Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90)
Did you know that the lives we live shape up into Round Life Pizzas that slice up into four Life Quadrants? The texture of these Life Quadrants hinge how we stretch, pull and toss the dough. And their flavor depends on the spices we toss in, plus how much heat we turn on. Our actions determine if a Life Quadrant will end up being dried out, grumpy or a delight.
And, furthermore, our Quadrants are age-coded and have a built-in manufacturer's warranty.... provided, of course, we watch our diet, don't smoke like a chimney, keep our daily cool and drink a lot of water.
A-n-d here are your Slice Age Codes:
- Slice One: 1 -25 Quadrant of Older Dreams by the Young
- Slice Two: 26-54 Quadrant of Promissory Handshakes
- Slice Three: 55-80 Quadrant of Younger Dreams by the Old
- Slice Four: 81-?? Quadrant of Your Footprints in the Sands of Time
The circular pizza represents a lifespan into which we are born with nothing on. Slice 1-25 spans our first 25 years wherein we not only are born naked but the insides of our heads are practically naked. We spend those twenty-five years wriggling away from our mother's hand and eye; having little kid and public schools selected for us and then flying off to a college we usually can't afford.
We hop, skip and jump around a world of apprenticeships, trying to fill our vacuum with tools of earning. Tools that build up a buck or two for living expenses, college-loans and to avoid waiting on tables or walking neighbor’s dogs. Visible, day-time experiences.
But it's the invisible night-time activities that make up the major chunk of Slice One, namely... dreaming. Dreaming what we're going to do with the tools we're accumulating. Oscar Hamerstein II, talented lyricist, put it into singing words in the smash musical "South Pacific": 'You've got to have a dream; If you don't have a dream; How you gonna have a dream come true?'
Dreams affect realities. What you dream of doing and what you think you can't do. At twelve, I dreamed of owning a portable typewriter and a used Rolleiflex camera with a 3.8 Zeiss lens. My buddies, however, dreamed of catching a fly ball in the bleachers of the Yankee Stadium. That's why I never was picked for the stickball games they played on the street-road along which we lived. They knew I dreamed of working for the unique, picture clustered Life Magazine.
Everything we do, we think, we see, we wish, we hope and pray for are affected by our dreams: Slice One: 1-25...Quadrant of Older Dreams by the Young.. .is our springboard.
But it's in Slice Two: 26-54... Quadrant of Promissory Handshakes wherein we make our mark… literally. It's the Quadrant where strangers you search out are willing to bet their hard-earned cash on your being a winner. It's the Quadrant where you begin your life's business track with your embossed graduation diploma in hand and the material absorbed as your bible. It's the Quadrant where strangers become your new project partners and are going to watch-you watch-over their established business game.
And it's here you will extend a warm Promissory Handshake to seal that partnership. A Promissory Handshake? Yes. A firm handshake imprinted with your most precious possession... your name. And when you convert your know-how into an asset for these new associates make sure you deliver the best quality of that know-how because your name is inked on the fingers of your Promissory Handshake and will be transferred onto their business structure forever and a day.
So, once again you may be thinking to your self, "Grandpa Mike-e-e! you old codger, what does all this have to do with me and my life in the furniture business?" Well, here is my point.
I bet there aren't too many people in Stage One reading this column, but if you have just entered the furniture retail business as an energetic Stage 2 person, take a moment to reflect... and not just for a minute or two. Your own raw pizza dough is already in the oven, but it's not too late to add a bit of spice, scrape off a burned patch, or adjust the heat. Maybe there is even time to pump a bit of real cheese into your crust!
Now is not the time to close your eyes and let someone else control the process. Now is not the time to carelessly turn up the heat and burn your bottom. Now is not the time to add so much red hot pepper that nobody can stand your flavor! Now is the time to find real mentors. Now is the time to drop bad habits. Now it is the time to learn everything you can about every aspect of retail from buying the goods to the final delivery. Now is the time to make yourself an asset to your boss, your co-workers, your customers, your suppliers, your community and yes... your family!
Think about the kind of pizza slices you admire, so as you get closer to Stage 3, you will be that slice.
More about Slice Three and Slice Four in next week's column.
Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. See the new YouTube music video staring me, Grandpa Mike-e-e! with my granddaughter Becca in a supporting role at http://bitly.com/qALkrX
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)
Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.
Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.
Graduated high school at 16.
Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.
Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.
Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.
Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.
Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.
Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.
Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.
Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.
He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."
Retired from retail management at age 70.
BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.
Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home
Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.
At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.
Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,
IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.
At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.