March 04, 2005

Aah, Foggy Memories

15 years ago, or so, I was working in the in-house print shop at CALDOR, Inc (now defunct9 for reasons that don't matter).

Rick was one of our pressman; one of six. Rick had the annoying habit of making noise with his voice. The man would not shut the @#$% up.

"Gad, will he ever shut up?" Fi wondered.
"I can't think with him talking over the machines all day long," Hector moaned.
"Oh, you no have to work next to him!" Khamone wailed.

So, one day I became so exasperated with Rick's incessent verbiage that I offerred him a challenge. If he'd not say a single word for one hour I'd pay him $5. He accepted the challenge!

He nearly broke after ten minutes but then he put a strip of packing tape over his mouth. Holy crap, he's serious.

Various persons would come by to talk to him but he, mouth masked, would only communicate in writing. This was getting weird.

At about 45 minutes Fi walked up to me.

"So, if he makes it... are y'gonna pay him?" he asked
"Of course," I said to his surprise.
"Why?" he shrugged in something very near confusion.
"Because I said I would." (Now, mind you, I never thought for a split second that Rick could possibly make it to an hour without saying something. But if he did, I began to accept, I'd just have to pay up.)

Eventually it became the event of the day. By 55 minutes everyone was trying to trick Rick into talking. "The clock's wrong, you've already made it!" "Dude, he ain't gonna pay ya so stop embarrassing yourself!" Rick just shook his head at them defiantly and knowingly.

When it was clear that an hour had passed, and he'd clearly made it without uttering a word, he took off the tape. I pulled out my wallet and handed him a five-dollar bill.

"Rick," Jeff, the boss, said. "You did all that for five dollars?!" Rick laughed loudly and joyfully as only he can. Jeff, and everyone else, were silent. Aghast, I tells ya, at what had just happened.

"No," I told Jeff and the entire crew who'd gathered for this rediculous moment. "He didn't do it for five bucks."

I dug my BIC lighter out of my pants pocket and handed it to Rick. He winked, then smiled, then set the fiver ablaze and let it fall to the concrete floor.

"Hah! See?!" I shouted. "He did it because I challenged him to do it. I asked him to do something hard. Something no one's ever challenged him to do before. And he did it! Not for five bucks, but for having done a difficult thing. For beating my challenge!"

I turned to Rick with my hand up and we high-fived while some crumpled thing fizzled out on the floor. .

Posted by Tuning Spork at March 4, 2005 12:54 AM


Great story.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at March 4, 2005 02:02 AM

Cool. Just plain cool.

Posted by: RP at March 4, 2005 10:46 AM

Well says alot about your friend Rick.

Also too bad we couldn't get this mentality to spread everywhere, imagine, everyone rising to the challenge...just for the challenge of it. Good post.

Posted by: Jody at March 4, 2005 11:13 PM
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