Monday, September 30, 2013

Highly Defective

A few years ago I attended a luncheon/convention (lunchvention?) where the internationally celebrated and unreservedly bald Stephen R. Covey spoke. You may recognize him from such acclaimed work as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Roll Around in a Pile of Your Own Money.

The reason for his tour was to promote his new book, The 8th Habit. I never read it. There is something very Disney-esque about it. If there were 8 habits of highly effective people, shouldn’t that 8th habit have been included in the first book? It’s like when you buy Cinderella on DVD, and then a few months later – Oh, didn’t we tell you? Now there’s Super Deluxe Chrome Plated Forever Enchanted Cinderella. And it comes with a real pumpkin that turns into a real carriage for riding to the royal ball!

In any case, Mr. Covey, who has since passed away, was regarded as one of the most brilliant minds in leadership authority, organizational consulting, family unity, and using money for kindling. The man was universally respected, unanimously adored, and abundantly revered. When he spoke, people listened.

I’ve actually had the opportunity to attend quite a few luncheons over the years, with speakers who are considered the authority in their field, ranging from topics such as the Middle East to finance to land development to embezzlement. (Yes, he served time, and yes, he now works for the government.) And after sitting through a few of these, I began to wonder what it would be like to be sought after like these folks. To be considered the very last word on a subject.

Feeling derisory and somewhat inept, I tried to fathom a subject where people might consider me the quintessential expert. “Oh,” someone would say whilst munching on a Reuben at the country club, “you want to know everything there is to know about (X)? You’ve got to hear Ken Craig’s take on that. Insightful, witty, brilliant. The man knows more about (X) than anybody.”

This is all I could come up with:

The Subtleties of Flirting. (This is a stretch, as I am way, way out of practice. Unless you count my feeble attempts at wooing Katie by pinching her bum and changing song lyrics to make them “suggestive.”)

B-List Actors from the 80s. (I know ‘em all. This includes Lisa Welchel as Blair from Facts of Life, and Marc Price as Family Ties’ Skippy.)

Staying Awake on Road Trips (A story for another time.)

Making it Look Like You Are Shuffling Through the Pantry to Make Dinner When You Are, In Fact, Stealthily Eating Oreos Right in Front of Your Unsuspecting Kids.

Using Your DVR to Watch 1 Hour TV Episodes in 20 Minutes or Less. (Provided you are interested solely in plot – not commercials, not character development, not embarrassingly bad dialogue. And certainly not dancing celebrities.)

That’s about all I could come up with. No highly effective habits, no groundbreaking insight into world peace, no detailed explanations of how Utah is going to run out of water long before it runs out of Diet Coke. But there is a book I’m thinking of writing that Mr. Covey would never have written. I call it 7 Moderately Effective Ways to Flirt with Your Wife. Chapter 1: The Use of Alternate Song Lyrics.

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