real Time with Mariel Miller
Learn how timing is everything and how to identify right time to buy in to a franchising brand.
Join us on August 18 at 12:30pm EST as we explore why Timing is Everything.
Mariel, our resident franchise resource, will be sharing some insight to identifying the best timing.
YES! You can get in the game!
So get your friends and colleagues together and register today!
I'm excited to announce
our first Certified Well Nourished Health Coach Program, that will start on Thursday, August 13th!
These times call us to deepen, refine and expand our skills, both in our inner and outer toolbox, with what we can offer our clients to inspire and help them make lasting transformational changes in their lives.. As everyone's day to day lives have changed, and people are living with more uncertainty, the usual ways of finding balance, resilience, health, well-being and "nourishment" has shifted. Challenging emotions, vacillating between despair, fear, confusion, anger, hope and joy is not uncommon. Overeating and other ways of coping have increased.
-The Certified Well Nourished Health Coach training program and methods trains you how to offer a coaching program that is rich in scope, addressing the whole self, increases resilience, inner and outer resources, especially relating to Mindful Eating and Living principles.
To be the best, most intuitive, effective, skillful and compassionate health and wellness coach, we need to have traveled or be traveling on the road of Well Nourished Living ourselves to be able to meet our clients where they are and understand the process of change, transformation and awake living, from the inside out.
Being “Well Nourished” is a non-diet approach
to whole body and whole self nourishment.
You will Learn:
~The Well Nourished Coaching Model for Transformation
~Self-care research-based mindful living and mindful eating tools and tips to support the whole person
~How to guide and support your clients to nourish the "Eight Bodies"
~A non-diet weight inclusive approach to Mindful Eating and Living -How to powerfully address stress eating, emotional eating, craving, mindless eating and overeating.
~How to live with more joy, peace, gratitude, love and compassion -Research-based mindfulness, self-compassion training and cognitive behavioral techniques
~Applications from neuroscience, positive psychology, behavioral science, self-efficacy theory, motivational interviewing, healthy lifestyles, the power of mindset, mindfulness-based interventions, ancient wisdom and more
The ‘Well Nourished’ whole body approach goes beyond food helping to discern what you are truly hungry for, nourishing the other parts of yourself and being supported in making choices that best nurture your total well-being – mind, body, heart and spirit, and naturally contributing to the global transformation you wish.
Through the Certified Well Nourished Coaching Training Program
You will -
~Feel healthy and vibrant, nourished from the inside out living with a joyful sense of purpose, compassion, wisdom and joy….and share these tools, well being and the map of resiliency and balance with your clients.
~Learn self-care practices, skills and tools, based on my book, “Well Nourished”, clinical and research-based practices and ancient wisdom to support your clients and professional practice.
~Learn how to help your clients become free of the guilt, shame and struggle so often associated with food, body image and lifestyle choices, to skillfully live a life of empowered well-being and health, nourishing the different parts of themselves
~Redefine, re-imagine and re-embrace what a sustainable healthy weight, lifestyle and life is for you and your clients
The Certified Well Nourished Health Coach program offers you a map, skills and tools to guide and support your clients to re-envision and redefine their lives and what is meaningful to them.
-To create sustainable changes in their life honoring their whole self
-Learn a new way of being and increasing their resilience
-To find new ways or rediscover and re-embrace ways to live their lives in a fulfilling way that honors their whole self, health and well-being, their dreams, intentions and purpose.
This 5 Month Certified Well Nourished Health Coaching Program will include live and recorded virtual bi-monthly meetings, support, engagement, training, skill-building, practice and coaching opportunities along with community building to allow you to go deeper into the practice of the essential coaching skills, map, and evidence-based techniques to best support your clients.
It was developed for health care professionals that would like to become a Certified Well Nourished Health Coach. We are offering our Well Nourished Module 1 & 2 Program concurrently, immediately followed by Module 3, based on the best-selling book, ‘Well Nourished’, clinical, and research based practices and ancient wisdom.
We are offering a special discounted package when you register by July 30th (see below for more details).
Module 1 is a fundamental introduction to the skills to coach, guide and support your clients with the ‘Well Nourished’ approach as your map.
Module 2 will give you the coaching tools, practice and techniques to better support your clients..
Module 3 is the "Well Nourished" Daylong Retreat offered immediately following Module 2 in 2020 and will be an online retreat to go deeper into the practices together.
