Tuesday, February 27, 2007


c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: Liz, Soccer Fairy, and I visited the Geauga County Sheriff’s Department recently. We were given an extensive tour by Sheriff Dan McClelland, and his tiny K-9 officer, Midge. They were gracious hosts who impressed us with an outstanding level of experience and dedication. The task of protecting our citizens is difficult, but important work. One can be sure that it is being accomplished by a group of knowledgeable, compassionate professionals. We are lucky to have them on duty.

For this writer, there was an added benefit of meeting with the Sheriff – encouragement to do extra wordsmithing based on our encounter. The following play came as a result of that creative stimulation. Here is a trip of fantasy based on our friendly meeting:

POOCHES ON PATROL / A four part adventure in Northeastern Ohio

SETTING: The Sheriff’s Department, on Merritt Road. A local writer and his family are finishing their visit with the county’s chief constable. Unbeknownst to them, both puppy participants are also conversing.

QUIGLEY: "Yip yip! This is a cool place, Midge. Thanks for showing us around."
MIDGE: (Playfully) "Hey, it was great to meet you! I don’t see too many dogs on my level. The German Shepherds here at work are huuuuuuge!"
QUIGLEY: "I know what you mean. Momma Liz takes me over to see her parents on the weekends. They have a Burmese/Bloodhound puppy. Yarf! He’s like a moose!"
MIDGE: "You probably look like a pizza roll to him… be careful!"
QUIGLEY: "I tried to ‘go commando’ on him the first time, just to show that I’ve got no fear."
MIDGE: "Really? How did that work out??"
QUIGLEY: "I had fear, after all. Rowf!"
MIDGE: (Giggling) "Oh, what a surprise!!"
QUIGLEY: "He opened his mouth, and that was it. Barrrk! His breath smelled like crushed pig ears. And those hound-teeth looked like a row of elephant tusks. I figured the next snack was gonna be… me!"
MIDGE: "Sounds scary."
QUIGLEY: "Momma Liz said he just wanted to play. But I stayed on the couch after that!"
MIDGE: (Laughing) "You’re goofy. But I like you, Quigley."
QUIGLEY: (With a smile) "Really? You mean that?"
MIDGE: (Speaking with shyness) "Yes, Quig. You’re different. A good kind of different."
QUIGLEY: (Blushing) "It rubbed off from my family."
MIDGE: "I want to be friends. Can we do that, Quig?"
QUIGLEY: (Said with a gulp) "Uhhh, sure! I like having cute friends. Rowrf! So… have you ever seen a full moon over the Chardon Square?"
MIDGE: "Well, no…I’ve seen the moon. Everybody has, right? So what’s the difference with a view up there, silly dog?"
QUIGLEY: "It’s like magic."
MIDGE: "Magic? Yip yip yip. How?"
QUIGLEY: "If you really want to be friends, meet me there Saturday night. You’ll see!"
MIDGE: (With hesitation) "Oh Quig, I couldn’t! Not without permission…"
QUIGLEY: "Meet me by the gazebo. You’ll see!"
Their visit ends quietly. With a friendly wave, the Sheriff bids everyone farewell.
SETTING: The city square in Chardon. Two canine friends lay in the moonlight, sharing conversation and wonder.
MIDGE: "You were right, Quiggy. This is sooooo peaceful!"
QUIGLEY: "My keepers used to come here, when they first met. The view almost put me to sleep, many times."
MIDGE: "It’s like a dreamscape painted in the sky."
QUIGLEY: (Digging for treasure behind the foliage) "Hey look what I brought. A rawhide chew. Wanna share?"
MIDGE: "A treat? Why, yes! I’d love to! Rowr!"
Both animals gnaw together, gleefully. But a strange sight interrupts their feast. Tanker trucks are circling the square, ominously. With a vacuum-hose apparatus, laborers from each vehicle begin to rob trees of their maple sap. Whispering voices fill the air. Their work is frantic, but disciplined.
MIDGE: "What are those men doing?"
QUIGLEY: "They’re stealing the sap! All of it!"
