“I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, so I’ll leave it up to you.” (Alvin Lee)

I work with a lot of teenagers in my job at the grocery store. Some of them I have very high hopes for like Ben, Aubrey, Shelby and Lauren. The rest of them need to study more and so to that end I would like to offer my services as professor of remedial education. Today’s lesson will be about the meaning of the word, Epiphany.

I started my current job about one year ago this week. After I left my last job working with foster kids, I had to give up my company car so I planned to walk to work at the store, given that it was only a mile from my neighborhood. And when I say neighborhood I mean exactly that, we are neighborly to a fault. Neighborly is an old word that means friendly, caring and helpful. So much so that when my neighbors found out about my new job, they threw me a party. It was fun. We drank a little and talked a lot. Or it might have been the other way around. During the course of the evening my close friend Howard had an epiphany. An epiphany is defined as a sudden intuitive insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple or commonplace experience, like drinking beer. In this neighborhood, we have a lot of epiphanies. They’re not all worthy of a blog but let’s get back to the lesson.

Howard and I have been close friends for 25 years. When I say close, I mean within 100 feet of each other because he lives right across the street from me. I also mean that friendship is very important to both of us. Howard’s epiphany was to make my life easier by giving me his old 1998 Ford pickup to drive to work. It was just sitting in the driveway for the few times he still needed a truck but often times it sat there so long it wouldn’t start so Howard intuitively realized that if I drove it every day, even two miles, it would keep the battery charged and help me out at the same time. I gladly accepted his generous offer and my life has become much easier because of his act of kindness.

I walk about 3-4 miles a day at the store so an extra 2 miles back and forth would have been tough. The truck solved my biggest problem and also enabled me to put all of my energy into learning a new job. After 6 months of proving myself to upper management, I earned the right to seek out more responsibility. Mostly, I was focused on ways to become more efficient and much less wasteful.

A significant part of my job is to give people back their money for products they don’t want or were somehow damaged. Anything that leaves the store that requires refrigeration has to be thrown out no matter what, even if it’s still cold when they give it back to me because we have no way of knowing what happened to it while it was gone. We also throw out a lot of food that has passed its expiration date as determined by the manufacturer. The waste we deal with haunts me because I know so many kids in foster care who need good food. I haven’t figured out a good way to solve that problem but when a truckload of pet food passed its expiration date I knew I had to act. I went directly to the assistant store director and asked for all of it to be donated to the local shelter. She agreed to give it away as long as I took responsibility for getting it delivered. I loaded up Howard’s truck the same day and got it to the shelter the next day. They were thrilled to say the least. Subsequently, I have delivered small American flags to a retirement home down the street from the store, several dozen flip flops to the local foster care agencies and a few hundred T-shirts to those same organizations. Without the truck I would have a much more difficult time making these donations.

Here’s what I want the children to learn from my experience. Every act of kindness has the potential to lead to more good deeds. Howard’s epiphany led directly to my realization that I could use the truck to reduce the waste at the store and provide food  for animals and clothes for children in need. Now everybody in management at the store knows they can count on me to turn waste into something useful for the needy. Dogs got fed, kids got clothes and some old vets got reminded how much we appreciate their service. It may not seem like much but it really is changing the world.

This younger generation talks about changing the world quite often but they don’t seem to know what to do. This is how you do it. Start by changing yourself. Make yourself better by being compassionate and acting on it.  Do something every day that matters to someone else. By putting the needs of others before ourselves we change the world just a little bit for the better. It’s one small step at a time with tiny acts of kindness building a foundation of goodness that will inevitably lead to a world that is always changing for the better. Everybody needs to do their part by thinking in simple ways that lead to epiphanies and to the resulting actions. If we don’t act, epiphanies aren’t worth much. My friend Howard started a chain reaction of goodness with one great epiphany and his old red truck. Now, if anybody out there has an epiphany that needs hauling please let me know. I’m ready, willing and able to help you change the world and I do know what to do.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




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“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” (Edmund Burke)

I watched a lecture on YouTube recently that was extremely thought-provoking. The speaker started off by insulting everybody in the audience repeatedly with several discriminatory comments about them. He took it so far as to challenge one of the men to a fight on stage if he took exception with his freedom to say such things. By this point, the audience was becoming outraged and the speaker kept insulting them. Then he shifted his approach completely and apologized for everything he had said. He went on to explain his purpose for behaving in such an unacceptable way. Then it got interesting.

