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Local Boy Makes Good

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Once upon a time not too long ago, there was a young man who was contemplating his future. He was about to graduate from an Eastern Shore high school and it was overdue time to pick a career. He had spent a lot of time considering just what he would do for a living. He must choose a career which fitted his demeanor and character. It must not be one with much physical labor. It should fit his mental abilities and his physical dexterity. He had an eye for physical proportions and a certain flair for the exotic in art and the abstracts. He sought out the advice of his peers, relatives and acquaintances. All were genuinely concerned for his future. They gave him much sincere advice and showed thoughtful concern for his well being. Never had one young man had so much cooperation in his search for just the right career. His parents wisely refrained from participating in his dilemna. They had to trust their instincts in believing they had done the right things in his upbringing.

So one day he withdrew to the solitude of his parent's cabin down by the creek and just thought and thought. Hours stretched into days. Days stretched into weeks. He considered all the possibilities, rejecting one career after another. It eventually became obvious that he needed more information. After all - this was his own life's work he was contemplating.

After exhausting the subject at all the local places, he went to the largest library in the whole state and starting looking up anything that would pertain to the subject. He read want ads, employment opportunities and the whole gamut of job openings. There were plenty of jobs available but none that appealed to him. So he continued his search. He tried technical journals and he tried trade magazines.He tried encyclopedias and he tried the newspaper archives. Nothing.

One day he picked up an obscure little manual on a dusty shelf way in the back of the library. Eureka! There it was. gloop making. The article gave all the details on what a good gloop maker could expect once he mastered his trade. There were manual skills and knowledge that could be acquired at a good school for gloop making. All one had to do was to find such a school taught by a master craftsman. He turned the page and there it was. The address for a gloop making school right there in his own vicinity. His lucky day had arrived. He had the motivation. He had the desire. All he needed was the skills. And they were available for the learning right there at the gloop making school.

He checked into the situation and found out about the tuition, the class room hours and transportation schedules. He would have to ride a bus for several hours each way. But that was all right. After all, he would learn gloop making from the resident master craftsman. One whose skills were far above reproach. A master in every sense of the word.

The financial requirements would be stiff. gloop making lessons are not cheap. But he had some money saved, his parents would kick in a little, he could borrow some and he could work summers and nights at the local hamburger joint. Soon he applied for admission to the gloop making school. He was apprehensive about passing the entrance exam but he would give it his best effort. He studied for weeks on every thing that might pertain to gloop making. He hoped there was something somewhere that would furnish some insights to gloop making and its skill requirements.

Finally the day came. He reported to the gloop making school with a batch of fresh paper and a handful of sharpened #2 pencils as instructed. There were only a few other candidates. And the sign said, "Only one of you shall thrive" He wondered what that meant. Surely there was a huge demand for quality gloop makers. On the appointed time the candidates took their seats and started the timed entrance exam. Precisely three hours later the bell rang and the master craftsman collected the papers. Our hero had just finished the last question while some others were only partly done.

It was now a matter of time. The candidates had to wait for the papers to be graded and the faculty decisions to be made. This was not a matter to be decided lightly. After all the future of gloop making rested on their calculations and conclusions. After a lengthy consideration the authorities rendered their decision. The results were published in the local paper on the third page of the business section. And there it was - his name was the very first. Oh happy day! He was elated. He rushed home to let the good news be known to his family A round of hugs from mom, handshakes from dad and congratulations from his brothers and sisters made the occasion truly memorable.

Soon the first day of classes was upon him. Away he went with much apprehension and a little joy. There were only a few other students. He studied hard and under the expert tutelage of the master craftsmen he slowly but steadily acquired the skills of a practiced gloop maker. There were a few setbacks and sometimes accolades. Progress was slow but steady. He absorbed every hint and clue that was tossed at him. Many times he made a gloop only to throw it away and start again. He burnt a lot of midnight oil while striving to hit just the right combination of characteristics that differentiated an ordinary gloop from an outstanding one. His confidence grew as time passed.

Graduation day was fast approaching. He had but one thing to do and that was to make his final gloop. It had to meet the strictest criteria. No detail could be overlooked. It must approach perfection. It had to withstand the critical eye of the master craftsman and the judgment of his peers. Would he pass?

In ten days and after much weighty contemplation the judges announced their decision. Would our hero be given his gloop Making Diploma or would he have to attend another year? And the decision was announced on the front page of the business section of the local newspaper. Our hero had passed with flying colors. He was first in his class. The challenge had been met and overcome. All the hard work, sleepless nights and long hours were behind him now.

The authorities of the school had an elaborate and fully televised graduation ceremony with the local press and friends, relatives and dignitaries in attendance. No expense was spared. Speeches were made, the sirens and a color guard acknowledged the occasion. It was a glorious day. At last he was a certified gloop MAKER and he had a diploma to prove it.