A foreman chides his men to hurry. Only one skinny worker has trouble accepting the task at hand.
CREWMASTER: "Come on, you goldbrickers! We’ve got to drain these trees and hit the road! And don’t spill a drop of sap or I’ll kick your lazy butts!"
BEANPOLE: "Boss, why are we sucking the life out of… trees?"
CREWMASTER: (Strikes the man across his face) "We’re cornering the market on maple syrup, you dummy! There’ll be no festival this year without us! The mayor will pay a huge ransom for this stuff! I’d like to retire with a big wad of cash. How about you, Junior?"
BEANPOLE: (Rubbing his mouth) "S-sure, I like money."
CREWMASTER: "Then shut your trap and get moving!"
Both dogs ‘play dead.’ Neither can believe what they are witnessing.
MIDGE: (Whispering) "We’ve got to tell the Sheriff. He can stop this gang!"
QUIGLEY: "But how? We can’t get out of here without being seen."
MIDGE: "We need a decoy, and a runner."
QUIGLEY: "A who? And a what??"
MIDGE: "I’ve got plenty of training, Quig. Let me handle the police work. Your job is to high-tail it out of here. On three, ready?"
QUIGLEY: "Hey wait a minute. You’re a girl. I’m not leaving you here…"
MIDGE: "Grrrrrrr! Don’t argue, Quiggy! Quit trying to be macho. On three, okay? ONE… TWO… THREE!!"
QUIGLEY: "No darn you! Noooooo!"
The diminutive K-9 goes airborne with a powerful flip of her tail. She draws attention away from the gazebo, to shield her friend’s escape.
MIDGE: "Run Quig! Runnnn!!"
SETTING: The Ice Household in Thompson. A wayward pet is returning home.
QUIGLEY: "Yarf! Yarf! Yarf!"
LIZ: (Spoken sternly) "Quigley Padderson! It is about time you came home!"
ROD: "Where have you been, little buddy?"
QUIGLEY: "Yap yap yap yap!!"
LIZ: "Oh my! He’s awfully upset about something!"
ROD: "Too bad I’m not fluent in dogspeak. I wonder what he wants?"
LIZ: (Calling their daughter) "Soccer Fairy, come quick! We need your help!"
QUIGLEY: "Arf arf arf!"
FAIRY: (Running into the kitchen, blonde curls streaming everywhere) "Hi boy! What’s the matter? You can talk to me!"
QUIGLEY: "Yarf! I’m so glad you understand my language. We’ve got to rescue Midge! There are bad men working on the square in Chardon. They want to ruin our maple syrup season, and the festival, too!"
FAIRY: (Looking intent) "Guys, we’ve got to call the Sheriff, right now."
ROD: "Call the Sheriff? Why? Because we’ve got a barking dog?"
LIZ: (Puzzled) "Little miss, I need you to explain yourself!"
FAIRY: (Out of breath) "Mom, you’ve got to believe me! There is no time to lose. Midge needs us right away…"
SETTING: Back at the Sheriff’s Department. Dan McClelland is supervising the incarceration of a dozen sap bandits from neighboring counties.
DEPUTY: "Move along, men! You’re going to the graybar hotel for a long, long stay!"
BEANPOLE: (Disgusted) "Well, you got a guaranteed retirement after all! Nice job, boss!"
CREWMASTER: (Angrily, straining at his handcuffs) "We would’ve gotten away with it, if not for that meddling dog!"
SHERIFF: (With pride) "Great work, Midge. You’re the best K-9 officer in this department."
MIDGE: "Yip yip yip!!"
ROD: (Taking notes for a newspaper story) "What did she say?"
FAIRY: "She said Quigley was also very brave. He helped us nab the crooks!"
SHERIFF: (Scratching his forehead) "Your girl can… understand poochie lingo?"
ROD: "It’s a rare talent. She’s had lots of practice."
MIDGE: "Yap yap yap!"
SHERIFF: "Well, now what did my officer say?"
FAIRY: (With a sigh) "She’s sorry for sneaking out on Saturday night. It won’t happen again."
ROD: "That’s right. Next time someone gets to sneak out for a little moonlight, it’ll be me!"
LIZ: "Ahh, how romantic…"
ROD: "Yep, just a six-pack of Coke, a sack of cheeseburgers, a radio to hear about the Cleveland Indians in spring training… it doesn’t get any better than that!
QUIGLEY: "Yowwwwwl. Yarf!"
ROD: "What’d he say?"
LIZ: (Turning red) "That means… YOU’RE SUCH A POO!"


