Good, Bad, Ugly: Pick Two
I want to start by telling you how my busted furnace adventure came out but it’s so ugly I can barely stand to relive it. Let’s just say the “good contractor” fixed in an hour what the “bad contractor” didn’t fix in a week and a half. Bad Contractor said the part we needed was in Dallas; Good Contractor said it was in the back of his truck and available anywhere that sold furnace parts. Bad Contractor said we told him not to fix it at all, so he didn’t. Why we’d bring him over and tell him not to do any work, I don’t know. Yelp! says this isn’t surprising behavior by Bad Contractor.
I have a calendar in my office that says, “STRENGTH: Smile at trouble and grow through continuous effort,” which sounds like a sign you’d see in a North Korean textile factory, but OK, I am trying. I had a lot to smile at last month.
Here’s a story about perspective—on Christmas eve a few years ago I dropped my phone in a QuikTrip parking lot. The screen shattered and that was it for the phone. My brother was going to run me to Wal-Mart before it closed to see if we could get a new phone, and as I was thinking about what a horrible Christmas Eve it was and “why me?” we passed by a several-vehicle accident surrounded by police and fire vehicles and I realized that maybe a broken phone wasn’t the worst that could happen. Better yet, when they found out what happened, one of the officers took me in his car, sirens blaring, to make sure I got to Wal-Mart before it closed! Because no phone on Christmas? Everyone should have a working phone on Christmas!
OK, that last part didn’t happen, and I had to wait until at least the 26th. But things could be worse. And they could be better. I looked January 2018 square in the face and said you win.
“Smile at trouble and grow through continuous effort.”
February exhorts me to “imagine new possibilities.” That’s easier, and after January I have no choice.
Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but there’s something comforting in artificial intelligence. Like when your cell phone says Good Morning or Good Evening with a photo of a sunrise or sunset, or Facebook says it really cares about your birthday, or Alexa tells you a Halloween joke. Imagine how many folks with no one to talk to can now at least have AI friends. Not only that, if you say “Alexa, play ‘No Luck at Home’” and she understands you, you can hear me sing a country tune. You can say “Alexa stop” if you need me to quiet up. But our devices love us, and despite all the predictions of doom, technology has the capacity to be a friend. If you don’t drop your phone from the top of the ladder, it can be a big help in your business as well. It’s no secret there was war and mayhem and social isolation before the development of the cell phone, so I’m not sure why some people act as if civilization was a no-ants picnic until just this decade.
If there’s one thing the newer generation has over the older, it’s paint. You can take for granted it doesn’t stink a place up and that it has better performance characteristics than it used to. When something works better, you can do the job you’re meant to do. As Josh Bohm “the new guy” said recently, “I’m willing to pay more for anything that lets me play my guitar without having to worry about whether it works or not. It lets me get more into the music and give a better performance.”
I learned with my furnace that paying more to get it done right beats freezing to death. If you cost more, it’s because you’re worth it. Hopefully by now February has kicked January down a few flights of steps.