This program is eligible for 46 CEU’s for registered dietitians, mental health professionals and nurses.
I hope you can join me on this exciting new Mindful Eating and Living journey, a journey of mind, body, heart and spirit, focused on becoming a Certified Well Nourished Health Coach to better support your clients and community.
Certified Well Nourished Health Coach
A very Special Introductory Discount is now available for health care professionals when you register for all three modules at the same time. Early bird options are now available to register by July 30th!
Program Dates: August 13 - December 17, 2020
The Certified Well Nourished Health Coach Program includes:
~Module 1 – 10 Sessions – Foundations – pre-recorded
.18 hours over 5 months
2 sessions/month recommended
~Module 2 – 10 Sessions - Coach Training
.......................2 Thursdays each month 1.5 hours each
.......................August 13, 27, Sept. 10, 24, Oct. 8, 22
.......................Nov. 5, 19, Dec. 3, 17
~Practicum and Project
~Module 3 – Six Hour Daylong Retreat Virtual (online during pandemic)
~Well Nourished Book
~Supplemental Resources, Handouts, Coaching Materials
Tuition for the Certified
Well Nourished Health Coach Training
SPECIAL 'Panademic' DISCOUNT for 2020 Program
Enroll by July 30th, and receive
Module 1 & 3 at no charge
Well Nourished Module 1 FREE ........($548 value)
Day Virtual Retreat Module 3 FREE ....... ($297 value)
Well Nourished book FREE.......... ($20 value)
Well Nourished Health Coach Module 2 $ 1,996
Subtract $200 Early Bird $ -200
Total Tuition $ 1,796 Your Price!
Here is the Actual Value
Well Nourished Module 1 Program $ 548
Certified Well Nourished Health Coach Module 2 $ 1,996
Daylong Well Nourished Virtual Retreat Module 3 $ 297
Total Tuition (full price) $ 2,841 TOTAL VALUE
Here is the REGISTRATION FORM to join our upcoming Certified Well Nourished Health Coach Training Program: Well Nourished Health Coach Registration Form if you are ready to register!
CONSULTING and TRAINING SERVICES
Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT, offers Mindful Eating and Living Training and Well Nourished Coaching Programs to health care professionals, individuals, groups and organizations.
She is the author of the bestselling book,
"Well Nourished, Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Feed Your Whole Self, and End Overeating" and is offering Well Nourished retreats and coaching.
Teaching since the early 1990's, one of Andrea’s greatest passions and joys is practicing and studying the Dharma and sharing the life transforming practices of mindfulness, compassion, mindful eating, yoga, nature awareness, and healthy lifestyles.
Andrea Lieberstein, Founder
Mindful Eating Training Institute (METI)
(415) 497 3674
Control What You Can Control
July 15th, 2020
DON"T MISS OUR TWN VIRTUAL SUMMIT:
EMBRACING WHAT'S NEXT
TODAY @ 12pm EST!
Everyone is anxious about what's next. To the athletes reading this, you are probably asking yourself questions like: will we have a fall sports season? Will I get a chance to play? Will my family and I stay healthy? There is so much that’s out of our control. But what we can control is how we prepare for whatever is coming.
Are you growing your brand and online presence? Have you taken some time to make a budget for yourself? Are you connecting with people who can help you expand your network and your opportunities? Focusing on what you can do helps to ease the anxiety of not knowing what's coming. When it's time to hang up your cleats, you'll have plenty of opportunities to explore and consider. The question is, will you be prepared?
Focus on what you can control and how you can improve yourself each day. Take advantage of the time and resources you have in front of you. And remember, you have so much valuable experience from playing sports. Those skills are what will get you the opportunities you want.
You are more prepared for what's next than you think!
Business Giving Back
Franchise favorites that allow you to do well while doing good!
July 21st @ 12:30pm EST
Discover how your passion can fuel uncommon success in today's business environment.
TWN Exclusive Livestream Series: The World of Franchise Investing in Real Time with Mariel Miller
It is absolutely possible to "Do Good & Do Well“ in business today!
Join us on July 21 at 12:30pm EST as we explore Businesses Giving Back.
Mariel, our resident franchise resource, has invited a few remarkable visionaries and brand founders on for an inspirational conversation about their passion and vision inside their franchise networks.
We’re honored to highlight NFL athlete Will Bartholomew who has put together an impressive group of fellow athletes. In a few short years he has quickly become franchising's newest star. They've built a powerhouse franchise focused on kids, character and family.
