You’ve Ruined My Life
By Lyle R. Hill
I had picked up the phone as it began to ring for the second time but before I could utter a word, the early morning caller began to scream.
“Are you Lyle Hill? The idiot that writes those silly little articles for that AGRR something or another magazine?”
Now if she was trying to offend me, she had gotten off to a great start but through the years I have always found it best to confront situations like this head on with professionalism and calmness.
“I believe I might be the person you are looking for and what can I do for you?”
“You can’t do anything now,” she screamed even louder than before, “because you have already done it. You have ruined my life!”
I had no idea who this lady might be or why she had called me. I was baffled!
“OK,” I said, “I am willing to talk to you but you have to stop the screaming and you need to tell me your name or else I am going to have to hang up on you.”
“I’m sorry,” she replied in a much softer voice after a bit of a pause. “My name is Susan and I guess it’s not all your fault, although I do believe most of it is.”
“And tell me please Susan, exactly how have I ruined your life?”
“Chapter 15,” she answered.
“I’m sorry, Susan, but I don’t under-stand. What exactly is chapter 15?”
“It’s the 15th chapter in your wacky little book called the ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ and after my husband Dave read that particular story, my life was ruined.”
“Susan, I still don’t understand’ and by the way the book is titled ‘The Broken Tomato’ and not ‘The Rotten Tomatoes.’ But how did that story ruin your life?”
“Well, I’ll tell you. That particular chapter is a story about an Impala at the zoo who could jump out of his cage and escape but won’t even attempt a jump to freedom because he can’t see where he will land and Impalas never jump when they can’t see the other side.”
“I do remember the story Susan and it’s true. The area where the Impalas are kept is sloped in such a way that they can’t see where they would land if they jumped and fear of the unknown keeps them from trying.”
“Exactly, Mr. Hill. So after reading chapter 15 of your ‘Spoiled Tomato’ book, my husband quit the job he had held for eight years and started a new career.”
“Please Susan, it’s ‘The Broken Tomato’ and you say it was be-cause of my story?”
“Well, the business where he worked got a new owner and he just didn’t enjoy working there any-more, and then he read chapter 15 in your tomato book and decided to ‘take the leap’ as he puts it.”
“How long ago was this Susan and can I ask what his new career might be?”
“It’s been four months and he is now a stand-up comedian.”
“And would I be correct Susan if I guessed that his new career is not going well?”
“Are you kidding?” she said with her voice growing louder with every exchange. “He’s done four shows and not one place where he performed has asked him back. One club manager told him not to quit his day job. We’ve got two kids and a mortgage and I hope you’ve got room for us at your place cause we’re going to have to move some-where when the money runs out.”
“Actually Susan, the house is already kinda full so you can’t move in. Your husband wasn’t the only one who read chapter 15 and took it seriously.”
“Well Mr. Hill, can you at least call him and try to talk some sense into him? He won’t talk to me about this anymore. Maybe you could write another story about the impala that escaped but came home when he realized the world on the out-side wasn’t all he thought it would be. Or, I’m telling you, we’re heading to your place with the kids and you’ll just have to make room.”
So it was then that I called Susan’s husband and, while he wasn’t very funny, he was pretty bright and with the shortage of good employees out there these days, a few phone calls landed him a decent job. I’ve also now asked the publisher of the ‘Broken Tomato’ to remove Chapter 15 before shipping any more books. And one last thing … if any of you readers out there are in need of a good CSR, fabrication foreman, auto glass tech, or film installer please give me a call. There’s six strangers currently living at my house … and none of them like tomatoes!
LYLE HILL has more than 42 years of experience in and around the auto glass industry. At one time he operated 71 auto glass retail shops and a wholesale auto glass distribution business. He is currently the directing manager of Keytech North America, a consulting firm, and is the co-founder and president of Glass.com®, an information portal and job generation company.
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