He fully admitted that he was trying to provoke a negative reaction from the audience by saying awful things about them and claiming his right to say whatever he wanted. His admission of guilt made them even more irate because now they knew it was deliberate. Then he asked them how they were feeling. A few of them shouted out some critical feedback and then he said he was glad they were upset and that was the whole point of his speech, to make them feel not think. He spent the rest of his time on stage explaining the critical difference between feeling and thinking and how much the media plays on our feelings and distracts us from thinking. I think he was absolutely correct.

By sensationalizing every story, the media can easily manipulate the public into believing that fear, hatred and danger are everywhere. They don’t want us to think critically about anything because then we might ask for facts to prove their hysterical headlines. Fear is their commodity and they sell it 24/7 and we line up to buy into it because feelings are much more powerful than common sense.

This speaker gave a master class in manipulation and he succeeded on every level. As I watched it play out, I kind of suspected what he was doing but I wasn’t sure until he revealed the truth. I’ve seen this same act so many times in political speeches that it’s becoming more obvious to me when it happens. It’s not just negative emotions either. Some people can manipulate with positive emotions too. I once worked with a salesman in New York City who was an expert in getting people to buy things and all the time he had them convinced it was their idea to begin with. They were eating out of his hand and did not know it at all. Luckily, he was an honest person who never used his ability to take advantage of anyone. I wish I could say the same for celebrities, politicians and the media. They are being deceitful and they are most definitely taking advantage of people.

I think the reason this works so well is basically because of the chemical reaction that takes place in the brain. Endorphins, oxytocin and adrenaline all stimulate the brain in rapid and dramatic fashion and they tend to override the brain’s ability to think clearly. These chemicals elicit strong responses, like fight or flight, while simultaneously limiting the brain’s ability to hold us back from reflexive responses. The internet based world of social media is particularly adept at feeding our craving for these strong emotional pulls. It’s the most insidious form of indoctrination ever invented. All of the major players are collecting information about us with every keystroke and they extrapolate ways to predict what kinds of content are most likely to evoke the action they want us to take. Their whole business model is predicated on getting us to buy the stuff they are selling without much thought given to those buying decisions. The more reflexive the better.

Of course, product marketing has always done this but manipulating people to vote a certain way is something quite troubling. Now we’re on the verge of becoming a society much like the one described in George Orwell’s famous book, 1984. If you can’t see the similarities, you need to read it again. America was founded on the principles of freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny. Whenever anyone tells us what to think or what to say or what to vote for, that’s tyranny in its most evil form.

I know I have written about this subject many times but apparently my words have had little or no effect because we seem to be more afraid than ever before. Politicians aren’t  going to save us from anything. We can only do that for ourselves by continuing to think for ourselves and by holding them accountable to us. When they have to respect us as independent-minded voters then we will see an effective government that serves the public interest but first we have to stop being afraid of each other. Fear is most easily induced out of ignorance and misinformation. The only way to stop being afraid is to turn off the television, put down the phone and go talk to someone who is different than we are. What we will find out is that racism, sexism, nationalism and all the other driving forces of fear are not nearly as prevalent as we have been led to believe. What we will realize is that the vast majority of people alive today share far more similarities than differences and they want the same things we want – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s take that leap of faith together as one nation that is indivisible. Fear is the poison the media spreads but courage is the antidote we can share with each other.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Grandpa was a carpenter.” (John Prine)

One of my favorite songwriters is John Prine. He’s not much of a singer but his lyrics are quite memorable. The first time I ever heard Grandpa was a carpenter, I thought he was writing about my own grandfather, Guy McClintick because he described him so accurately in the chorus:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Grandpa was a carpenter, he built houses, stores and banks.                                                      Chain smoked Camel cigarettes, hammered nails in planks.                                                      He was level on the level and shaved even every door.
And voted for Eisenhower because Lincoln won the war. 