But now it was time to get on with his career. Time to seek out employment. Time to show the world how a gloop maker works. He decided to seek employment in the local environment so his family and friends could share in his triumphs as they came forth. He went to the main street of the city nearest his home town where all the corporate offices were located. He started at the most prosperous end and went in the front door of ABC Construction and Engineering Co. Confidence exuded from every pore in his body. Nothing could stop him now. He was the master of his own destiny.

There a gorgeous redhead with a sparkling smile greeted him. This was his lucky day. She was fully qualified to be the mother of his children. She listened attentively as he made his well-practiced presentation. At the end she decided that the art and mystery of gloop making was way over her head. She just did not want to display her ignorance of gloop making so she sent for her superiors. This was just too much of a decision for a lowly clerk/receptionist to make. The boss came and listened. He too could not take it upon himself to render a decision on such weighty matters. The branch chief was summoned. He was a master at things like this. Our hero explained his education and training and told how he would like to work for a company such as this one. He thought he could contribute mightily to the financial success of this company. Now the big boss knew that he would be the one to explain gloop making to the CEO and the Board of Directors and he just did not want to display his complete lack of understanding of the finer points of gloop making. He thought about that for a while and finally rendered his decision. After all that was why he was boss. He could make big decisions. The boss said " Son, I must canvas all our departments and sections to see where you will best fit in. I do not want to make a decision of this magnitude without a thorough process of considering all the ramifications and possibilities. This is not something I must do without all due consideration. We will let you know in a few weeks. In the meantime you leave your application with us and we will call you when the decision is made." And fully satisfied with himself the boss withdrew and resumed his normal duties.

"There are more employment offices down the street. " said the redhead as she showed him the door. He got the message.

Now the young gloop maker recognized a brush off when he saw one so away he went to the next large corporate employment office. There a blonde receptionist who also qualified as a potential mother of his children met him. She had him fill out an application for employment with special emphasis on his skills and talents that would benefit a large corporation such as this. She was duly impressed by the mastery of vocabulary that was displayed by our hero. She certainly did not want to show her ignorance of gloop making to every one of his kind who happened in off the street. So she too sent for higher authority. The supervisor talked to the young gloop maker. He too just did not know what a gloop maker did. He certainly did not want to display his ignorance so he asked the blonde for the list of job openings confident that that gloop making was not on the list. Sure enough no openings for gloop making existed. He was enough of a politician to know that the young gloop maker must be given a polite but firm sendoff. After all he too was once young and just starting out.

The next place down the street was the state employment office. Surely they represented the whole gamut of possibilities. Surely somewhere in this whole state was an opening for a beginning gloop maker. His confidence was just a little shaken but still intact. So he put on a good showing for the beautiful brunette who smiled and took his application. She was duly impressed by his expressions of proficiency at his chosen line of work so she sent for her boss, the chief examiner. Now this man was a typical bureaucrat who had a knack for words. He made a great show of reading and considering the application before him before giving forth his carefully worded decision as he had done so many times in the past. He certainly did not want the young gloop maker to be aware of his own ignorance in such matters. After all he was the "chief". So he said to the young but slightly discouraged gloop maker, " I will have to take this to the Board of Advisors for their special consideration of your talents. They will meet in three weeks and I will let you know." He knew what that meant. He had heard it before. By this time the day had been getting long so he decided to try again in the morning. He would get a good night's rest and be ready to go then.

After eight hours of rest and a hearty breakfast, off he went. He started at the exact same spot he left on the previous afternoon. And there in front of him was the United States Army Recruiting Office. He thought about that for awhile but decided that the secure future of continued employment was worth the small hassles he might have to endure. His pride had come down a notch or two. He opened the door and went in.

There she was. A beautiful young US Army sergeant in full dress uniform met his admiring gaze with a polite but firm look of "no nonsense tolerated here." She interviewed him for skills, education, and possible good he could do for the Army. She was just like all the others. She just would not take this upon her shoulders to acknowledge that the mighty U. S. Army needed a gloop maker.

She sent for her superior, an Army Captain, who could make rapid and skilled decisions like this day after day. He had every regulation and rule committed to memory and could not come up with one that fitted this particular situation so he decided that the worst thing he could do was to show his ignorance. It might hurt his reputation and ruin his chances for a promotion to major. So he told the young gloop maker that the US Army had no openings for gloop makers at the present time but that he should check back in a few months. Maybe something would come up.

In the same suite of offices were recruiting offices for the Coast Guard, the Air Force and the Marines. At each place he got the same old story, "No openings today" from recruiters who just did not want to show their ignorance about gloop making. What a lot they were! Bureaucracy in action. "Pass-the-buck" seemed to be the motto of the day.

He had just enough time for one more attempt today. There was the US Navy Recruiting Office. A worn old navy chief who had been around the world many times greeted him with a growl and "What do you want?" The young man was slightly taken aback but expressed his desire to join the Navy as a gloop maker. The old chief had not met his quota for the month and his boss left early. This called for instant decision making of the first order. If he could just last until retirement, he would have it made. So he said "Son, you are just what we need. I want you to sign a few papers and you are in the Navy".