Friday, February 16, 2007

“Radios and Candy”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

It was a frosty afternoon in Eastern Geauga. A devious wind scattered trash containers in the yard, while I drank coffee. Our windows were layered with elegant crystals. For once, I felt glad to be inside. Winter’s blustery force was in full effect!
I had just finished gathering resume information for a prospective employer in California. While searching the Internet, I had stumbled across Paisano Publications in Agoura Hills. The company owned several ‘lifestyle’ magazines, including a successor to one that I had written for in the 1980’s. It seemed logical to e-mail their Human Resources department about writing features. With modern technology, such contact was easy to accomplish.
Suddenly, my routine was derailed by the appearance of a petite, eight-year-old girl. Soccer Fairy was home from school! She smiled cheerfully, and twirled into the room with Quigley the Pomeranian. “Look Roddy! I’m dancing with the stars!”
Our dog yelped playfully. He was a very cooperative pet.
“How was your day?” I asked.
She dropped the pup while looking around my office. “Good! We made snacks out of construction paper. It was in art class…”
I puzzled over her story. “Snacks?”
“Yes,” she said, fidgeting with a folded piece of paper. “A cookie, a Pop Tart, popcorn, fries, and a glass of tea with lemon. And a chocolate football. And doggie treats that are okay for people, too.”
“Dog AND human treats?” I laughed.
“Yes!” she insisted. “So they can share!”
I nodded. “Of course. That makes a lot of sense.”
Soccer Fairy began to twirl again. Her eyes darted across the room. “Roddy, why do you have so many old radios?
Her question caught me unprepared. “Radios?”
“Look!” she said, smartly. “One, two, three, four, five, six… you have six just in here!”
I pointed my finger and counted silently. “Hmmmmm. One, two, three…” She was right. There were six radios around us, in a variety of colors and sizes.
“Do you listen to all of them?” she asked with wide eyes.
“Uhhh, no, not usually,” I admitted.
She giggled. “That’s silly! How many more do you have?”
I thought for a moment. “Well, probably twenty or thirty. Maybe more…”
Her eyes became enormous. “Why???”
I bowed my head. “That’s a good question. Why so many…I started collecting a long time ago. The fascination began with a gray Silvertone table model, made out of plastic. It was a Christmas present. Then I got a new transistor receiver with an earphone. After that, my uncle discovered an Emerson from the 30’s in his garage. And I found a Philco console radio with my dad, after school. Those treasures used to decorate my first office, in Virginia.”
“You had an office… in Virginia?” she beamed.
My answer filled her with wonder. “When I was not much older than you.”
“When you were eight?” she said.
“I would have been nine or ten. My desk was a trash barrel with scrap plywood for a top.” The tale sounded like part of a child’s novel. “I made a fan for the summer with an electric motor and a model airplane propeller. But my best creation was a studio microphone. For ‘WOLF’ radio…”
Soccer Fairy blushed. “You had a radio station?”
“Not exactly,” I said. “I took the base from a broken appliance and made a stand. Then I took two spray-can caps and poked holes in one of them. A tiny speaker from my transistor radio provided the electrical guts. I wired it to a tape recorder and did my own shows.”
She was amused. “That sounds like fun!”
“It was,” I agreed. “Eventually, my friend from the other side of town built a small transmitter to use with the microphone. His dad worked for General Electric, so they had lots of spare parts.”
“Wowwww!” she exclaimed. “So then you got a job at a real station?”
I was embarrassed. “Uh, no… not exactly. After high school, I studied television for eighteen months. Then, retail life took over. I ended up managing a grocery store, instead.”
She gave me a hug. “It’s okay, Roddy. I like grocery stores. That’s where Mommy gets us donuts!”
My heart was gladdened by her remark. Yet I still wondered about the homemade present in her hand. “Anyway, did you make something for ME in art class?”
She covered her mouth. An ornery grin spread under her tiny fingers.
“Okay, stinker,” I said. “What’s so funny?”
Soccer Fairy pretended to be shy. “Oh it isn’t something from school…” She unfolded the sheet of paper carefully. “It is for you, but I made it… ummm, on the computer!”
I felt the onset of curious confusion. “On the computer? Did you write a story?”
With a dramatic sweep, she opened the page. “It isn’t a story, it’s… you!” Before me was the image of a giant piece of candy!
“What??” I blurted out with surprise. “That’s me??”
She sounded like a baby being tickled. “Hee hee hee!”
My eyes scanned the picture, intently. Slicked-back hair, brown glasses over big eyes, an orange shell, a red bowtie and matching Converse sneakers… it was like a vision from the Willy Wonka dimension. “Do I really look like that?”
“Yes!” she chirped.
I nodded, in awe. “Wowwww. That’s really wild!”
The front door flew open, before I could say another word. Liz had finished her workday, at last. “Hey everybody! I’m home!”
“We’re in the office,” I shouted. “Come and take a look at something cool!”
“Yeah!” Soccer Fairy cheered.
My wife kicked off her heels, and skipped through the kitchen. “First, I want kisses!”
We shared a family hug. Then, our little one waved her M & M creation. “Look at this, Mom! It’s Roddy!!!!!”
Liz gasped. “Oh my!” She looked at the image, then at me, and then… she laughed out loud. “Oh my, oh myyyy!”
I went red. “A good likeness, do you think?”
She looked guilty. “I helped the Fairy find their website. It looked really cute. The address is ‘www.BecomeAnMM.com.’ But I never expected this!”
My eyes narrowed. “I should have known! What’s next? Making Quigley over as a Milk Dud? Or Grumpy the cat as a Jolly Rancher? He’d have to be an Un-jolly Rancher, though…”
“You’re such a poo!” she squealed.
“Not at all!” I disagreed. “Your husband is now a round chunk of chocolate. Candy-coated, and oh-so-sweet!”
Soccer Fairy pretended to hold a microphone in her hand. “Welcome to the Mommy & Roddy show… live on WOLF!”