As I’m writing this blog post, I’m sitting in a cabin on the property my grandfather bought in 1921. As I look out my window to the north, I see the log cabin he built in 1923 with the logs he harvested right here on the west side of Lake Margaret near Nisswa Minnesota. The original log walls are still in decent shape but the foundation, floor and roof need to be replaced for it to have any chance of making it another hundred years. I still marvel at my grandfather’s tenacity and adventurous spirit but how he ever got my grandmother to leave the city and move up here is beyond my imagination. What makes it even more incredible is that my Uncle Jim was just a baby when they moved here in the fall of 1921. They had no electricity or running water and they had to heat the house with firewood, which meant my grandfather had to start chopping wood the moment he arrived and he had to keep at it all through that first winter. Two years later he decided to build his log cabin in his spare time with a little help from a neighbor. I wonder if he realized he was building a monument?

Here’s a photograph taken today. The log walls are original but the rest has been redone once before in the 1980’s.

Log cabin.JPG

Every time I spend a week here in Minnesota, I am driven to do what I can to keep his memory alive. Mostly, I do my best to keep the forest at bay because if it’s left alone it will take back the whole place. I mow and prune and trim and rake and burn and drink beer vigorously just to show respect for all that my grandfather left for me. And since this is Father’s Day, I think it’s only fitting that I take the time to write about my grandfather, my father and me as a grandfather and a father.

I’m extremely proud of my family heritage and I will do anything to keep it going as long as I’m alive. My grandfather lived to be 82 and my dad made it to 90 by being hard workers and finding ways to make a difference every day. They were the best role models any young boy could ever ask for and I learned what it means to be a good man by eagerly watching them work. Now I get to do that with my son Thomas and my grandson Granger. Granger got his first ride on the John Deere and he grabbed the wheel right away. He’s only ten months old but he already gets it, if you want a John Deere you have to work for it.

In the history of the world, the greatest accomplishments have always been achieved by average people like my grandparents and parents. They aren’t famous but the things they achieved are monumental. My grandfather built Portview Resort with his bare hands and a lot of help of help from his friends. He was instrumental in getting electricity to this part of Minnesota in the 1930’s. He survived the Depression years with very few customers and WWII, while all his boys were away fighting for freedom. My dad almost died from malaria on Guam in the South Pacific in 1943. He made it home, married my mom and started his own printing business which led to the company he and I shared for 50 years. Life, for my grandparents and parents, was never easy but it was always good. They had faith in God and a belief that hard work always paid off in the end and they were right about all of that. That’s my inheritance and the same one I will leave for Granger and Verity and any other grandchildren I may be blessed with in the future.

I sincerely hope that all of you who are reading this today will take a moment to remember the men who gave you life, who worked hard to support you, who honored your mother and left the world better than they found it. None of us is looking for a medal for our achievements. We did those things because we all signed up to be good fathers and that’s what it takes to raise a family the right way. All the great men who have been like father figures to me have had a common theme to their lives. They found ways to serve their families, their friends and humanity in general by sacrificing themselves to the greater good. On this Father’s Day I think it’s important to say thanks to all those great men who came before me and to be reminded that I now have the same obligation to my grandchildren, to leave them a world better than I found it.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.







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“Honestly… Let’s call a spade a spade not a gardening tool.” (Erasmus)

I’m glad I’m old.  As one of the most elderly people at my place of employment, I am afforded a level of freedom that the youngsters can’t achieve. It’s a darn good thing because I have a tendency to be brutally honest at all times and it can be detrimental in the 21st century version of customer service. For those of you who only know this phrase as a racial slur, you might want to read your history books again. Plutarch was the first to highlight the need for honesty when he said, “calling a fig a fig and a trough a trough.” Erasmus freely translated that into the more popular version we used to hear frequently, until political correctness distorted the meaning into a racial slur in the 20th century. Plutarch lived from 46 C.E. to 120 C.E. and Erasmus lived from 1466 C.E. to 1536 C.E., so this particular bit of real wisdom has been repeated many times in 2000 years, only to be lost in translation to a bad ethnic slur that doesn’t even make any sense. And for those of you who are wondering why I used dates with C.E., that is now the politically correct way to do it and it means Current Era not Anno Domini or A.D. And for those who may not have heard why we call it A.D., allow me to explain. It does not mean After Death, as in the death of Jesus, but it actually stands for In the year of our Lord in Latin.

