Archive for February, 2010

Everyone Into the Jury Pool

February 25, 2010

I got called for jury duty for the first time in about 4 years. I live in a different county luckily, so instead of having to travel from the western suburbs into downtown Chicago (while passing the county courthouse might I add), I was able to go to the relatively small town of Woodstock, IL since the county I currently live in is largely rural. I am all for doing my civic duty, proud to do so actually, but it could not have come at a worse time. Not that there is ever a convenient time for this, but during the months of February and March, I am spearheading a project involving the exporting of hundreds of ocean containers containing multi-million dollars of commodity grade copper. Lots of logistics and documentation involved in such a project so having already had my hands more than full, this decidedly did not help.

Anyway, as soon as I got my summons I started speculating on what kind of case it would be. I more or less assumed it would be “Bubba done shot out the tires of my truck!” Turns out, I was not that far off…

To sum up: A trucker was loading some grain at a granary about 20 miles north of where I live. As he was pulling away, his truck swiped a side chute from one of the silos. Instead of stopping as soon as he felt the impact, he proceeded forward towards the back of the facility. Another trucker (AKA, the defendant), took it upon himself to drive forward in his truck, overtake the offending trucker, and block his path so he could make him account for the damage he caused to the chute and the truck. He came out of his truck waving his arms and yelling at the driver to stop. Once he did, he allegedly approached the driver and started yelling and cursing profusely at his carelessness. By all accounts the offending driver was nothing but apologetic at his error. A third employee of the facility pulled up in a pick up truck and asked what was going on. Now. His version is he tried to defuse a confrontation between driver A and driver B and in so doing, further pissed off driver B (the defendant). To make a 3-day long story short, in the process of trying to break up a potential fight between driver A and B, the third person was punched in the nose which subsequently broke thereupon (to use legal parlance). So. The case before us consisted of was the battery on the third party by driver B justified since the third party ended up grabbing the guy by the lapels and pushed him against a truck supposedly to try to separate the two drivers and prevent a fight and he was just trying to defend himself, or was his response excessive and not considered a reaction to “Impending physical threat” thereby being battery according to the law.

After three votes with 1 holdout for conviction (guess who?), they decided on the former and it’s back to work for me on Thursday. I guess it’s worth mentioning, nay, tooting my own horn, to say that a lessor employee would have been persona non grata for 3 days and their co-workers would have had to sort it out for themselves. What I did was report to work at 7:30 every morning and stay until the last possible minute until I had to head to court, and check in via my I-Phone to my work e-mail whenever I could and sort out things as best I was able to in the limited time I had.

So. To copy an old TV spot they used to run on the weekends, read the above case and; You Make the Call!


Being the Best

February 20, 2010

Ok, here’s the thing; I have been watching and listening to Andres Segovia a lot lately and having read his biography know that the man used to practice 8-10 hours a day. Every day.  Currently watching Julie & Julia and know that Julia Child was so pissed that the men in her Le Cordon Bleu class was mocking the way she prepped onions, that she bought a  20 LB bag and chopped every single one over one afternoon until she mastered it. Been watching the Olympics on and off and know that those kids also practice all day long and physically injure themselves in their quest to be the best. I read about historians who devote their whole lives to a single topic and have an encyclopedic knowledge of their chosen subject.

This is why I’ll never be great at anything….

At this point in my life I realize that even though I have aspirations and some degree of talent in a few disciplines, despite my passions for such things as cooking and music, I will never amount to anything that anyone would consider “the best”. What I am is in what I guess you’d call middle management. Having been in mid to upper management, I find that I hate it due to the people factor. At the end of the day, all you end up being is a babysitter for people less competent than yourselves. I cook of course and like to think I’m pretty good at it, at least better than the average “home cook”, but nothing that would really blow people away despite how much I push myself to be better with each and every dish. I still play guitar from time to time after having done it for a living for a while, but I will never achieve the level of competence that even the average 13-year-old You Tuber has reached. Oh, and I used to fancy myself a writer; having about half a book sitting in a binder for the past 15 years and a few published pieces, but all I can muster now is the very occasional blog that is decidedly weak at best.

Not sure where all this leaves me. Nice to be the typical Jack-of-all-Trades master of none, but there has always been something in me that says I’m supposed to be an expert at something, or something that I am known for or at the very least, doing something I love and getting paid for it; the true American Dream. Thing is, it’s not that I’m not passionate or interested in my work. I find myself working 10-12 hour days and still talking enthusiastically about transportation and international trade, but maybe that’s just good work ethic.

In the meantime, I guess I just keep doing the things I like to do and hope it either pays off in some way, or at least figure out what I want to be when I grow up.