Volume 37, Issue 5, May 2002

theBUSINESS

Looks Like He Made It
        by Lyle R. Hill

It wasn’t really necessary … certainly not expected … in fact, I had already turned off the lights and was half way out the door when it began to ring. And it was well beyond my normal time to leave the office, but I had been traveling more than usual of late, and more than one person had complained that I had been difficult to reach. So while I shouldn’t have … I did … I answered the ringing phone … and I soon wished I hadn’t.

“Hey, Hill,” the gravel-voiced caller began, “what’s new?”

Now I knew for sure I shouldn’t have answered the phone. For you see, nothing of any value can come from talking with this character. But now, at least for a moment or two, he had me.
“Not much, Mooch, how about with you?”

“Well, to be honest with you, Hill, quite a bit. In fact, you’ll be happy to know that I will soon be working in the glass business. Yes indeed, I’ll soon be joining the ranks of people like you who make a lot of money and don’t work very hard for it.”

Johnny ‘The Mooch’ Rago has spent his entire life trying to find a shortcut to fame and fortune. If he had worked as hard at a legal, legitimate job as he has worked trying to avoid working during the past 25 years or so, he would be a very successful man by this point in his life. And for some unknown reason, he has always been convinced that the road to riches not only exists within the glass industry, but that it is an easy road to travel. Whenever the subject has come up, I’ve always told him that he really has no experience … there’s nothing he’s qualified to do.

“Yeah, Hill,” the nemesis of my life continued, “I’ll soon be a part of the glass business and I figure with my personality, wit and charm, I’ll soon be a huge success. Cause I mean, let’s face it, there isn’t exactly an abundance of those traits in the glass business these days.” 

“OK, Mooch, how did you find this job and exactly what is it you’ll be doing?”

“Well, Hill,” he began, “It all started when I started helping one of my kids with a school project. He had to read product labels and do a report on them. Did you ever read product labels, Hill?”

“No. Rago, I haven’t. But what’s this got to do with you getting into the glass business?”

“Everything, Hill. And I’ll tell you, these product labels are really interesting. For instance, did you know that on a very popular iron that is sold in almost every department store in the country, there is a warning that says ‘Don’t iron clothes while wearing them’ and that on every bottle of Nytol Sleep Aid the label actually reads ‘Warning: May cause drowsiness.’ I’m telling you, Hill, this stuff is terrific.”

“Mooch, what’s this got to do with you getting into the glass business?”

“Relax, I’m getting to that. But first, let me give you a couple more. For instance, I picked up a bag of Fritos and the bag says … ’you could be a winner: No purchase necessary. Details inside.’ Is this nutty or what? Are you supposed to open the bags to see if you won but not actually buy them first? And on a Sears hairdryer, I found this warning…’Do not use while sleeping.’ Hill, I could go on all night with what I found. Some of this stuff was so bad that I even started thinking maybe you had a side job writing for some of these companies.”

“Listen, Rago, if I wanted to be insulted, I could just call a couple of my customers. And besides, the glass industry has enough crackpots in it. It doesn’t need any help from you.”

“Well, Hill, let me finish my story and then we’ll see. Here’s the deal. While I was working on this product label project with my kid, I picked up a rectal thermometer. They are made out of glass, you know. So I read the label and it says that each rectal thermometer is pre-tested. So I start thinking … now there’s a job in the glass business I can handle. And there’s no way you can tell me I’m not qualified, Hill. So what do you think?”

“I’ll tell you, Mooch. There’s already a bunch of people in the glass industry that are at least as qualified as you are for that particular job, but I guess I gotta admit it, you’ve finally found your way in … and in some ways, it may be a perfect fit.” 

Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago.     lyle@glass.com


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