YES! You can get in the game!
So get your friends and colleagues together and register today!
Master Healer Blueprint
A FREE VIDEO MINI-COURSE FOR MANIFESTING DEEP HEALING
This mini-course is designed to activate your innate higher healing abilities. It includes powerful principles, insights and special guided meditations to put you into direct access with the Master Healer within you.
Dr. Darren Starwynn, a thought leader in advanced energy healing and technology loves to teach by creating tangible experiences for his students. For a limited time he is offering this valuable mini-course at no cost in order to introduce his teaching to new audiences.
We can call that vital link the Master Healer. The Master Healer is an innate quality of those who are dedicated to bringing true, in-depth healing for themselves and others. For most healthcare professionals, and even energy healers, it is a part that is often not yet fully acknowledged or awakened.
Aphorisms by Phil Mershon
While I am neither Luddite nor Abecedarian, I do suspect that whenever we fail to consider how our progress may become a future generation's regress, we are giving God the Bronx cheer.
I have not seen my thinking cap in the better part of a decade. I remember it as being brown with a curved top and thin leather cords coming out of it, but where it is I have not a clue.
The store was all out of anti-American freedom-hating hoax-induced sheep masks, so I bought one of the regular ones and saved not only my own life, but also the lives of the miserable wretches who believe masks are some manifestation of a deep state conspiracy. If there were only a way that my mask would not protect them, then we'd really have something.
More than 3000 people crammed like meatpackers into a so-called church, almost no one wearing masks, all to give praise to the sex offender in chief and all with the blessings of Governor Douche. I love ya, Arizona. Quit breaking my heart.
Remember, with the new improved logic, if you don't get tested for pregnancy, you won't get pregnant.
We do not need police in this country. Not one cop is needed. None. All they know how to do is escalate. They all think they are Lyndon Johnson. And before you come back with the idea that without police we would be overrun with criminals, you are wrong. No cop ever prevented a crime because cops are the criminals. Life is not a television show. You want to reduce crime in this country? Put all the cops on a chain gang in Texas in August. Don't bother feeding them. Let them eat one another.
And for those few of you not yet convinced that the movie Jaws addresses itself to EVERYTHING, keep in mind that Quint refused to wear a life jacket. Shortly after announcing this, he was eaten by the shark. Hooper and Brodie wore jackets and lived. Wake the fuck up.
I'm starting a new movement. It is called The Eleventh Minute. There are no meetings and no Facebook pages and no dues to join it. All that is required is that you try to understand. The Eleventh Minute refers to the fact that most people are incapable of seeing beyond the next ten minutes, which is why we have people who pollute, desecrate, defile and destroy with no concern over the consequences. For the rest of us, for those who can see how the police murdering even one man is the same thing as the police murdering every damned one of us, there is the Eleventh Minute.
Have you ever noticed how--whether it is your horoscope or some Facebook personality test--you are invariably generous, self-effacing and a survivor?
The lawless, anti-spiritual insanity of Tucker Carlson: The God I believe in doesn't need a twerpy compensating proselytizer of hate and infidelity to one's fellow human to speak for Him. I am often amazed at how purveyors of cruelty and racism wrap themselves in the flag, hold their inverted Bibles to their chests, try to inflame everyone who disagrees with them, then cry "Foul!" when you call them out as eunuch bullies.
Speak the truth. Speak it even if your voice trembles, even if you fear retribution from businesses or being shunned by friends. Speak the truth even though others may revile you, smite you, scorn or despise you. Speak the truth even if every washed up rocker from Krist Novoselic to Ted Numbnuts blasts contrary bile back in your direction. Speak the truth and hold it up to the light so that every corrupt billionaire from Gina Rinehart to Harold Simmons and others cannot hide from the glare of that truth. Look the devils in the eye--Hannity, Rivera, Tucker, etc--and let loose a frightening laugh. Scream that truth in the faces of people who support You Know Who and then you should use the same truth to ease the pain of his victims. Speak it no matter the name of your country or the language that you speak or the accent you possess. Speak it no matter who your parents were, or who your children are. Stand on the water, cup your hands around your mouth and bellow the truth. Make sure everyone hears you. Scream until your throat is raw. Then find somebody you love and heal yourself with their presence. Speak the truth.
Up is down.
(This political post has not been fact-checked by the social media platform upon which it appears.)
