Playing Cards

May 17, 2005

The house is not so empty these days, not with the boy home from college and now I've got one of his best friends as a house guest as well. Seems that the other boy's parents moved away to Chicago just after graduation last year and we did say he could spend the summer here, at least as long as I live here.

They are good kids, they play HALO (killing each other online), watch the basketball games, and of course, they play poker.

Lots of poker.

Now I don't mind all the poker as long as I'm not shelling out gas money that is going to card games.

But the whole card game issue was elevated to an entirely new level last night, during a conversation that I had with the Mrs.

We were discussing the plan A vs. plan B thing when she brought up a point that is causing me to rethink the whole A vs. B thing.

Now that I'm emotionally a little more removed from my anger at not being accepted, I can see lots of reasons for staying in NM, and some of them are financially staggering.

The issue at hand however, is when is no, really no?

Take my career for example.

One spring day back in 1977 I walked the two miles out of the woods to get my mail and opened the following letter:

May 6, 1977

Camp xyx
Star Route, River Road
Oscoda, MI

Dear NSR,

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you and I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm in considering a possible career with Big Financial Company. However, on the basis of your initial test results, I do not feel that this particular field is suitable for you.

I wish you every success for the future...yadda yadda.

Assistant Manager.

Sounds like a no.

I didn't agree.

I picked up the phone and called and got a hold of SM and we talked for a minute and I told him that his test was bogus, and I wasn't. I remember telling him that it was patently transparent and since I told the truth, there was no possible way I could pass it, but if he wanted me to lie through my teeth, I'd pass it with honors.

They liked the approach (not taking no for an answer is good for a sales position) and let me retake the test.

Twenty eight years, almost to the day later, I'm still in this same business, slid over to the right a bit, but still here.

The letter is framed, along with two others, after meeting and exceeding company guidelines over a 3 year period. The third letter still makes me smile:

September 25, 1980

Dear NSR

OK! So I Was Wrong!

Anyway, what's this got to do with NM and law school?

For some time now, I've realized that I just might have another card to play to try and get into the original school.

This card has to do with the whole concept of 6 degrees of separation, meaning that all of us are only 6 people apart from knowing any one other specific person.... but in this case, its 2 degrees from me, one degree from my wife.

So when you are turned down at a college, in a state where you have zero connections, what cam you do next?

If you've got no cards, then how do you play?

And if you would, or could, to whom would you appeal and what influence could you bring to bear?

My cards as of now are spent. But this is also a joint effort, and Mrs. still might have her own card to play. We've discussed the situation over the last week, and although she gave me permission to play it the day I found out I was turned down, I wasn't in the mood, I was too angry and too upset to even consider it.

Then I flipped and flopped back and forth from the stormin Norman approach to an "F" them and the horse they rode in on. If they don't want me, I'm not begging.

Things changed however, once I got such a positive response from ASU. Spouse and I talked again I told her that since she really liked her job, I felt that the card was hers to play, and hers alone. I also told her that if she played it, and it worked, I'd support her call. It's a card after all, and also a favor, but you gotta know when to call it in.

Timing, and who you know, can often make massive differences in how events turn out in life. And is it even a favor, if someone suggests, like they did last night, "You know what, Mrs. NSR, I've got this card I can give you to play, and shall I pick up the phone and make a call, on your behalf?

When is no, no?

Good question.

Mrs. was very thankful for the gracious offer of assistance and suggested that perhaps it would be best to wait and see if I did indeed get another offer elsewhere.

So now, another joins us in the wait.