There’s five minutes of my life I will never get back. What a waste of words and I for one have always placed an extremely high value on the words I use. That’s why I try to be honest at all times. It saves time and shows respect for the other person’s time as well. I haven’t got that much time left and if I have to spend every moment contemplating ways to sugar-coat my every word so that no one could possibly be offended, then I might as well not talk at all. I will just save my words for those few friends of mine who can handle the truth and respect me for speaking it.

Political correctness isn’t intended to keep people from being offended. It’s only purpose is to keep people from being well-informed by hearing the truth and dealing with the reality of what the truth leads to, which is wisdom. However, wisdom can’t be achieved without painful realizations about ourselves and that can only come from hearing the truth in all it’s harshness. We should seek the truth at all times, not run from it because it might make us uncomfortable. That’s the cowards way out and offers nothing in return but contempt and deceit.

Anyone who has honestly studied the history of the world will tell you that it hasn’t been pretty. In fact, it’s been pretty awful and really painful at times. Most of the time, frankly. In spite of that, we have gotten better with each generation gaining from the lessons learned by the previous generation. Seeking the truth is what humans have been doing since time began. Liars have never achieved anything of consequence except for their own selfish benefit. In my opinion, political correctness is institutionalized lying and it will go down in history as one of the most diabolical schemes of all time. I’m glad I won’t be around to see the meltdown when the truth is finally revealed for all to see about the real goal of political correctness.

Let me see if I can explain it in the most basic of terms. What would you rather be – one of the sheep in the flock or the shepherd? Political correctness wants sheep but the truth will make you a shepherd.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.” (Rabindranath Tagore)

One of the very first blogs I ever wrote was titled, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” This quote was from a Canadian farmer named Nelson Henderson. Many years later his grandson, Jason Henderson, contacted me and thanked me for helping to make the quote famous on the internet. Jason contacted me again recently and shared with me that he suspects his grandfather may have paraphrased the quote from Rabindranath Tagore, an Indian poet who died in 1941. Jason and I agreed that giving proper credit is always important and so I’m doing that with this new post.

For those of you in the younger generation, who may not have experienced it before, this is what integrity looks like. Jason Henderson went out of his way to give credit where it was due and by doing so he made his own grandfather’s words even more valuable because he gave new meaning to the thoughts Nelson Henderson and Rabindranath Tagore were trying to express, so many years ago. Understanding the meaning of life is the whole point of living and helping others find this truth is the most important thing we can do each and every day. People with integrity take this truth to heart and spend every day living out this mission. They plant metaphorical trees everywhere by helping everyone and sharing the burdens of life.

Integrity, honor, courage and faith are the cornerstones of a life well-lived and men like Nelson Henderson and my grandfather, Guy McClintick, will always be remembered because they embodied all of these traits and left the whole world better than they found it. The trees they planted are still providing shade for all the generations to come. They found the meaning of life in every simple act they performed and, by doing so, gave us all a perfect example of how to find meaning and happiness in our own lives. We would be utterly foolish not to learn from their wisdom.

That’s the great thing about universal truth, it needs to be shared and repeated as often as possible. Attribution is important too but the message is crucial. Nelson Henderson may have read Tagore’s quote way back in the 1930’s and decided it was too important not to pass on to his own family. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to become famous but the lesson just made sense to him and he expressed it in his own way. If you study quotations, like I do, you will see many quotes that are strikingly similar from many different times and places. The wisdom of the ages gets passed down and around all the time and that’s a good thing. This blog exists for that very purpose and that’s why I use quotes for titles. Most of what I know now, at 65 years old, has come from listening to people who are smarter than I am and have more life experience. Now it’s my turn to share those thoughts with the next generation. This is how knowledge gets distributed over time.