Upon completing that our hero was off to home to explain his good fortune to his family and friends and to say his "Good-byes" until boot camp was over.

In due time our young gloop maker finished boot camp and it was time for a permanent assignment. The career advisors thought about it for many hours and just could not arrive at the best place to assign a gloop maker. In order not to display their complete ignorance of gloop making, they decided that surely the biggest ship in the Navy would have a place for a gloop maker. Let his new superior officer figure out what to do with him. So he reported to the Commanding Officer of the biggest aircraft carrier in the world which just happened to be in port that day. So the CO told the Executive Officer to handle it and the Exec told the Officer of the Day to take care of it. And OD grabbed the nearest Chief Petty Officer and gave him the assignment. Of course each one in turn did not know what a gloop maker was or how he did it. But they had bigger worries at the moment. The poor old chief took our hero way down below decks and assigned him an old shop that long ago had been abandoned by the ship's crew. The Chief told him that this was his new home, to fix it up, order the things he needed and to "do your thing. Just do not get in my way".

This is just what our young hero needed. He cleaned the place up. threw out the trash and made it into a first class gloop making shop. He requisitioned the tools and had the place looking ship shape (pardon the pun) in a few months.

As time went by various officers came by to marvel at his place. None of them were willing to confess their ignorance as to what a gloop was or how it was made. But our young gloop maker impressed his superiors and promotions came regularly. They especially liked his zeal and apparent competence at his profession. After all they had never seen such a clean and neat shop. But not one request came through that listed a gloop on it. Time passed and eventually he was a Chief gloop Maker, the only one in the whole navy. The CO of the aircraft maker was proud that his crew had the only gloop maker in the Navy and he was not above bragging a little bit about it around the Officer's Club. The prestige associated with being the Commanding Officer of the invincible U. S. Navy's only Chief Gloop Maker was not a minor item in his resume. Now the Admiral overheard him and just had to see a gloop maker. Maybe he needed one on his staff so he decided to see for himself. This caused some dismay by the CO of the aircraft carrier. He realized that his bragging might cost him the gloop maker if the admiral developed a need for a gloop or two. But he knew better than to make an admiral mad so he kept his mouth shut and decided to make the best of it.

One day soon the Admiral came to inspect the aircraft carrier. Without too much subterfuge he headed straight for the gloop maker's shop where he put in a command appearance. The gloop maker was impressed with the possibilities here. The world was full of madmen and maybe a gloop or two might be the thing that created a imbalance in our favor. Now the admiral did not get to be admiral by being dumb. He certainly did not want to show his ignorance before his subordinates. So he asked the Chief Gloop Maker to make one for him. This was just what the Chief Gloop Maker wanted. He had been practicing secretly to keep up his skills and felt ready to go public.

The Admiral asked the gloop maker about what materials were needed. He was told a materials list would be submitted through official channels but the Admiral could not wait and assigned a junior officer to get them. The gloop maker needed about one square yard of the finest royal purple velvet, about three board feet of rare teak wood, some gold and ivory and a quarter pound of lead. Two days later he had the material and started work. It was amazing what having an admiral's signature on the requisition form could do.

Two weeks later and just on the same day that he was due to retire, the gloop was done. The admiral came aboard to receive his gloop. He had brought along a brass band and a color guard. After all, this was a momentous occasion. The press and the TV photographers were there too. All the pomp and ceremony that could be mustered on short notice were on hand. The officers and crew of the aircraft carrier were in formation on deck for the ceremony that starred one of their own, the Navy's only gloop maker. On cue and after the appropriate speeches, the Chief Gloop Maker advanced to present the Admiral with his gloop. He handed the Admiral an extravagant teak box that was inlaid with gold and ivory in a beautifully hand-crafted manner. The box was lined with the royal purple velvet and formed a nest for the tear drop shape of lead.

Now the Admiral was nearly outfoxed by his own shrewdness. He had to confess (to himself) that he had never seen a gloop before and was completely unaware how it worked. But he did not become an admiral by being dumb. With great aplomb, he asked for a demonstration. The Chief Gloop Maker was only too glad to oblige. After all, this was his day. Pridefully, he took the box from the Admiral and led a small parade of onlookers to the stern of the aircraft carrier. The TV cameras and the news photographers followed his every move. The hometown newspapers would carry the story back to his parents and make them very proud of what he was about to do. There at the very edge and far above the glasslike surface of the water, he opened the box. With an elaborate gesture he took the tear shaped gloop from the box and held it at arm's length over the edge. The gathered crowd gasped as he dropped it. Now it was all up to the high speed cameras and the ultra sensitive microphones to record this event for posterity.

The tear dropped shape fell toward the water surface with ever increasing speed. When it finally reached the surface and hit the water, it made a noise - "gloop".

By Robert L. Mears

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