Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Get After It.

Just get after it

T’was the day after Christmas, early to most, about 4:30 in the morning. I’m up at that time because I’m a morning person, one of those optimists. “It’s a new day and what will the world bring me?” is how I feel as the sun comes up. It also comes from years of getting up early to host a radio morning show. Plus, I’m a firm believer; “if you get up and get after it” you beat half the human population. It’s a way of getting an edge without screwing over your fellow man.
This holiday season I was up to go to Wal-Mart.
I walked in and the place was buzzin.’ I noticed everyone in every department had on their blue shirts and blue and white name tags, busy stocking the shelves, taking down Christmas displays, and one was cursing about, “where the hell is Amber.”
I nodded to them as I passed, the typical Wal-Mart employee, all shapes and sizes, colors, hair lengths, and facial hair.
I’m there to pick up some things, one being toilet tissue and wonder if anyone I know will see me. Buying certain items embarrass me.
I pick up some Dawn dish detergent, go onward toward the donuts, which is completely out and grab some of the gooey cake, Paula Dean’s recipe. I’m figuring it’s the holidays and I’ll work it off later at the gym. I don’t start diets at the first of the year I start them one week before. After years of failure, I’ve resorted to the notion that it’s not how you begin a year. It’s how you end the old one.
With an armful of items and no cart because not a cart or “buggy” as the elderly lady called it was in view when I walked in, I proceeded to the front to checkout.
I sure as hell passed the self-check out because I have never gone through one without ticking off the people behind me and I noticed that none of the numbers at the check out were lit and yelled to a couple of female employees on the other side, in that front alley were you start to wonder on which side did you park.
“Are you guys even open?” I asked.
“No! We’re not open, baby,” came the reply.
“When do you open?”
My first thought was, “Crap it’s only 5 o’clock”
My second thought was why didn’t someone tell me they weren’t open as I was walking back and forth through the store with an armload full of merchandise. I must have passed twenty-five them. All of them looked at me but none of them said a word. What the hell, did they think? I worked here? I got on a pair jeans and a red sweatshirt. If I worked anywhere it would have been Target.
Shaking my head and contemplating what to do next I remember the wife of a colleague who is a Wal-Mart employee. She told me at a Christmas party a few days earlier that one on the worst parts of the holiday is putting the merchandise back on it’s correct rack, so I decided not to just leave it in the only aisle with the cigarettes and put it back myself.
The Dawn detergent was the farthest and as I passed the employees setting up a new counter by the produce, and the woman who was still looking for Amber, I had a different take on things. I wasn’t happy with Wal-Mart.
I was now trying to figure out why these people when they saw me shopping didn’t say, “Excuse me sir, you idiot, don’t you see there are no customers in here. We’re not open. It was Christmas yesterday and we’re not open yet. Yes, you sir with your toilet paper. Had a big meal did you? Up early? Needed paper? Did you have too much turkey and fixin’s?
I shot back in my mind “No! But when you got to go, you got to go. Everyone has to eventually and I’m glad I don’t need suppositories.
Wal-Mart employees have always interested me since I applied at Wal-Mart and didn’t get hired. I applied while I was working for a company I thought would go under because of bad times. When I didn’t get hired by the biggest retailer in the world, I wrote it off as, “At least I wasn’t fired by the biggest retailer in the world,” because I’m a guy who gets up early and gets after it.
Getting after it is very important. I tell that to all young people.
I went in the oilfield business for a short time when I got fed up with the radio industry sucking up my talent. I got out and decided to go for the money. I was amazed at how men would bullshit all day long and not work. It reminded me of my days in college when I worked for state government.
When a piece of work such as an oilfield drilling tool or even something someone had to paint, would show up in the different departments men wouldn’t “get after it.” These guys would stand around the thing and talk amongst themselves while it sat there. Someone might eventually kick it a few times, I guess to see if it was real.
Then they would smoke a cigarette and talk about it. Then answer their cell phone and then a have to go to the office or the bathroom to take the call.
I learned early you might as well just do what the hell you’re paid for. At this particular oilfield company this young guy said to me, “Larry, you always have your gloves on.”
I said, “I don’t want to lose my job. When the boss comes out of the office, I either just put something down or I’m about to pick something up.” I said, “Dude, don’t you think it’s harder to look like you’re working then not do what the hell is in front of you? At least I look like I’m getting after it.”
He said with a vague understanding, “Oh! Wow! I guess you’re right”
I bet he’s a CEO by now.
I walked out of the store and waved to the police officer that I recognized in the police car and as I passed without the tissue paper I was glad. I jumped into my car, started her up, left the parking lot and passed a few other places that were closed. I didn’t feel offended because they had their lights out letting me know I wasn’t allowed in.
I was headed home and passed the CVS. It was open. I got the Dawn, the good cookies with the caramel in them and the Scott one-thousand sheet roll that always seems to last longer. I was good to go and ready for a delicious breakfast of turkey and fixin’s.

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