Friday, February 09, 2007

“John Candycorn Must Die”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to readers: ‘Coast to Coast AM’ provides a wealth of controversial, yet entertaining radio fare. Guests are open about discussing conspiracy theories involving Yale University’s ‘Skull and Bones’ fraternity, or the ‘Bohemian Grove’ encampment in California. The danger with such programming is its ability to influence subconscious thought. I discovered this recently, after falling asleep during a ‘C to C’ broadcast…

Oblivion came somewhere after midnight. Our household audio receiver crackled with static and mystery as I surrendered to fatigue. Fog was thick in my brain! I could not muster enough strength to switch off the device. It was late… so late… but suddenly, I was awake again. Or was I? The television blared an episode of Fox Network’s new ’24 V2: Art Bell Theater.’ Video images flashed from the screen without mercy. Confusion made me numb. Then, a voice began to speak:

ART BELL: “John Candycorn… Must Die!”

I felt groggy. What did he say?

ART BELL: (Continuing his opening statement.) “The following takes place from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM on a Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio.”

Before my eyes would focus, the story began:

SETTING: The Mariott Hotel. A secret meeting of Democratic officials has been called by Howard Dean. Attendees are those responsible for steering the party toward a progressive agenda that will guarantee success in 2008.

HOWARD DEAN: “Good evening, friends. As Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I am responsible for making the party competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for our core values. That is why I have called you here.”

TED KENNEDY: (Enjoying a mixed drink) “As long as you don’t do the ‘Dean Scream’ we’ll be satisfied.”

JIMMY CARTER: “Ted, get serious, will you? Howie is trying to chair this meeting!”

BILL CLINTON: “Hey, he’s right Teddy. Easy on the scotch! This gave us an excuse to get away from the cameras for awhile. I’m glad to be here!”

AL GORE: “You’re just happy to get a night away from Hillary!”

CLINTON: “You’re a bitter man, Al. Let go of it.”

WALTER MONDALE: “Everybody, calm down! We are here to talk turkey, not peck at each other!”

DEAN: “Thanks, Walter.” (He bangs a gavel for emphasis.) “This meeting will come to order!” (The room falls silent. At last, the chairman has everyone’s attention.) “I’m sure that many of you are wondering why we are here, on Lake Erie. Here in Cleveland instead of New York, or Chicago, or Los Angeles…”

KENNEDY: “Or Boston.”

