By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
March 27, 2002
What this world needs
I have a new paper delivery person.
You shouldnt call em paper boys any more. Your paper delivery person may be a girl, woman or man. As far as I know, he, she or it could be a transvestite cross-dresser, eunuch, morph, alien or extraterrestrial. These days you never know who or what is throwing stuff on your lawn. (Look up stuff.)
All I know is, I have a new one. He (lets assume it is a he) started the first of the year. Ive never met this person. I havent even seen him. Hes up and about - and gone - mighty early.
So how do I know he is new? Because, for the last three months, I havent had to take flashlight in hand (yes, I am up before daylight) and search the neighborhood for my morning paper.
The old delivery person couldnt throw it in the ocean. A lot of times I think he thought he was hiding Easter eggs. Im still looking for some of the back issues.
Now I know exactly where my paper will be. It will be in the dead center of the driveway, four feet from the street, so it wont get run over. Ive put the flashlight back in the drawer. I can find my paper in the dark now.
Another thing: the new guy double-wraps the paper when its raining. The old one always used a single plastic sleeve, regardless of the weather. Consequently, I had to put up with a lot of soggy newspapers. Trust me, its a frustrating inconvenience. Sort of like dealing with soggy soda crackers.
My irritating experience with the old guy and my good vibes with the new one remind me of one of Dr. Martin Luther Kings speeches. His I Have a Dream was great, but so was the one that contained these lines:
We are challenged on every hand to work untiringly to achieve excellence in our lifework. Not all men are called to specialized or professional jobs; even fewer rise to heights of genius in the arts and sciences; many are called to be laborers in factories, fields and streets. But no work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and Earth will pause to say, Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
For the purpose of this epistle, Ill change the last line to read, Here lived a great paper delivery person who did his/her job well.
I guess all of us can tell stories of good and/or bad service out there in the business world.
Have you been to the supermarket or discount store lately? I hate to go, because I know the experience is going to activate my ulcer.
I have spoken with many store managers over the years, and made the same speech to all of them. Nothing has changed.
Heres the speech: Someday you are going to make it as easy to get out of here as it is to get in, and you are going to revolutionize merchandising in this country.
Regardless of how many checkout counters there are in the store, Ive never seen all of em open at the same time. Makes you wonder why they built so many in the first place.
Two cashiers were checking out eight customers, four to a line. While doing their duty, they were talking to each other about last nights date. Its a good idea to check your receipt before leaving the store.
Went to a clothing emporium the other day to buy a pair of trousers advertised in the local paper. Clerk stood at a distance and watched for half an hour as I searched for the advertised special.
She finally came over and asked, in the sweetest voice, May I help you?
She couldnt. She didnt know where the advertised special was, either.
Why am I beginning to feel guilty about now? Could it be that I have something in common with the person who used to deliver my paper? Maybe Im seeing myself in all those other laborers out there who test my patience and cause me to lose my religion.
And why am I beginning to sympathize with the person who is doing such a good job delivering my paper? Dont you know that some days he didnt want to get up at 4 oclock in the morning? Placing newspapers in peoples driveways probably doesnt pay very much. Wonder how he feels on those cold, rainy, snowy, freezing mornings? I imagine hed like to turn off the alarm, close the blinds, and spend the day in bed.
I guess weve all felt like that - even on good days occasionally.
Oh, you havent? Regardless of the weather, you jump out of bed raring to go. Feel good, feel bad - you cant wait to get to work. And you always do your best. And your best is always good.
Yeah, and I bet you and your spouse have been married 10 years or longer and never had a cross word.
Most of us do a fairly good job - not perfect, mind you, but fairly good - when we are happy, feel all right, like our work and are inspired.
What about those other times? I wish I could be more like my new paper delivery person. When he feels good and the weathers great, the papers in the center of the driveway, four feet from the street. When he feels bad and the weathers terrible, the papers in the center of the driveway, four feet from the street. Changing weather, changing health and changing feelings havent changed his performance. He delivers the paper as Michelangelo painted and as Beethoven composed music and as Shakespeare wrote poetry.
What about us? Its true: no work is insignificant. Certainly not what you are doing to uplift humanity. Not even writing this column every week. I should strive to do better, whether I feel like it or not.
Ive never met, seen or spoken to the person who delivers my paper in the wee hours of the morning, but he is a good example and role model for me, and perhaps for you, too. He produces (does his job well) even when conditions are bad and the inspiration is not upon him.
What this world needs is more laborers like that.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.
The Jackson Herald
March 27, 2002
Is Surge no more?
Surge the refreshing, slime-green and heavily caffeinated soft drink that has developed quite a following from thousands of dedicated drinkers, including myself.
But why has it disappeared from store shelves across the country? I recently pondered this question, and was forced to find the answer.
Surge is (or was) a citrus-flavored soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company. Its United States debut was in 1997 and was Coca-Colas response to Pepsis Mountain Dew.
The drink first appeared in Norway under the name Urge. It is still produced in Norway today.
Well to say the least, it was an immediate success in both countries. However, the United States market has dwindled away to the competition and has just about been eradicated from store shelves all over the country.
Just thinking of Surge, and its bright green can, brings back fond memories from my later teenage years.
Once, I was with some people in a pasture, drinking Surge and watching people play fireball. Fireball involved two or more people throwing ignited socks at one another. It resembled the game hot potato. I suppose you could call the game hot sock, but that didnt sounds as cool as fireball.
After the game was over, a guy ran up to the top of a hill, held a freshly opened can of Surge above his head and exclaimed SURGE!
His yelling echoed throughout the land and almost immediately he fell down the hill and rolled until his bruised body, covered in charred clothing, stopped. It was almost as if some paranormal force had pushed him off of the hill. Nonetheless, I had a pretty good laugh at his expense.
You would have laughed too. It is human nature to laugh at other people when they fall down. Ask Adam Fouche, he is the local authority on falling down.
But I was quite upset when I first discovered the Texaco in Jefferson no longer sold Surge.
Id usually stop by, before and after work, to buy a 20 oz. bottle of Surge to stock up on the caffeine, because like a lot of people, I need caffeine to function properly.
I soon found that every store in the state of Georgia had abandoned the brand and I was devastated.
Last week I bought a six pack of Mountain Dews Code Red. While its not bad, its not very good either. It tasted flat, and a bit fruity. I wouldnt walk a mile for Code Red like I would for a sweet drop of Surge.
When I began to research to find out what happened to Surge, I almost immediately found savesurge.org.
The site is loaded with information dedicated to Surge. They even go as far as to provide a link to the Coca-Cola website so you can search for your bottler. Once you have the address for the bottler, you can write a formal complaint, demanding to see Surge back on the shelves within so many days, or else.
I also found an amusing message board. The board contained entries comparing Surge and Mountain Dew.
The first entry I noticed was an entry from a concerned consumer by the name of Ray. Surge is better, just more of a kick in the (rear end) citrus flavor, he said.
While I believe this to be true, I doubt it will have much influence on corporate giant Coca-Cola to bring back its addictive, smooth and flame-retardant soft drink.
By the way, I was too smart to play fireball. I kept a safe distance and watched people run around after their clothing had become ignited. Sometimes its best to just be a spectator.
Charlie Broadwell is a reporter for Mainstreet News Inc. His email address is email@example.com.