Ya Gotta Send Da Right Guys

By Lyle R. Hill

I answered it just as it finished its third ring.

“Hey, Hill, how’s going?”

Loved by few and feared by most, I instantly recognized the growling voice of none other than Johnny “The Mooch” Rago. I was not in the mood for a conversation with “The Mooch,” but I didn’t want to be rude either. So I leaned back and put my feet up on the desk and waited for whatever it was that might come next.

“I’m okay, Mooch. What can I do for you today?”

“I just called to see if you guys caught da alligator in Humboldt Park yet. What’s it been now, about four days since they saw it?”

He knew what he was talking about.

A 5-foot alligator had been spotted in the Humboldt Park lagoon on Chicago’s West Side. Multiple sightings had occurred and its picture had appeared in the Chicago Tribune as well as on some national TV networks.

“Not yet, Mooch, but they’ve got the Chicago Police Department and some guy calling himself ‘Alligator Bob’ trying to catch the thing. They’ve cordoned off most of the park for safety reasons, but hundreds of people, as well as reporters and film crews, are showing up every day.

“It’s turned into a bit of a circus with naming contests and T-shirt sales and all kinds of craziness.”

“Hill, we played softball in Humboldt Park back in the day. It’s not that big. How in the world could they not find a 5-foot alligator there in just a few hours? Something isn’t right here.”

“I don’t know, Mooch. It is a bit baffling.”

“Hill, do you remember that article you wrote a few years ago about how you gotta send the right people to do the job? I think you said you wouldn’t send a guy who was good at shower doors to replace a piece of broken glass on the 45th floor of a downtown high-rise. You pointed out that if you want something done right, you send the right people to do it.”

“I vaguely remember it, Mooch, but where are you going with this?”

“It’s simple, Hill. The Chicago cops don’t know anything about catching alligators and this Bob guy is probably bogus as well. The only alligators in Chicago are at the zoo, so how much experience can this guy have? I mean, if I called myself Alligator Mooch would they hire me? You wanna catch a gator, you hire those swamp people from Louisiana, you know, the ones on TV that you can’t understand a word of what they’re saying. They bring up a few chickens and their boat and they got that thing caught in a few hours.”

Since “The Mooch” left Chicago and moved to Indiana he takes great delight in criticizing the ineptness of both Chicago and the fine state of Illinois.

“And this is why you called me, Mooch? To talk about an alligator in Humboldt Park?”

“Not really, Hill. I actually called to talk to you about the editorial in the Chicago Tribune that appeared on the eighth of this month. I was gonna let it go until the alligator story came up, cause they are both kinda the same issue … not sending da right guys to do a job. In fact, I think you once said that sending da wrong guys to do an important job can sometimes be worse than sending no guys at all. Do you remember that, Hill?”

I wasn’t exactly sure where this was all going, but I knew it could not be someplace good.

“I kind of recall saying something like that, Mooch, but what Tribune editorial are you talking about?”

“The one that talked about how the 2016 Summer Olympics city selection contest went to Rio instead of Chicago because the ‘FIX’ was in between Brazilian officials and the Olympic selection committee. Remember how Chicago thought it was a slam dunk that they would get it? They had started buying up land for the buildings that would be needed and everybody was positioning themselves to make money. But then Chicago was out and Rio was in. And now, after almost ten years, we find out that Chicago lost cause they didn’t send the right guys.”

“Mooch, are you crazy? Chicago sent an incredible team to represent it. Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Pat Ryan … what more could you ask?”

“Well, Hill, if you were trying to elect a president, win six NBA championships, put on a killer entertainment program, or start an international business these guys might have been okay. But it wasn’t about those things. It was about, as they say in Chicago, the greasing of the palms.”

“Okay, wise guy, then who should the city have sent to try to win the thing?”

“That’s an easy one, Hill. Any three city alderman would have been just fine. Cause like you have always said … You gotta send da right guys.”

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. He also serves as president of Glass.com, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 40 years’ experience in the glass and metal industry
and can be reached at lhill@glass.com.

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