Jamie introduced our boys to the empire that is the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) when Colin was about two years old. Jamie isn’t really a devotee, but when he realized the children didn’t know who Andre the Giant was, he recognized the opportunity for education.
One Easter we took the boys to “big church” in Albany. I was a little nervous. This wasn’t our little country church. It was a fancy church with real liturgical colors and banners and a big choir and microphones. The Easter prelude that morning began with the pipe organ’s deep, full-throated bellow of a long, triumphant chord. Colin, who was three, with wide, excited eyes loudly whispered, “MAMA! It’s the Undertaker! He’s here!!”
I work in a cubicle farm. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. My cube is larger than most I’ve seen on television. That’s a plus, I suppose. Although the way my computer is situated in the corner, I cannot see people walk up behind me. Others in the farm have mounted mirrors to the left and right of their computer screens, so they are alerted when someone is behind them. It’s a little long-distance truck driver for me, but it must work. They are never caught by surprise. Last week, I carried on an entire conversation with a co-worker while she looked at me in her rear-view mirror. It was a little off-putting.
Working in a cubicle makes me feel like a little girl who has been put in the corner for punishment. Being sentenced to standing in the corner was a big deal when I was little, it was a space I wanted to escape quickly! As a grown up with a family that needs relatively affordable group health insurance, you learn to sit in the corner. With a smile. All. Day. Long.
Recently, I attended an office meeting at which it was explained that those we serve would soon be asked to complete a survey regarding their overall experience. The higher we score on the survey, the better. In the meeting, we learned that the survey is composed of approximately twenty statements. Respondents are asked to make those statements most true by checking one of four boxes:
Always. Usually. Sometimes. Never.
It’s not uncommon for companies to survey their clients. That wasn’t the surprise. What surprised me was that we receive a score ONLY when respondents check ALWAYS. Should respondents check any of the other boxes in terms of our performance (Usually, Sometimes, or Never) we get no score at all. No matter how good the service, how thoughtful the intent, how clear the instructions, or positive the experience, if the respondent doesn’t check the box labeled ALWAYS – it’s as if we did nothing at all.
Growing up in the country, there is a realism that comes with the excitement of loving of a pet. Although I don’t remember a singular moment in which we learned the lesson, Ginny and I always knew there was a very real chance we could lose any animal we loved to the highway that runs in front of our house, or to a bobcat or coyote. Out in the middle of nowhere, there most certainly exists an only-the-strong-survive reality.
Throughout our childhood we had cats get in fights with wild cats and go missing, a dog that escaped his pen and got hit by a car, even our parakeet, Lucy, learned how to escape her cage and flew into a nearby tree. Our 6’3” Daddy said he knew he looked ridiculous when he climbed that tree and “rescued” her. When she escaped the second time, he said she’d have to take her chances. We never saw her again. As a result, Ginny instituted an “inside pets only” policy on the Sanders family that lasts to this day.
“Hey, I really need you to look at something.” I was loading the dishwasher when Jamie got my attention. At our house this sentence can mean one of about three things: 1) I need you to look at a really cool work something on my computer. 2) I need you to look at the unusually picture-worthy position the children are in right now. 3) I need you to look at this spot, lump, mole, etc. I knew from his tone, we were in number three territory.