DEAN: “The explanation is simple. We needed a safe place, away from the media. A haven from national attention. Somewhere that no one would expect to find powerful leaders in executive session. And in the frosty climate of Ohio, we found it. This place… is where our future will be reborn.”

AL GORE: “Hey, I’m getting the nomination again? This time, I swear it’ll work out!”

CLINTON: “Let go of it, man!”

CARTER: “Both of you, shut up!”

DEAN: “The last mayor here asked people to adopt trash cans. And she wasn’t immediately run out of office. I’d say we are safe from thoughtful scrutiny.”

CARTER: “Never mind that. Get to the point, Howie. Why are we here?”

DEAN: “We lost the presidential race in 2000, in spite of Bill’s popularity as a two-term leader of the free world. That election shouldn’t have been close! Then we lose again in 2004, when Bush sounded dubious in the debates, and looked even worse with his handling of Iraq. A third loss would cripple us for generations to come. We’ve got to win by any means necessary!”

CLINTON: “Make it legal, and I’ll gladly run for a third term. Heck, I’ve even kicked the McDonald’s habit, so I feel better than ever!”

DEAN: “Bill, I’m trying to be serious. Go back to the Big Macs.”

GORE: “Yeah! If anyone is gonna run again, it’ll be me!”

DEAN: (Clearing his throat.) “Gentlemen, please! Ask yourselves – what is the greatest threat to Democratic victory in 2008?”

MONDALE: “John McCain?”

KENNEDY: “Rush Limbaugh? I can’t stand that cigar-chomping rascal!”

CARTER: “Rudy Giuliani?”

GORE: “Condi Rice?”

DEAN: “No. No! You’re missing the obvious.” (His voice fell to a whisper.) “The albatross around our neck is John… John Candycorn. He is the one who could spoil our victory!”

MONDALE: “Who?? John Dandypants?”

CARTER: “Spongebob Dandypants? My grandchildren watch that cartoon. You’re out of order, Howie!”

DEAN: “Nooooo!” (He whispers again.) “I’m talking in code. You can’t be too careful! The biggest obstacle we face is one of our own… John Kerry!”

GORE: “Kerry?”

KENNEDY: “You are mistaken! I love John like a brother.”

DEAN: “As do I, Ted. But, remember this quote from the 2004 campaign? ‘I voted for it before I voted against it.’ Who said that??”

CLINTON: “Doggone it, he sure never had my way with words.”

DEAN: “And who said this? ‘Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.’ Does that sound familiar?”

CARTER: “We barely won control of the Senate. John should have kept his mouth shut during the election season.”

DEAN: “Now, we get another blast of Kerry-speak. Comments made on foreign soil! ‘Americans have an unfortunate habit of seeing the world and other people exclusively through an American lens - and judging their aspirations through that lens. So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East — in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today.’ How’s that for a party leader?”

MONDALE: (Bowing his head.) “That sounds like John, all right.”

DEAN: “The comments were story number one on Fox News, all day long! Matt Drudge featured it prominently. I’ll bet Karl Rove had it on a tape loop in Washington.”

CLINTON: “I’ve tried to coach Hillary on remarks like that. You don’t get anywhere giving the media bad sound bites! It’s better to use a golden shovel and sling some bull!”

GORE: “Hey, you mean no comments like, uhh, ‘I did not have sex with that woman’ or maybe…”

CARTER: “Hush up, both of you boys!”

DEAN: “Each of you has a folder on your placemat. Please open it now.”

EVERYONE: (Looking at individual copies of a document marked ‘JCMD Plan.’) “Wow. Wowwwwwwwwwwww!”

MONDALE: (Completely flabbergasted.) “Are you serious?”

CARTER: “What does JCMD stand for?”

DEAN: (In a whispering tone.) “John Candycorn Must Die. That is the operation title.”

GORE: “You want… to kill him? Really?”

DEAN: “We are positioned beautifully for 2008. Hillary is in the race, and she’s our number one fundraiser. Barack Obama has more charisma than any politician since JFK. All the conditions favor us… but one. John Kerry. He just won’t quit talking!”

