I was moved. I couldn’t help but be proud of what I had accomplished. In only one week, I learned the value of hard work and how to treat people like real human beings. What happened? How did this miracle occur? I learned to make guacamole among a few of the many employees who work for my multi-national southwestern food conglomerate. In order to master the art of mashing, squeezing, and stirring the heart of the avocado I changed my appearance. I went undercover. I grew facial hair and allowed artificial hair to be taped to my otherwise bald head. No one could recognize me. This was crucial to my plan. Neither the guacamole squeezers nor the burrito wrappers could know of my true identity. For me to truly learn how the world perceived the impact of my salsa, I needed to hear my employees unvarnished opinions of working in a restaurant chain widely seen to be somewhere between an Arby’s and a Chili’s.
Lonnie taught me much about making the “guacamole” and rolling tight, fat, burritos. “You can never go wrong by rolling a tight, fat, burrito,” Lonnie said. Why were tight, fat burritos important? Loose, skinny, burritos made a mess and fell apart very easily. Lonnie didn’t like messes. He lived in confined space, his car. If his car was messy his life was in an equal sense of disarray. Between shifts, he cared for his pet parrot Carl, who was dying of parrot related HIV. The rapid pace of the burrito assembly line gave him hope that he might one day be able to purchase the needed medication for Carl’s treatments. “Do it enough,” Lonnie said, “and Carl gonna fly again.” Yes. Carl was going to fly again. Lonnie was going to be mentored in a special guacamole squeezing leadership program. I was proud. I was moved. I think I might have cried a tear: one for me, one for Lonnie, and one for Carl.
I moved. It was then the channel changed. I could not help but be proud of what I had accomplished. In an ancient blacksmith shop, in a place called Minneapolis, I was making an ax. This me, the new me, was huge and had a pony tail far beyond my massive waistline. Though it was difficult to tell from the music, I looked very mean. I might have been to jail or killed someone with one of my own hand crafted axes. I don’t want to judge me by how I looked. I’m only saying that I frightened myself. With massive blows of my tattooed hands, I shaped seventy-five sheets of steel into one single ax head. I am awesome. I am strong. I will sit on a great throne one day and tell the assembled kingdoms, “Winter is coming.” I am moved.
I moved. It was then the channel changed. I could not help but be proud of what I had accomplished. In an unintelligible New England accent, with a mouth full of marbles, I directed a crew of men with a passionate fury toward catching a huge tuna. There was much doubt as I sat in a huge seat and captained my wittily named boat in a competition to catch this yet to be canned sea beast. Would I catch my white whale, or tuna, as was the case? Despite this uncertainty, I knew just what to say on the maritime radio. I’m not a big boat guy, really. I get sea sick. Yet, there I was on this tuna boat. I was talking sea dog trash to all the other boats, people I didn’t really know, all in pursuit of one very expensive fish; a fish the large man in the back of my boat eventually caught. If we didn’t catch this one fish, it seemed for a moment our entire lives would be ruined, our families might starve, and our prowess as men would be shattered. The line moved. The fish died. I was alive for the first time in my life. I was moved. I could not help but be proud of what I had accomplished.
I moved. The television turned off.