The meaning of life is found in the shade of wisdom left for us by our forefathers. We honor their lives every time we share the truth with someone who hasn’t heard it yet. We must have courage to find that meaning because we always put ourselves in unknown situations while we look for the truth. We have faith in things we can’t see and the future we can’t know because without faith there is no meaning to life. I sincerely hope that some day my grandchildren will sit under those trees in Minnesota and read this blog on their holographic books. Then I will know that my life had all the meaning I could ever hope for and their lives will be just as good.

Thanks again Jason for the inspiration that helped me write this post.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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“You would be insuperable if you were inseparable.” (Unknown)

Now that the Department of Justice investigation of collusion during the last presidential election has been completed, I thought it might be useful to examine the history of the tactic known as divide and conquer. Divide et impera has been attributed to Philip II of Macedon and employed by Caesar and Napoleon in their efforts to conquer the world. It also shows up in the works of Niccolo Machiavelli in his book titled The Prince. All of these historical figures recognized the importance of weakening your enemies by dividing their allegiance and getting them to fight among themselves. It’s an ancient practice but I’m quite certain it is still being used today.

For the last two years I have listened to a running commentary from both sides of the political spectrum accusing Vladimir Putin and his minions in Russia of attempting to manipulate the 2016 presidential election. The reality is this, he succeeded in his mission because he got us to divide our allegiance and fight among ourselves. He didn’t have to change one vote to achieve his goals. He planted seeds of doubt in both political parties and let them bloom into outrageous allegations of wrong-doing. Machiavelli could not have done it better than Putin. He made Americans distrust each other like never before and now we are much weaker as a nation than at any time in our history.

Russian agents didn’t have to do much at all because they knew we would be eager to blame each other based on our political beliefs. We fell for it hook, line and sinker. Putin made both parties look like saps and now he gets to watch as we tear each other apart over nothing. How dumb can politicians get? I probably shouldn’t ask that. I may not like the answer.

My fellow Americans, we are at a turning point in the history of this country. If we continue to splinter into ever smaller groups of like-minded people we will lose the thing that makes America great – a wildly diverse group of people who share a unifying principal – that freedom is the most important human right of all. Americans, more than any other country, come in all colors and creeds. We are a polyglot society from every corner of the planet who decided to come here to gain the freedom that does not exist in most other places on Earth. We chose to give up familial ties and hereditary rights in order to participate in the greatest experiment in human history – a constitutional republic where all are expected to work for the common good. This country is antithetical to the entire human history of the world and we’re the only reason despotism is under attack anywhere on Earth. We give hope to the hopeless.

America isn’t perfect. We might be the most imperfect bunch of people who ever tried to live together but that’s where our strength comes from. Our unity of purpose overcomes our differences when we work together to keep our freedom alive and well. Tyrants will never defeat us in any direct conflict because we will fight to the death to keep our freedom. Their only chance is to divide us and get us to fight among ourselves so that we eventually lose our common cause. We must not turn on each other and let tyranny replace freedom in the world at large.

It’s up to us as average Americans to stop the division because the politicians and the media have already sold their souls to the highest bidders. We cannot look to either of these groups to help us find our constitutional roots as American citizens. We are in this together like never before and we only have each other to work with as we shoulder the burden of freedom. It’s not going to be easy but the reward is worth any amount of effort. Now that we all know we are under attack from tyrants everywhere there has to be a concerted effort to overcome our differences. Color, creed, gender, faith and genetics are all subordinate to the choice we made to be free and with that freedom comes an awesome responsibility to help one another. An America that is thriving with people who are unified in their purpose will defeat any despot anywhere and all tyrants live in fear of people who are truly free. Their darkness hates the light that freedom brings to all people everywhere.