I don't care who started it. Those words sound familiar? Sure. We say them to our kids when they are fighting and one of them moans "But he started it." I don't care who started it, except this is not a playground. This is the street. And in the street an unarmed man has little chance against four stormtroopers and if you dislike that characterization then go read a book and come back when you've learned something.
I don't care if a gaggle of skinhead Qanon freakazoids with mother fixations bounded into town to toss gasoline on the flames. It's all symptomatic. So while we scratch our heads and asses and wring our hands over how there are good cops out there too and golly gee hosanna let's not over react--STOP. The power that any policeman has outweighs what you have and you are constantly at risk because today they are stopping African Americans for driving or walking and guess what? Tomorrow it will be your neck under their knee, or my neck, or someone next door because if they get away with this--as they always seem to do-then they are empowered and the hate feeds the heat and that sick son of a bitch in Washington has saliva dripping off his chin. So don't you dare tell me there are good cops because I've had enough lies for a life time. Of course some police are good. Jesus, we're not stupid. But the position in society that a cop takes on puts that person in a place of remarkable power over all of us, unless what? Unless we remind them occasionally that their power is at our permission and today we say "Get back in your cop cars and if you can't protect us, then at least leave us alone."
Lethal disease as a symbol of freedom. We're so free, we walk through sick wards laughing and slapping terminal cases on the back, telling them to cheer up.
So first there was this crazy guy from some screaming TV show who became president on account of the backlash against what some people perceived to be minority privilege (even though the minorities in question, e.g., women, etc were in the majority) and this president was not so secretly a gangster oligarch who enjoyed a strange type of congress with his Russian counterpart and together they stripped all social protections that their tough guy supporters didn't need (the toughest of whom would not wear a cup during a ball-kicking contest) and then the whole world got sick, which certain transplants from Phoenix decided might really be the way the universe fought back against being abused for so many decades but what was actually happening was the Qanon-ers were drinking Drano to purge themselves of weakness while the National Guard just kind of shrugged and scratched their heads and people such as myself wondered if meat-packers were really as perverse as their job title indicated, even though observations such as that did seem a trifle adolescent, which is okay because I'm still emotionally 17 and can anyone remind me where my bell-bottoms are because I have not seen them in quite a while?
I will be posting telepathically today. So if you think of something funny, that was me.
William Barr's Injustice Department drops all federal charges against Michael Flynn. In a related story, SOLD sign appears at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Russian Oligarchs to complete escrow this weekend.
Most people I talk with want to continue with social distancing, wearing masks, and staying the hell out of meat-packing companies, old folks homes and college dorms (and other prisons). The Earth and I had a brief talk last week and She mentioned how nice it had been with the factories not puking out millions of tons of garbage every second. I repled that it is interesting how much stupid stuff we can actually live without, but She was meditating and I didn't want to bother Her. A few people interpret Stay in Place or at Home rules as some kind of infringement of their right to freely infect everyone they meet. Those are the people who motivate me to buy a big boat, buy Joyce some sunscreen and get myself a sturdy fishing pole and live on the sea with a near-perfect tan and lots of Vitamin D. Between now and then, let me urge you to follow your instincts as long as those instincts lead you to protecting yourself and others because it's the same people who cry the most about their toes being stepped on who support the companies who vomit all the bile on our planet.
With the exception of Jet Blue, the somewhat greedy airline industry says they do not believe they can legally make their passengers wear masks. I ask: Can they legally make their passengers wear shirts? Pants? Funny hats? On the other hand, is your dog getting enough cheese?
If we abandon the logic of protecting ourselves from this pandemic, when the virus hits with full force this Fall and Winter, we in this country will no longer have blue states and red states. We will have dead states.
I don't want to get mean here. You know from experience that I have a powerful way with words and that--should I choose to do so--I could bring you to a quivering mass of moldy jello before breakfast. So just sit there a minute, read this, and don't interrupt.
It seems that over the last week, some of your "people" have decided that "stay at home" orders are somehow infringing upon their freedoms and it appears they just aren't going to take it any more. Just yesterday, people in Colorado, Illinois, Florida (natch), Tennessee and Washington state took to the streets carrying signs with misspelled words that basically translated into : "My freedom to march up and down the street crying like a well-armed prima donna dilettante with a case of aggravated paranoia and bad breath to match outweighs your right to stay healthy."
