1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We'll Be Back! Warp Factor One! (The Grups and Other Mad Hatters)

The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented. (Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar--Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson)

Our first Southern watermelon provided a tasty treat, and it wasn't even cold when we took the first bite! I picked it warm from the garden in the morning, not long after I saw that five-foot snake a few weeks ago. True to form, I took a sharp hoe with me, just in case that snake had any friends lurking about.
I have been chipping away at the weeds in the melon patch, not wanting to spoil the fruit's slow-but-sure development by depriving it of its necessary shelter from Florida's elements.

I picked another fruit of the vine last week, and even though it was bigger than the first specimen depicted above, it was a complete disappointment. Of course, as you can tell, these are two different varieties of melons (Sugar Baby Something and Something-Else), so the maturity rate is difficult to ascertain. What does one look for when determining the appropriate time to harvest a watermelon? Do you thump it? Look for browning of the vine's tendrils or the melon's stem?

SAM had an interesting conversation this morning with someone in Colorado. He was following up on an advertised job opening with an environmental company. In case you don't know, someone who receives unemployment benefits in the United States of America is required by law to document an earnest effort to obtain employment with weekly reports of progress--no rocking-chair, sitting-on-your-arse-money earned here anymore. The lady he spoke to was kind enough to explain that the manager--an early-thirty-something male with eight years of experience--had made it clear to her that no application would be considered if the applicant had more experience than him. SAM explained his predicament--federal requirements being what they are--and the office manager graciously agreed to receive his e-mail application and resume, experience and all. What a nice lady! Too bad she's not the manager. The situation reminded me of that funny episode in Star Trek--the Original Series. If you've lived long enough, you will probably remember it. It's the "Miri" episode--the one that dissed the "grups."

Son and his family don't intend to diss the grups, but they somehow manage to accomplish it nonetheless. While we were surf fshing in the Gulf of Mexico, something as simple as Son's hat served to scoop up a fish. Now where did Son learn a trick like that one? Certainly not from the grups, who have decided that they must band together to oppose anything new and unfriendly to their efforts. They have produced the following instructions for posterity's sake:
Five Reasons to Hire a Grup Rather Than a Yup:
  1. Office Intrigue. Advanced age usually takes care of that problem younger people have with "wandering eye." Presbyopia definitely reveals its advantages in this case. Young flesh and firm bodies don't mean nearly as much to someone who has difficulty seeing them.
  2. Experience versus lack of it. Again, sight plays a part, but in this case it's hindsight, which is, as we all know, 20/20. Remember that tired, old expression "Been there, done that"? Well, it isn't that old, but there is an allusion in classic literature, written long ago by William Shakespeare: (Rosalind in As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2, Line 304) "I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal."
  3. "Takin' It to the Streets." These days, the yups in charge want to rely on the newest information published by the experts (of their choosing). Usually, though, the experts know what they know because they've studied it in the last article published by some other scholar of choice. A grup has lived in the big, bad world long enough to know that theoretical information only takes you so far. Failure--yes, children, everyone who has lived long enough will fail at some point in something--prompts one to rely on instincts as well as head knowledge.
  4. Dogged determination in the face of sound bytes. Grups, generally speaking, are not fashion hounds. Some rules in business (and academia, interestingly enough) are not meant to be broken, bent, or wrapped up in and pitched out with today's newspaper, especially when dealing with investors/stake-or-stock-holders. Those people tend to like things that have a solid record of return on investment. Recycling tried-and-true concepts is usually cheaper in the long run and not as costly in terms of other resources.
  5. Good--even if they are old-fashioned--manners. Grups may not always practice socially acceptable behaviors at home or at the office. Nevertheless, time has conditioned them to realize that certain behaviors like not following up with a client or indulging in selfish interests on company (taxpayers'?) time will eventually be noticed and dealt with by "Upper Management."
David Austin's "William Shakespeare" somehow found its way into my garden and my heart. It's a parvenu of sorts, not adhering to Walk2Write's strict rules for roses: No allowance for pampering, excess watering, or non-shrub roses.

If it behaves itself beyond this summer season in Florida, it might be allowed to obtain full-time, in-ground--with benefits--employment in this garden.


  1. So the Yup won't hire anyone who might actually know what he's doing? That ain't going to work out well. I'd be curious to know if he's still there in a year. It's pretty bad out there, I know somebody who's been out of work for a full year now... He says his job is finding a job. Tell SAM to keep faith and keep trying!

  2. Ah gee what is wrong with the young manager? That makes no sense. Whether someone has more experience or not should be a good thing and no danger to the manager. In the Army it is like this. Many times junior NCOs are more experienced than their leaders. Their leaders are smart. They either do one of two things. The first is to assign the more experienced individual where his or her expertise can be put to good use-like in a technical not managerial position. And the second thing they should be doing is to make sure they get more experience and stay competitive. It is a dog eat dog world today. Good tips for sure. Love the post.

  3. You probably have grounds to sue for age discrimination.

    I don't believe I ever saw that episode of Star Trek. I googled it to make sure and it doesn't seem familiar. Can't believe there are any I haven't seen.


  4. Claude, SAM has no other choice but to keep on trying. We're hangin' in there, and we have some reason to hope that an ordinary, full-time grind might not even be necessary when the benefits run out. It's a topsy-turvy world these days, for sure. I'm not going to waste any time or energy, though, thinking ill thoughts about that young man with no sense or any other person culpable for this current mess we're in. Grups know that what goes around comes around.

