Why Do You Build Me Up?

“If I told you I’ve worked hard to get where I am at, I’d be lying,
because I have no idea where I am right now.” – Jarod Kintz

Red-tailed Hawk at the Gardens

Red-tailed Hawk at the Gardens

This morning Anne found an Internet meme that she liked on Facebook. Some cute young guy had been filmed while driving around LA. He was singing out of his open car windows to the other motorists, who were stuck in traffic with him. He was singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” by the Foundations. This song has always been one of our favorites, especially since it was featured in the Ben Stiller movie, “Something about Mary”. First Anne started dancing to it, and then she got me moving too. Before we knew it, we were shuffling along on our creaky old hardwood floors. Eventually, the noise from the flooring became too much and we stopped dancing, but still it was a nice way to start out this day, in what has been an otherwise long, tiring and now rather dreary work week.

After our little musical interlude, I was out the door first as I shuffled off to Buffalo. Work has entered one of the more onerous phases of the annual business calendar, the season of employee performance evaluation. The boss announced our impending annual reviews in staff meeting this week. He also reminded us that we should have sent him a list of our annual accomplishments last week. Oops. I’ll have to get right on that, next week. What I find onerous about this process is not the specter of accountability, because in my many years of experience, I have found very little of that. Unless one is very good or very bad, then one ends up in the middle and in the middle one just rolls along with the peloton. If you follow bicycle racing, then you know that everyone in the peloton finishes at the exact same time. What I find annoying about the performance evaluation process is the posturing from my colleagues that it precipitates. I’ll have to endure this kabuki theater until enough calendar pages have turned and we are through this season once again.

Part of the pall hanging over this week is today’s fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. On another Friday, fifty years ago today, I was in my fourth grade classroom. I was in a Catholic elementary school in San Rafael, CA. It was just after lunch for us when a priest came into the classroom, whispered to the nun and then addressed the class. When the father announced that Kennedy had been killed, the classroom erupted into cries, sobs and tears. I especially remember Lawrence, the boy at the desk next to mine, he was bawling inconsolably. The priest eventually had to escort him out of the classroom. On our knees, the sister then led the rest of us in prayer.

Fifty years have dimmed all other firsthand memories of this event, except for its initial shock. A year from now, I’ll still remember those events of fifty years ago. A year from now, about accomplishments, I’ll try to remember to get my list in on time, but I’ll always remember you, my Buttercup. Why did I chose the picture of the hawk? It is both terrible and beautiful and that sums my day.

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