Earlier in the week, similar bands of outraged borderline personality disorder adherents from California, Michigan, Virginia, Utah, North Carolina and even sweet home Ohio decided to take back the deserted streets in support of the cause of. . .of. . . well, somebody told them it was a good idea. Specifically, the DeVos family. You know, Betsy DeVos, the billionaire Secretary of Education and her brother in deceit Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater USA (they love to attach your name to their machinations, don't they?). That family.
Some of these billionaires have convinced their fans and supporters among the lumpen-proletariat that all this deep state chicanery is costing working people their livelihood and therefore by God ought to by fun or by gun be brought to an ignoble end.
I don't have to tell you, America, that 1200 bucks doesn't do much to feed the bulldog, but when most of that money ends right back in the pockets of rich folks who sell poor folks crap they don't need, one need not be Milton Friedman (he of supply-side fascism) to recognize the fallacies in the whole ordeal. The only people being hurt to any real extent here is in the form of a paper cut--billionaires losing out on a few extra slices of the diminishing pie. Meanwhile, grandpa is being hooked up to a ventilator and they're still burying bodies in the alleys.
That all said, America, land that I do indeed love, I hope you will slap these people of yours awake this morning and set them right. Have them turn off Fox News for five minutes, have them stop injecting messianic balderdash into every reference to the tyrant, and ask them nicely to go home and play violent video games to help them sublimate their sexual yearnings for their maternal parents.
Whew! So glad I did not have to get ugly about this. Have a great day, America!
The Covid-19 is a real life version of the movie Jaws. Think about it. The disease attacks from out of nowhere, with no rhyme or reason. At first, everyone denies there is really a problem because that would be inconvenient economically. Cant close the beaches, that's tourist dollars wasting! Then lots of people get killed. So a bunch of bozos show up with dynamite and try to blow the shark out of the water and bring home a dead tiger shark, which Mr Hooper says aint the killer shark, but that too is inconvenient, so it must be the killer. But it ain't. Okay, so the mayor of the town is. . .well, you know, Trump. The people blowing shit out of the water trying to be tough guys, those might be the folks who show up at all the rallies. Matt Hooper is definitely Dr Fauci. The shark is played by Covid, of course. We are still waiting for a Quint but Gretchen might be Roy Scheider. I mean, cast it any way you like. The parallels are there. Let us hope the disease has no sequels.
Two very good books appeared in 1992, books about a company I knew well, a company about which you yourself have no doubt heard, and a company which no longer required my services near the end of the year in which these two books emerged.
The two books were released within a few months of each other. The first was House of Cards: Inside the Troubled Empire of American Express, by Jon Friedman and John Meehan. The second book had a more sinister title. It was Vendetta: American Express and the Smearing of Edmond Safra.
Neither book showed the strange culture of American Express to be very pleasant.
Indeed, it was not. I endured my time there: nine years of occasional pleasure but more often than not a series of daily surprise knife attacks and gun battles against the unarmed.
When I joined the corporation in December 1983, Jimmy Three Sticks was Chairman. James Robinson III was feared by employees the way people fear reaching into a sack of live snakes. One evening he was presenting his big green card at some high-end jewelry store in California. The amount of the charge was in the low five figures. I saw the name, noted the Special Review status, looked at the name again and assumed my life was over. If I brought Three Sticks to the phone to ensure that it was indeed him making the large purchase, he would no doubt chew me up and spit me out. If I deferred and simply waived the merchant on without inquiry, I would be skewered for neglecting to protect the Empire's financial resources and the good Robinson name.
"Fuck," I said, jamming one cigarette into my mouth without bothering to snub out the one I already had going.
The owner of the store handed the telephone to Three Sticks. I asked him polite questions that even a mental degenerate could answer and all Robinson could do was growl. The merchant came back on the phone. "Do you know who this is?" he asked with a frantic tone.
I gave the guy his approval for the charge and got on with my life.
Although Three Sticks was the nominal head of the business, Big Lou called the shots. Think of Big Lou as the Fixer. When Lou Gerstner took over the territory called Travel Related Services in 1982, the number of cardholders ("members") was a select 8.6 million. The Card projected status, perhaps even a sense of esteem. The rumor was that carrying one in your wallet made your testicles glow. When Big Lou moved on eleven years later, they were handing out cards to any schmuck willing to take one.
I should know. I carried a Platinum one myself, a card with a $300 per year membership fee.
The day Big Lou left, the count was 30.7 million cardmembers.
The worldwide total today is 114 million.
The culture of the company changed, as cultures often do.