    You're right, Tina. The business world could learn a lot from how military leaders achieve results. The young ones with no respect for the older generation may climb the ladder quickly by stepping on other people's heads, but at some point their shenanigans are going to catch up with them, and that ladder is going to be pulled out from under them.

    Marnie, it's a fact that only people with lots of money or political connections can sue for discrimination. And we sure wouldn't want that nice lady to lose her job for ratting on her boss. This isn't the first time SAM has been passed over because of his "advanced level of experience," and I'm sure it won't be the last. I think this new breed of managers presents itself as an interesting topic of study and discussion. If no one else beats me to it, I might have to consider it for a master's thesis someday. I'd like to find out what makes this new breed tick. That Star Trek episode, by the way, is one of my all-time favorites.

  5. You know, because of you, I read Pudd'nhead Wilson, a book I had never even heard of before, by Mark Twain! It was a great book, and I think of it often as I go about my days, for one reason or another. It has changed me. Thankyou!

    I am still hoping you guys will end up in Gainesville!!! Best wishes to SAM in his continued job hunt. It really is difficult right now...sadly. Tell him to keep hanging in there. I am rooting for him!!!

  6. I love the creative display of the "watermelon hat." I had to click on the picture for a closer look before I figured it out (partially blamed on being a grup too).

    SPOCK: There may be other emotions at work in this case, Captain.
    MCCOY: She likes you, Jim.
    SPOCK: She's becoming a woman.

    Why did Kirk always get the women??

    JAHN: You know Grups. You know what they do, the hurting, the killing.

  7. Julie, that book by Twain is one of his finest, I think. He wasn't shy about getting right to the heart of a serious matter. He had such a gift for making us all laugh at our silly prejudices so that the "open-heart surgery" doesn't hurt as much as you think it would. The job in Gainesville that SAM interviewed for went to someone else, but we're not sorry. We'd much rather stay where we are, and there is a good possibility that it will happen. Thanks for the good wishes!

    TC, it was that dazzling smile and the tight clothes, I'm sure of it. It's kind of a disappointment to see "Kirk" these days. He seems to have let himself go. Grups tend to do that, I guess. Don't you just love that cheesy dialogue?

  8. If the growing season was only long enough for watermelons like that here. Yummy

  9. LOL...Loved this and I am old enough to remember the original Star Trek. My favorite episode still being the 'trouble with tribbles'... I am at the age when everyone in middle management looks like a Dougie Howser. It's depressing... Great post as always.. Michelle

  10. One advantage of living in Florida is being able to grow those delicious-looking watermelons! They don't grow well here in Illinois black soil, so I don't know the rule for testing ripeness--maybe thump it, smell it, and see if it comes loose from the vine easily?

    I never worked in the business sector, but it's ironic how many of these rules apply everywhere. My last two years of teaching were spent under an administrator younger than my sons--and with two, yes two, years' teaching experience! Much time was wasted those two years on the latest "fashions" in educational research. In the end, of course, it didn't improve student learning at all and...his contract wasn't renewed:)

  11. I really loved the beautiful flowers.Seems you had great fun with your family..Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

  12. Your watermelon looks so yummy.
    Have a blessed day!

  13. That's unfair, about the manager, I mean. I hope things work out well.
    Your water-melon shots are wonderful! They look delicious and it did take me some time to figure out the first photo! As for the rose, I hope it's gainfully employed in your garden:) And, oh yes, Micah must've been thrilled to see the fish in the hat!

  14. Troutbirder, the growing season may last longer here but so does the heat!

    Michelle, the Tribbles episode is also one of my favorites. There is a golf course nearby that reminds me of it every time I drive by!

    Rose, I thought that everything grew bigger and better in that rich soil! I guess some things like watermelons and administrators require more time on the vine than most people would think necessary. It's a shame that those two years were wasted, but maybe the young man learned a valuable lesson and will seek out and listen to elders' advice in his future jobs.

    Thanks, UR. I'm enjoying your site as well.

    Hi, VJ! I see that you have a blog now. I'll be over to visit soon. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Thank you, Kanak. Things are working out, actually. Must be from all the prayers and good wishes sent our way. Micah's grandpa caught a baby shark shortly after the "hat trick," but I think Micah was still more impressed by his dad's previous catch!

  15. That's one heavy melon ... I like your garden rules, especially the part about no pampering (but occasionally giving in.)

  16. Good manners do seem old fashioned these days, don't they? Another reason to hire old people is that staff meetings don't last as long because we have to pee sooner than the whipper snappers. Having an over-educated and under-employed family member is a drag, and not just from the financial standpoint. At least you have some yummy watermelon to drown your sorrows in. Don't forget the favorite family post-watermelon game: spitting the seeds into a bucket and getting points for the most "nothing but net" hits.

  17. Mr. S., of course, gardening rules reflect the gardener's flexibility--physically, mentally, emotionally. The rule for rules is more complicated than you can imagine! And the young ones think that gardening is relaxing. Bah!

    WS, yes, it's true! Incontinence is a valid excuse for shortening the meetings--much more PC and legally defensible than requiring a smoke break these days. We will have to revive that seed-spitting game again. One year when we lived in Missouri, I allowed watermelon vines to take over the front porch flower bed. The kids had engaged in a late-season seed-spitting contest the previous year. The vines were actually quite productive and definitely a conversation starter with visitors.