Wide Effing Open

Lance wore sunglasses inside. That was the first thing I noticed about him. Second, he had the ability to achieve perfect clarity in directions. He destroyed meetings. Management guru Peter Drucker would’ve been proud. Who hasn’t been in meetings whose end is marked by the sound of shuffling fabric accompanied by whispers containing sentiments like, “So, what are we doing now?” Lance was a meeting destroyer. It really was something to behold.

He was also a man who loved to laugh. I’m talking about joy here people! When the man wasn’t modeling the art of focusing a group of men on a singular action, behind those sunglasses Lance was just itching to break out in laughter. He embodied these qualities in a way that was generally reserved for the most likable characters in great novels.

Now, history is full of men who have tried to categorize men like Lance, their point being to take away or re-allocate the credit. Their efforts proceed to pigeonhole men like Lance into being nothing more than the result of their circumstances, but I refuse to believe it. There was only one source, one natural spring from whence flowed the strength and skill, the judgement and wisdom that Lance displayed day-in and day-out. That source, of course, was Lance. The casual observer had no claim on Lance. Lance was the one who had to wake up every morning. He was the one who sat for a moment on the edge of a bed and stared out at the same equal-parts-bleak-and-bright world as he pulled his pants on one leg at a time. He was the one who reached for his boots as he decided what kind of man he wanted to be; what kind of father, what kind of leader. He was the one who everyone looked to for direction during the meeting before work began, and rather than buckling under the pressure or taking the road more traveled, which is paved with pride and foolhardiness, he was the one who on cue said, “Guys, today we’re going to run waa’d effin’ op’n.” He was the one whose example ensured the work got done. He was Lance.

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