When I began my nine-year stint, a group of three men ran the department: John L, Bob and John Y. To this day I do not know if these three even liked one another. What I do know is that a lot of women were in supervisory positions. I noticed as well that eccentricity was the real boss.
One supervisor took home every day a few styrofoam cups from the cafeteria.
Another express on a routine basis that what he cared about was betting at the racetrack.
Others were just riding out their tie.
A few cared about the work.
Two that I know of were gay.
What they all had in common was that the supervisors were all friends with one or more of the managers.
At the time, that seemed reasonable, if not quite normal.
The stories I could tell. But I won't.
I won't, for instance, tell you about seeing massive charge requests from businesses with names like Sterling Management, Bridge Publications, Religious Technology Services, Celebrity Center, Dianetics--all of which were different trademarks owned by the Church of Scientology. $5,000 charges from these establishments were the order of the day, I could tell you but will not, just as I will not mention that when asked the salesperson invariably replied that the charges were for educational materials or that the overwhelming majority of the cardholders who bought such things were either dentists or chiropractors and if you look closely in any large city you will to this day observe that where you see a sign for a dentist, one for a chiropractor will be nearby. I could but will not mention in passing how several of us pulled together sufficient data to conclude that these members were buying material they were in turning selling to others or, to put it gently, floating huge sums of cash, showing and paying huge balances and then in a flash going broke when they could--and I want to be oh so very careful how I say this, what with the litigious nature of our society--not finding anyone new interested in buying their "educational material." In short, the organization itself appeared to many of us to be a high and unnecessary risk and when we spoke with the head of the department overseeing the merchant side of our business, to our dismay we learned that person himself--though neither a dentist nor chiropractor--had incurred charges of his own from this thoughtful and reputable series of establishments.
But the Credit Authorizations department within the Western Region Operations Center as part of the Card Division of Gerstner's Travel Related Services was twenty-four hour on-your-feet shouting, running, swearing, pounding and overly sexualized work. Yes, work was the order of the day because we always seemed to be just a bit understaffed, which meant that some card-carriers and many merchants had to wait what must have seemed an interminable time to find out if a charge was approved or declined.
I won't tell you either that in our role of bringing members to the telephone at the point of sale--as we did in those days--to discuss the merits of approving or declining certain purchases--it came to pass that I spoke with a newscaster for one of the big networks whose account had drifted more than three months in arrears and how she expressed her chagrin at being brought to the phone, seeing as how the President of the USofA was standing but a few feet from her. I would never discuss that, any more than I would reveal how I continually blocked a certain former nightclub singer and child actor who had gone on to own a substantial chunk of the marquees in Las Vegas with his renditions of songs that all had the word "Daddy" in the title, or that when I say "blocked" I of course mean prevented from making charges on any of his several Amex accounts what with him being many months passed due, a fact not mitigated by the horrendous nature of his nightclub acts. And to boot I would never tell you that somehow or other this same guy--after a few phone calls to higher ups--always managed to get those holds removed.
That said, it goes without saying that I would find it inappropriate to share a most amusing story about how the bassist and chief songwriter for a then-popular band of hedonistic hard rockers did, when brought to the phone at a time when not that many people outside the industry knew who the poor sad bastard was, bring to tears the person sitting next to me who suffered for no good reason a string of brash obscenities meant to intimidate and dissuade beneath the guise of being an indignant prima donna. The amusing part of the story occurred moments later when I positioned myself at a computer terminal and cancelled the future star's account as being "deceased," an 06 cancellation, if memory serves. I would never consider going on to tell you that when some freaky-haired illustrated man in leather and attitude presents a plastic charge card with the name of a presumably dead person on it, the authorities all too soon get involved.
It would, without doubt, be wrong of me to further disclose that after this pompous buffoon at long last and weeks later verified his condition of life and received by registered mail a replacement card and written apology from God knows whom, he found that within minutes this card too had been cancelled for the same reason as before.
But such as the vicissitudes of rock star arrogance.
Please remember this was a department where screaming bloody murder was the order of the day and the gentle voice of reason had been strangled and incinerated long before I had even arrived on the scene. When a series of transactions were awaiting the attention of a well-intentioned Credit Authorizer, the standard method of communicating this fact was for the supervisor in charge to rise from the Control Desk located in the center of the fray, throw back the chair, lift one eyebrow while lowering the other, knock over the nearest coffee cup and--in the voice of an inebriated cockatoo-- screech, "Ay, ye bastards! We've got thirty in queue! I needs every swinging dick on the phones! I needs every screen up! Chop-chop! Suey-suey! Gimme a clear out! Use my number! Hu-yaw!"
