Saturday, December 17, 2005

STAPLES And We're Not Talking The Store

These are tense times we are living in…

I’m making copies of all our paperwork that will accompany our dossier to our agency tomorrow. This sounds like a piece of cake. It’s not. In fact, it is very nerve racking; and those who have gone before know quite well my reason for such queasiness.

One word: STAPLES

Oh sneer if you must but I tell you true, these are the times that try men’s souls. Ok, so I borrowed that last line from history but nonetheless – this is gut wrenching. You remember just the other day when Johnny ran into his little “staple” incident? I’m telling you, staples are a deal breaker. Let just one of these little buggers fall out or cause the paper to tear away and you can start adding weeks if not months to the paperchase. This is serious business I am undertaking. I am feeling the pressure.

Excuse me for just a minute…

I’m back. It’s just me, the copier and a refilled glass of Toasted Head 2002 pulling this off right now.

We had dinner with friends last night and the subject of making these particular copies came up in our conversation. My friend K made a suitable suggestion of hiring it out. No can do. Not that I wouldn’t trust someone else to do it (that’s a lie) but should a staple come out just WHO do you think would be blamed? Maybe ME for not doing it to begin with? I think so… And therein lies my lose-lose dilemma; if I screw it up I’m dead meat and if I hired it out and they screwed it up I’m dead meat.

Excuse me for just a minute…

You can never have enough printer ink or Toasted Head 2002 (Cabernet). Now where were we?

Ah yes, STAPLES.

I am somewhat accustomed to pressure. There have been times when I rose to the challenge and times when I gave a new meaning to underachiever. Once, many years ago, I can still recall a basketball game at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament in which every boyhood dream was suddenly thrust upon me. I would be shooting the free throws that would either win the game or lose the game. We were playing Bell City and they called a timeout to “freeze” me before I was to shoot the free throws. I clearly remember thinking that the point of all that was to make me nervous so I would miss the shot. I made it and the next one. We won. And I remember not being nervous. Relieved but not nervous.

In the progression of what I do for a living I also worked under pressure while in the position of a Control Room Operator. I stood (Ok, I sat) for 12 hours at a time monitoring the screens, alarms, whistles and bells that contributed to your lights staying on and thus preventing you from ever having to depend on your computer’s battery backup power supply. The secret was too make seconds appear to stretch into minutes while you made decisions that depending on your actions could result in review and possible disciplinary action. I developed the habit of singing “If I Only Had A Brain” from the Wizard of Oz as a way of helping me to relax and stay calm when things around me were anything but. Hey, it worked for me. As exciting as that job was, I recall being happy to move on to the next position that required me to watch others act calm while they churned inside.

Excuse me for just a minute…

Which brings me back to STAPLES.

How do I properly express that tonight I am nervous about making copies of STAPLED documents without coming off as a complete wimped out, puny spined, chicken livered girly-man? Maybe by just owning up to the fact that this means so very much to us and I want to do it right. And I don’t want to see the disappointment in my wife’s eyes should I do anything to set us back. This is more important than a basketball game and I’m sure your battery backup power supply will work.

One word: STAPLES

Tonight they help determine a timeline as to just when one little girl comes to her forever home. Wish me luck. I need all the STAPLE mojo you can whip on me. Your prayers would be nice.

Excuse me for just one minute...

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