CLINTON: “What about my buddy Al, here? He’s outspoken too.”

GORE: “You aren’t going to kill me off, Slick Willie!”

CARTER: “No offense Al, but only Michael Moore takes you seriously. And he still thinks Bush caused the hurricanes. You’re no threat to our party.”

GORE: “What about Al Franken?”

CARTER: “Okay, Moore AND Al Franken. Big deal!”

DEAN: “Sorry Al. But he’s right. Actually, you help us look progressive without accomplishing anything. It works out fine!”

GORE: “Uhmm, thanks… I guess. But Joe Biden is just as bad with the foot-in-mouth comments. And he’s respected. What about him??”

DEAN: “Our research shows that Kerry opens the door for that kind of behavior. His sacrifice can better our position! Everything else will follow.”

MONDALE: “So, how do you propose to get away with this?”

DEAN: “We will require strict secrecy. An accident must occur. In Russia, it happens all the time…”

KENNEDY: “Have YOU been hitting the sauce, Howie? This is crazy!”

DEAN: “Repeat this pledge after me, gentlemen. ‘John Candycorn Must Die.’ There is no other way. If we can’t get the White House now, it will never happen! Are you with me?”

CARTER: “This isn’t moral…I can’t approve it…”

DEAN: “John would be proud to offer his life for the party!”

CLINTON: “Dang it, I like playin’ golf with John…I beat him every time.”

DEAN: “Are you with me??”

KENNEDY: “I need another drink!”

DEAN: “No guts, no glory, gentlemen. ARE YOU WITH ME???”

EVERYONE: (With nervous glee.) “Okayyyyy! Yeahhhhhhhhh!”

ART BELL: “Tune in next week when the DNC Chairman arranges for John Kerry to go on a goodwill hunting trip - with Dick Cheney.”

I was baffled. But the show was over, at last! I woke up to realize it had been nothing more than an oddball dream… or was it?


Tuesday, February 06, 2007



Thursday, February 01, 2007


This is the new avatar & profile pic that my wife, Liz, is using currently. I like the look! Can you tell that 'Grease' is her favorite movie? For Christmas, I got her the 'Rydell High' edition of the movie DVD that came in a leather-jacket sleeve. Wayyyy cool!

“Job Hunt Doo Wop”

c. 2007 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

“And when I get the paper / I read it through and through / And my girl never fails to say / If there is any work for me / And when I go back to the house / I hear the woman's mouth / Preaching and a crying / Tell me that I'm lying 'bout a job / That I never could find. / Sha na na na, sha na na na na…”

- The Silhouettes, 1957

It had been a long day in the Ice Household home office.
Though it was only four o’clock, my eyes were burning. I had clicked through employment websites since daybreak. Seventeen copies of my resume waited on the kitchen table. My sense of time had been skewed by the exercise. Now, I was overdue for a trip to the post office! And my coffee cup was empty.
Liz appeared in the doorway, suddenly. Her pink business suit glowed like a radioactive isotope. She brushed snow from her glistening curls, and reached out for a hug. “Rodneyyyyy! It’s so good to be home!”
I felt glad to have a break from the Internet. After a lengthy squeeze, we moved to the living room. Quigley the Pomeranian curled up by our feet.
Tempting fate, I whispered a question. “So, how was your day?”
My wife kicked off her heels. “Let me tell you!” The dog yelped, then ran for cover. “I had three new employees for orientation, and a visit from my corporate supervisor. Then the roof started leaking in our stockroom. On the way home, Starbucks was closed because of a power outage! Then, there was an accident at Route 44 and Interstate 90. And a windshield wiper broke on the car! Ooooooh, I was ready to lose control!!”
I trembled. “Sounds like it’s time to see Vegas again!”
She smiled with exasperation. “Actually, it was a slow day. If not for this time of year, I’d still be at work, trying to get everything finished!”
I nodded with excitement. “Does that mean I get to do Vegas by myself? Hoo yeah!”
Liz wagged a finger in the air. “You’re such a poo!” She skipped toward the bedroom without letting me have a final word.
I started a fresh pot of java while watching snowflakes sail across the front porch. The sky had turned cloudy, and dark. Traditional winter had finally arrived in Northeastern Ohio!
My wife reappeared in a flamingo sweatshirt, and pants. “I noticed a WORD document still on the computer. Aren’t you done with this week’s column, Honey?”
I frowned. “No. Things won’t go in that direction. I’ve been searching job results all day…like yesterday, and the day before.”
She took my hand. “It will work out. You’ve just got to believe in yourself!”
“Thanks for being in my corner,” I said without hesitation.
Liz sipped her coffee. “I look at resumes all day. What about yours? Does it have the pizzazz of a writing project? Does it ‘sell’ you as a potential employee?”
“Take a look,” I said, handing her a copy. “Would you be interested in someone like this?”
She read the document out loud. Her nails tapped a staccato rhythm as she considered each word. “The resume of Rod Ice, Thompson, Ohio:

