Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today's fortune: April 19, 2011

Today's fortune: A blonde from afar has something interesting for you.

Couple ways to interpret this one today. It could be referring to a blonde who currently lives at a distance, or it could mean a blonde who came from a distance. Since the fortune doesn't say "From afar, a blonde..." I'm going to assume the latter is true.

In that spirit, I drove to work today with one person in particular in mind. Although I work with lots of blondes, most of them are women, and I didn't want Jamie to think I was using this fortune as an excuse to flirt. The blonde person I thought of was my old trainer, Ed.

"You grew up in Oregon," I said to Ed. "And you're blonde. Do you have something interesting you could share with me, maybe a story from your days in Oregon?"

Ed reminded me of this story he had told back in the training class. When he was a younger man, Ed worked at a plywood factory. When the huge sheets of plywood came out of a dryer, the ones that weren't dry enough and needed to go back through the dryer were marked with a pink stripe. Ed's job was to work at the end of the chute where the plywood came out. If the plywood had the pink stripe, it was placed in a pile on Ed's left and someone took it back to the dryer. If there was no stripe, Ed place the plywood to his right. Those sheets were ready to go out the door.

Ed used the story to illustrate how our jobs would be different. "Widget making is not a mindless job, like placing pieces of plywood with a pink stripe on one stack and pieces of plywood with no stripe on another stack. You have to use your mind; you have to be a problem-solver."

A couple weeks after Ed told the story, two new trainees joined our class from another department. Shortly after, when Ed was describing a complex aspect of the job, he said, "Remember, it's not like putting pink-striped plywood over here and no-striped plywood over here." The first time he said that, one of the new trainees looked at me and said, "What the hell is he talking about?" Pretty funny.

I was extremely busy at work today, so I didn't get much of a chance to ask any other blondes to share stories. But then I ran into Mike, one of the staff managers in the department. "Hey," Mike said. "I was on an airplane yesterday and I was telling somebody about your fortune cookie project."
I looked up at Mike's blonde head and I asked, "Why were you on an airplane yesterday?"

Mike's brother lives in New York City. The brother was moving to a bigger apartment, and he happened to be in Kansas City over the weekend to gather some of his belongings from his parents' home. The brother asked Mike if he'd like to drive with him to New York to help him move in. Mike, the spontaneous guy that he is, agreed.

When they departed from Kansas City Saturday afternoon, rain was falling. Mike said they drove straight through to New York, only halting for pit stops and to change drivers, and they followed a storm cell the entire way.

"It rained literally the whole trip," Mike said. They drove through the rain for 18 hours.

Upon arriving in New York, they unloaded the van - in the rain. Mike's sister-in-law, who is a Broadway actress, insisted on taking Mike out to dinner at a fancy restaurant that night. Even though Mike was sweaty, tired and drenched with rain, he agreed to go - only then finding out they would be joined by other actors in the cast of the musical.

He flew back into town yesterday and shared my blog with a stranger on a plane.

All the way from New York, Mike the blonde staff manager brought me an interesting story.


  1. Well played, sir. I was a little worried about this one. You can sleep inside tonight :-)