"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Monday, June 07, 2004
goal Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English gol boundary, limit
1 a : the terminal point of a race b : an area to be reached safely in children's games
2 : the end toward which effort is directed : AIM
3 : what each of us has in some form or another
I spent the day trying to become the White Queen to the White Knight.
That's chess pieces, not gender or persuasion, by the way. I'm firmly male and happily married. But the queen is the most powerful piece on the chess board. Yeah, I know it can also mean...Oh well, forget it. Let's just say I was doing my best to impress and leave it at that.
"White Knight" is the term I am using to describe the person who is trying to work out a partnership with his company and ours, and that partnership will save our company. Right now, it is about the only thing that can. It gives me a kick to refer to him like that, even to myself, because he's black.
And that's the best part of all. Just looking at someone like that, who has come up from only God knows how deep and is now in the position he is, you get this "YES!" feeling down in your gut.
This guy figured it out. For this guy, the system worked.
He wants to use grant money, the partnership and our resources to create an educational and research facility for minorities, then carbon stamp it all over the place. Today, I took him my game plan on how to do that, with all the dots outlined from here and now to where he sees the company going.
Call it three easy steps to altruism.
He loved it. So did his operations guy.
But the real kicker was what happened at the end of the meeting.
"Cliff, I want you to ride with us, we are going to go pick up Khalid."
Khalid, it turns out, is a eighteen year old who has already done some serious time for dealing drugs. He lives in a very bad area of town, and is involved with gangs and stuff. The White Knight has taken it on as a personal task to help this young man.
The other night he had to go bail him out of jail after being arrested when some guys from a rival gang jumped him. This week, the White Knight is going to give Khalid some experience on how it is on the other side.
We pulled into the neighborhood, and even in broad daylight it looked like a war zone. Houses were in all states of disrepair and leaning every which way. I am sure that the city would condemn most of them, if it cared.
"This place is like stepping back in time," h said to me. "Some of these homes only have electric sometimes, it blinks on and off, and a lot of them either don't have good running water or don't have any at all. And the slum lords that own them won't fix them."
I looked, you could easily see he was telling the truth.
"These people live from welfare check to welfare check. There are no jobs, the crime rate is through the ceiling, and drugs are everywhere."
We pulled up to a home that looked better than the rest, or at least cleaner and structurally sound. A young man came over, he had been shooting baskets in a field across the street.
"There's Khalid. I have to run inside for just a minute...Khalid! Come here, I have some people for you to meet."
Khalid came to the car. He had a t-shirt on, basketball shorts and tennis shoes, and dreadlocks halfway down his back. But his eyes, they sparkled with intelligence. You could just tell, if given half a chance, he would be a man to reckon with.
The White Knight intended to do just that.
On the ride back, Khalid was well spoken and had a good sense of humor. And the entire way, not one profane word. That impressed me. Nobody I work with could have pulled that one off, and here he was, a guy literally from the streets and he had more class.
I really think he is going to be just fine. The White Knight plans to take Khalid (who became a Muslim in jail, by the way) and some of his friends to some men's functions each night this week at his church. He is hoping that Khalid will become a Christian, and so am I, but that won't affect the help the White Knight plans to give him.
This is the way the world is supposed to work, I think.
Our game plans are only as good as the goals they are intended to reach.
The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.