Volume 40,   Issue 5                                 May  2005

the business

Flawtification .. part two
by Lyle R. Hill

I’m truly amazed … often even shocked … at the letters, calls and e-mails that I sometimes receive in response to something that’s appeared in one of these monthly column things that I write. Although maybe, after all of these years, I shouldn’t be. 

Fax (dated 3/17/05): “With regards to your article ‘Genetic Flawtification’ that appeared in the March issue of USGlass, it was cute and filled the space that you are obligated to fill each month, but let’s look at the other side of the coin: At 86, I am the second generation operator of the business. My son at 46 is active in running the business and with a little luck, one of his 1-year old twin boys will eventually join the company. When we make a policy or purchase, we think of ourselves as an institution rather than an individual’s plaything. We want the best at all times regardless of my age. Give us old codgers a break..” 
— Bill Swetow, Mayflower Sales

My Response: First, Bill, I want you to know that the glass industry is full of codgers, both young and old. I deal with several every day. By the way, for those of you who are not exactly sure what a codger is, Webster’s dictionary defines a codger as a mildly eccentric or disreputable fellow. And now that I think about it a bit, that description pretty accurately fits almost everybody in the glass business. But more importantly, codger Bill Swetow, by wanting not only his son, but his grandsons as well, to follow in his footsteps validates my Genetic Flawtification Theory. 

E-mail (received on 3/26/05): “Your article titled ‘Genetic Flawtification’ was terrific. As a third-generation owner trying to keep the family glass business going (with the help of one of my brothers and a nephew), we regularly tell each other that there must be something wrong with us and that we should all be doing something else with our lives. Of course, we’ve been telling each other this for the past 25 years. Yesterday, my young nephew did something really boneheaded and when I asked him (in a raised voice) to explain himself, he simply looked me in the eye, gave a little shrug and very matter of factly said, “Flawtification, I guess.” The entire office laughed for ten minutes. The flawtification article, along with a few of your others, is now posted in the cafeteria.” 
— Luke Lafferty, L&K Glassworks

My Response: I herein recommend that you immediately appoint your nephew as company president and let him handle all decision-making responsibilities from this point forward. He is obviously not only a person of high integrity, but of high intelligence, as well. Of course this recommendation is predicated on the assumption that your nephew is not showing any signs of codgerism. While I firmly believe that flawtification is genetic, I believe that codgerism is learned. I also do not believe that either is curable based on current medical or scientific knowledge. 

Voicemail (received 3/29/05): Lyle, this is Elmer Hayes and I’m calling to thank you. Not for mentioning me in your recent magazine article, although that was a very nice gesture, but to thank you for helping clear up one of my life’s greatest mysteries. My grandfather, an uncle and two cousins all owned and operated glass companies. On many an occasion I thought about breaking free but for some mysterious reason, I could never quite bring myself to do it. And now I know why … Genetic Flawtification. You’re a genius, Lyle. 
— Elmer Hayes, E.J. Hayes Glass & Mirror

My Response: Thank you for your kind words, and while I don’t know all of your family tree, the members of your extended family who I do know have all been a credit to the glass industry … flawtified or not. 

E-mail (received 3/31/05): “You want flawtification, Lyle? I’ll give you flawtification. Do you know that within a 24-hour period I received a formal announcement from one of my glass suppliers telling me that their energy surcharge would be going down on April 1, while I received another announcement from another supplier who stated that they were raising their energy surcharges effective April 1 due to energy price increases? Now that’s flawtification.” 
— Dale Cohen, Empire Glass

My Response: Dale, you are wrong. This is not flawtification. This is extreme codgerism with intent to confuse. I would offer additional comments here but it appears as though I have now officially fulfilled my obligation to fill this space so I’m going to wrap it up. Maybe we’ll revisit this in the future. 

Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago.
lhill@mthindustries.com


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