Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today's Forecast: Cloudy with a 50% chance of scattered words

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

This, time, I didn’t fall off the wine trail, I was thrown off. Sensing the pain of the customers and the salespeople just isn’t a popular commercial philosophy. After all, why let something emotional like a relationship with our clients get in the way of business?

Those who observe say this has been a challenging O-N-D. October was lackluster. After the November elations there has been a little uptick in the restaurants. Steak houses mainly, expense account meals for large roving bands of white middle aged males who are tired from their day in the rough fairways of commerce. Hey, they eat steak and drink red wine. We’ll take it. Maybe slip an Aglianico in there without them knowing it, eh?

So, what’s it like to sit in a room with the smartest guy in the room? It’s just great. As a listener, I can just let the string out a little and watch the kite soar. And the egos.

American life, everyone wants the kicker line, the million-dollar solution, the answer of answers. Everyone wants to be the smartest guy in the room, that’s what we have been trained for in America; the riches, the rewards, fame, power, control, all of it. The pie. Big piece of it.

Dusting myself off from getting thrown off, I stopped by the Italian Club. I had a bottle of the newest DOCG wine, Primitivo di Manduria Dolce, for the manager. He’s from Molfettta, near Bari. We’re a week away from Thanksgiving. I wanted to thank him for his support, his kindness. Always an emotional uplift after being locked out. I get it, boys, there isn’t any more oxygen to let another of “them” in. And women think it just happens to them. I’ll take it to the streets, where the deal is real.

Nope, good old America is an equal opportunity abuser of talent and good spirit. Teamwork? As long as the shortstop gets all the credit.

I have really been thinking about corporate health lately. Not in any one situation, but generally. Big picture, view from “the cloud”. Just like almost everything we do in America, it’s all about a quick fix. Headache? Get a script for Oxycontin. Preggers? Hey, we can “fix” anything. No credit? Relax the rules. Let someone else pay, down the road. Have the 48oz. Porterhouse tonight. Go on a diet tomorrow. Inflation worries in Italy? Raise the prices. Who cares if the Fed is making the dollar weaker to encourage trade? Pinot Grigio at $15, instead of $9.99? Re-frame it as a luxury item. A necessary indulgence in hard times. Works for me.

Don’t show anger, we don’t want it see it in our president or our line worker. We want happy workers and happy leaders. Look out kid, they keep it all hid. Put a little Cabernet and Merlot in it, it’ll make it more acceptable. Assimilable. Yeah that’s what we need, to have those uniformities so that you don’t stick out. Don’t make a statement. Fit in. Be an American, dammit.

Alas! must it ever be so?
Do we stand in our own light, wherever we go,
And fight our own shadows forever?
~Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton

Six more weeks of this? Hope the north wind that’s blowing clears some of this out by the morning.

Graphics generated by Jonathan Feinberg’s Wordle
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