I know we can get through this struggle because we have to. We have no other choice if we want to keep our freedom. I’m ready to work with anybody who needs me. Let’s take on the responsibility of making the world a better place for all of mankind. Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt and work out our problems together. I’m never going to ask anybody to pick a political party before I help them. Neither party has given me any reason to see them as part of the solution. Moreover, government in general, just needs to get out of our way so we can fix the problems we face as a nation. We the People of the United States of America, will form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Heroes are created by popular demand, sometimes out of the scantiest materials or none at all.” (Gerald Johnson)

Apparently, today’s younger generation is easily impressed. They seem to love the whole notion of superheroes but I’m still amazed by how little it takes to earn their respect. I came to this conclusion recently when I was given the nickname of Superman, at the grocery store where I work now. Several things are working in my favor to make this possible. A big part of my job is to come running whenever the cashiers get into trouble at checkout. I come to their rescue with my knowledge of the computer codes, known only to the management staff, that are needed to void transactions, make refunds and generally clean up any mess caused by inattention at the register. I also get to help bag groceries and retrieve our motorized carts for the elderly customers who need them. All the while, I am expected to smile profusely, engage the customers in polite chat and generally do my best to make them happy before they leave the store. And all of that is on top of answering the phone and taking care of every other problem at the customer service desk. If you haven’t done this job before, it ain’t easy but I like a challenge.

I guess when they found out I was doing all this at 65 years old, that was the clincher. I’m old enough to be the grandfather of many of these kids and I take great pride in showing them just exactly what old folks are capable of doing. I seem to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time more often than not. A few weeks ago, after an ice storm, I was just getting out of my truck when I heard my name being called in an urgent voice. One of our cashiers had fallen on the ice and needed my help. It was an older woman who had fallen and she couldn’t get back on her feet while trapped in the middle of a sheet of ice around her car. I carefully walked over to her and cautiously lifted her off the ground and helped her into her car. Then we drove up closer to the store and I helped her into the building. We went to the HR department and they took her to the ER where they determined she had broken her pelvis and wasn’t able to work. Later that week on my day off, I came back in the store to shop and my manager was kidding me about being out in such bad weather. I told her it looked like a good day to try picking up women in the parking lot again and it was just nice to know I haven’t lost my touch.

The legend of SuperGuy grew a little larger last week when the latest secret shopper customer service report came out and my name was spelled out for all to see, along with a critical evaluation of my skills. I got a perfect score but I’m still not sure who they talked to because they described me as Guy H., a male in his fifties who readily smiled and gave good service on a very busy Saturday in February. I remember the day vividly and I was overwhelmed for most of my 8 hour shift. God must have been watching over me and prodded me into smiling at just the right moment. Either that or I was just laughing at the sheer insanity of my situation, which I do quite often when I’m trying to wait on five people at once and keep the phone from ringing off the wall. This job is the multi-tasking Olympics and my manager has set the bar so high I may never get over it but I come to work every day just itching for the chance to try again. Just like the real Superman, I will never give up.

To the younger employees I must seem pretty talented because I can do math in my head faster than most of them can pull out their phones. It’s not really that amazing to know $3 is 10% of $30 but to some of them it seems supernatural. I’ve even had to interpret cursive handwriting for them when shopping orders come in from the retirement home. (I should probably put that on my resume – working knowledge of archaic hieroglyphics.)  A retirement aged Superman should have skills that are in keeping with his many years of experience.

I need to add my thanks to my young friend Bianca for starting this whole Superman thing. She’s one of our younger cashiers who always makes me smile. She came up to me one day, not long ago, and told me I reminded her of Superman because I stand straight up with my hands on my hips as I scan the store looking for those who need help. Little does she realize that I’m just massaging my aging hips as best I can to relieve the stress on my 65 year old joints. I guess what she doesn’t know will just add to my mystique. Standing for 8 hours a day on a concrete floor is Herculean at least but I’m sure Superman could do it too. After she confronted me about my secret identity, I thought it would be best to play along so I got myself a Superman T-shirt for my recent birthday. I wear it under my work shirt and whenever I see her stressing out I open it up enough for her to see the giant S. We laugh about it and it helps pass the time, especially when it’s all hands on deck with too many customers at once, which happens several times a day.

Frankly, after six months behind the desk at customer service, in the biggest and busiest grocery store I have ever seen, I think they should issue Superman T-shirts to all employees who survive those first six months. It would be a nice gesture and a subtle reminder of what it takes to give great customer service every day. In my case, my new nickname has given me a whole new goal in life. I want to be the oldest guy who ever worked in customer service at this store and I want to keep working till I’m 70 so no one will ever beat my record. I plan to show up every day and keep working for truth, justice and the American Way. Feel free to stop in some time and see how I’m doing.

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