(For a while I tried to write a quarterly update instead of the annual update.  It seemed more manageable.  I just found one from from July, 2001.  It contains some deep thoughts and a snapshot of a period of my life which is mostly a blur.  Read on and you’ll see why.  It seemed a shame to let such a nice encapsulation of that adventure disappear, so I post it here for me and all eternity.  c. ;))

There are alot of things I’ve been curious about for a long time.  Like, why
are people only famous people in past lives? But, more importantly, why
would someone accept a challenge to duel?  Why was it considered noble and
honorable to stand in a field at dawn and let a guy shoot at you while you
shot at him? Where is the honor in that?

I recently had some insight into this question that I thought I’d share with
you, in case you’ve been wondering the same thing.  You see, I have a new
job.  It’s a monster of a job, in fact, last week I worked fifty-two hours.
And when I say, “work,” I mean run at high speed for most of the day. I come
home at night exhausted.  Brent fixes dinner, we walk the dog and get ready
for bed.  “Grueling” begins to get to describe my days.

My boss is a classic Type A personality; hard-charging, over-achiever with a
rolodex numbering into the thousands.  If he doesn’t have a phone in his ear
it’s because he’s dictating letters (for me to type) to respond to the day’s
calls.  The volume of information that flows across his desk is truly
amazing.  The out-box is stacked six-inches high everyday and dealing with
its contents is my job.  His job is trying to turn the Four Seasons attempt
at timeshare into a viable business after a less-than-hoped-for beginning.
So he’s the turn-around guy.  A tough position to be in.  But he likes to
clean up messes.

As I write that sentence, I realize that I am the turn-around guy at the
administrative level. The previous assistant was standing with her finger in
the dike but the crack was expanding faster than her finger grew. So I
inherited a river where there should be–to stretch this metaphor to the
breaking point–a road.  Or, an information superhighway, if you will.
Information isn’t information if it isn’t in a form that you can use so
there were lots of words on pages floating in the river.

I do not blame the previous assistant; I completely understand how things
got the way they are.  She wanted a life after work so she only worked 10
hours a day.  Not unreasonable by most people’s standards. But the boss
works 12. And he doesn’t eat. (Side note:  One day a noontime conference
call was canceled. He decided to drive to the local deli and get a sandwich.
He brought it back and sat at his desk and ate his lunch at a leisurely
pace.  “This is very human. I should do this more often,” he said to me. I
couldn’t agree more.) What is needed in the office is two assistants, or at
least one-and-a-half, to keep up with him.

So what does this have to do with dueling?  I should have known better. I
did the job as a temporary for 6 weeks.  I saw exactly what the situation
was.  I knew how much work was needed to get things in shape.  When I was
temping, people would ask me if I wanted the job permanently and I said,
honestly, “No.” But somewhere along the way, the challenge became
tantalizing. Could I do it?  Could I fix the problems and develop systems
that would make it manageable?  Am I really the hotshot assistant I think I
am or just another administrator shuffling paper? Maybe it’s time to test my
mettle.  We’ll just step into the clearing at dawn, point that gun and see
who flinches…

So here I am.  Only it may be that the gun is to my head and I’m the one
holding it.  I admit that this behavior may be indicative of a form of
mental illness.  I think maybe the difference between me and Hamilton is
that (legend tells us) he didn’t fire.  I intend to fire with both barrels.
Hell, I’m using a cannon.  And, I have a time limit. It is my intention to
stand in the clearing for not more than three months.  At that time, I send
up the white flag and ask for my own assistant. I should have everything
ship-shape by then so I can more easily manage the help too.  That’s my
theory.  You may not hear from me for a while but I’ll let you know how it
turns out.  Hamilton died after thirty-one hours of excruciating pain from a
bullet wound to the abdomen with the bullet lodged against his spine.  That
was three years after his son was killed in a duel.  Will some people ever
learn?
7/10/01

9/27/01 Passed my three-month probationary period on 9/25.  Worked 12 hours today.  Obviously not out of the woods yet.  But getting there. c. 😉

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