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY - Good management is a practice that benefits everyone involved. There is simply no limit to the inherent yield of cooperation, productivity, and profit… the logic at work here is simple, but persuasive. Encouragement and guidance breed responsibility. In addition, a positive outlook is infectious! Expecting great things to happen makes such an outcome more likely. Spreading this ‘gospel’ of wise conduct has become a personal mission.

CAREER OBJECTIVE – To blend twenty-two years of retail experience and twenty-four years of freelance writing into a useful mix that will offer unique benefits for my employer.”

I watched her with loving fascination. “Sounds great so far. Keep going!”
She continued after a dramatic pause. “Yes, this is quite a list. I remember you mentioning some of these, before…

Graduate, Ithaca High School, Ithaca, New York

Student, Cornell University, Learning Web Apprenticeship Program;
WTCC-13, 519 W. State St., Ithaca, NY

Writer, The Ithaca Times, 108 W. State St., Ithaca, NY; S. K. List, Editor

Riser Foods ‘QEI’ Program (Corporate Excellence)

Writer, MC MULLEN PUBLICATIONS, P.O. Box 668, Redondo Beach, CA;
Robert Lipkin, Editor.”

My face went red. “Doesn’t sound like a ticket to living on the street, does it?”
“Stop it!” Liz snapped. “You’re not a bum! Quit thinking like one!”
I turned serious. “Okay, as a Personnel Manager, what would you change?”
She paused in meditative thought. Then, scribbled corrections flew from her pen.
“Just a bit of editing here, to clarify your points. And some rearranging of paragraphs. Organize your overview like this:


That will fit the typical pattern and offer your most important information ‘up front.’ You’d be surprised how many managers never get to the second page of a resume.”
I shrugged. “Looks good. But what about my employment details? You’ve got notes in the margin…”
“Be specific,” she answered. “Don’t write a novel, but list your duties by name. Saying you were in store supervision doesn’t tell them much. State what you did on a regular basis. Don’t leave them guessing.”
“That makes good sense,” I agreed.
Liz capped her pen. “If you are coming to me for a job, I need to know who you are, briefly and in clear terms. How would you describe your past work?”
My pulse quickened. “I viewed store management in the same light as journalism – it offered a way to help people. Groceries, appliances, or clothing sold themselves. We all needed such things. What I provided was service. A dependable link between my business and the consumer. Someone who would be a trustworthy advocate for the patron. Just as my newspaper career meant satisfying the public desire to be informed and entertained.”
She was pleased. “That’s my husband!”
“People knew that my name represented a guarantee,” I said. “With no excuses. My mission was to follow-up on every issue, one-hundred-percent of the time. A former boss used to say: ‘Retail is detail.’ I took that admonition to heart. It was like holding an election every day. Customers voted with their money. The cash register was our ballot box.”
Liz folded her hands. “You’ve got faith in the cause. That means everything!”
I wrinkled my nose. “So, tell me Mrs. Ice… why am I out of a job?”
She sighed. “Business can be brutal. But it’s like football. Quitters never win, and winners never quit…”
“Heyy,” I protested. “You’re stealing my material!”
“Hah!” she laughed. “Serves you right for teaching me that stuff! You know the lesson, Honey. Now learn it yourself.”
We spent the evening over my best Chicken Fettuccine with Tomatoes, and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Quietly, I reflected on the challenge ahead. Tomorrow was another day… Get A Job! Sha na na na, sha na na na na!