Do not feel inferior if you do not comprehend the meaning of this series of commands. I do not know now what they meant. I did not know then. No one ever did know. They were just words, verbal spasms designed to convey that the department was metaphorically in flames once again and that everyone within earshot needed to pretend to give a damn.
The thing was: No one ever told us that this was all play-acting. We took it seriously. We knocked little old people out of our way as we lunged at vacant computers, keying the command 66 which made available the next pending transaction which in turn we evaluated in two or three seconds, often without so much as looking at the necessary information because clearly what mattered was the bellows of the supervisor be quenched and that doing a decent job was secondary, if not tertiary, if even important at all.
One of my big successes (and one of humanity's biggest successes, for that matter, because we really are all connected and no one makes it on his own--we are all responsible for one another's successes and failures and if you don't like that point of view, find another solar system, buddy) was Lisa Ann. Yep, when I first met her, all I could think about was the way the back pockets of her blue jeans wiggled up and down as she walked away. But in no time at all I recognized that there was something very dear and special percolating inside that sweet head of hers and I wanted to get to know her, be her friend, spend serious time being silly.
Instead of all the things I will not tell you, I will tell you this.
One evening Lisa Ann and I were sitting in my apartment, drinking the first of three bottles of cheap white wine. At some point we got to talking about what a dummy a certain supervisor at work was (I won't say her real name, so we will call her Katherine), and how it might be fun to annoy her.
I stood up and announced, "Let's explore the distinctions between annoyance, irritation, and making someone totally insane!"
Lisa Ann stood up and said, "Yes! Let's do!"
I picked up the telephone, this being in the days before caller ID and that type of buzz kill, and rang up Katherine the Supervisor, a woman who at that very moment was sitting at the Control Desk in the Authorizations department at American Express in the Western Region Operations Center, which was where Lisa Ann and I worked. Katherine answered the phone and I said, "I need to speak with Bubbles."
"Bubbles?" she said, all sorts of background noise and confusion dying down as if she had said "E.F. Hutton." "Is that someone here in this department?"
"Most certainly," I replied. "I need to speak with her right away."
Katherine said she would try to find her for me. She sat the phone receiver down and I could hear her marching up and down the many aisles of cubicles, asking in that strangled cat voice of hers, "Is your name Bubbles? Does anyone know Bubbles? Who the hell is Bubbles?"
At long last she returned to the Control Desk, retrieved the telephone handset and--with heavy breath--said, "Sir, I'm sorry. I cannot find anyone here named Bubbles?"
"Is this American Express?"
"Yes, yes it is American Express."
"Oh, well, my mistake then," I said and hung up.
Upcoming Webinar: Finding Big Money in Small Business
Join SCORE Monmouth and Mariel Miller, The Franchise Advisor, to talk about LESS is more - Local Essential Service Solutions in today's world.
Franchises are today's hottest opportunities, learn how to find and fund opportunities and the general principles of owning a franchise.
SCORE, America’s premier source of free, confidential small business advice, was founded in 1964 as a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Because SCORE receives government funding, and thanks to their more than 10,000 dedicated volunteers, they are able to deliver most of our offerings at no cost.
Friday June 26, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM FREE
Register now at https://bit.ly/2BaCgpB
Finding Big Money in Small Business
June 26 | 11:00 AM ET
Join Monmouth SCORE and Mariel Miller, The Franchise Advisor to talk about LESS is more - Local Essential Service Solutions in today's world.
Franchises are today's hottest opportunities, learn how to find and fund opportunities and the general principles of owning a franchise. https://bit.ly/318JgOo
SCORE, America’s premier source of free, confidential small business advice, was founded in 1964 as a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Because SCORE receives government funding, and thanks to our more than 10,000 dedicated volunteers, we are able to deliver most of our offerings at no cost.
Our network of 10,000+ expert volunteers offers business mentoring and workshops at more than 250 SCORE offices across the country. SCORE also provides virtual mentoring services via phone, email, and video, plus webinars and other online resources for budding entrepreneurs and established business owners.
Monmouth SCORE offers Always FREE Business Mentoring from experienced Local Business leaders and Business Owners.
Register here: https://bit.ly/318JgOo