Volume 37, Issue 2, February 2002

Bad News; Good News
Pros and Cons of Writing a Monthly Glass Column
- by Dez Farnady

The opportunity to express oneís opinion in public is available to everyone. That is what makes this a free country. To express oneís opinion in public and actually have an audience is another story. The guy on a soapbox on the street corner on Sunday is certainly entitled to his uncensored opinion, but who ever bothers to listen? If he is good enough to garner an audience, he wonít be on the street corner for long. Someone will figure out how to get him a pulpit (or a television talk show) and make a buck on it. 

Some of us have the opportunity for a soapbox like thisóin printóbut we donít really get a chance to see our audience. In spite of the editorial encouragement I receive, sometimes I wonder if anyone ever reads this stuff. I do peek around the office to see if I catch anyone reading it; one canít just blatantly recruit readers. So I keep plugging away, as long as it keeps showing up in print every month. There must be somebody out there; obviously this is still a soapbox and not a pulpit.

I Know Youíre Out There

I know there is an audience on the occasion when someone does take the trouble to let me know that they have read my stuff. The scathing letter comes to tell me what an idiot I am and that I have no concept of what the hell I am talking about. Lucky for me, all of you in the glass business are such nice people. The ďyouíre an idiotĒ letters have been rare. Never-theless, they sting when they show up. I question my own judgment, review the facts and prepare to defend myself, even if I am an idiot or have said something stupid. Fortunately, in a column like mine I can always plead ďIím entitled to my opinionĒ and continue to ignore the critics.

The Good Stuff
And there are the rewards. It is nice to see a letter from an old friend to the editor with positive comments on a column. Of course, no one knows that he is an old friend because he does not identify himself as such. The objectivity was a nice touch but the son of a gun knows where I am, so a phone call would have been nice. Well, if you are still reading my stuff, thanks for the kind words and you know where I am. 

And then there are the occasional phone calls. I have received them from strangers looking for more information on a topic in response to a column. I have had calls from guys who had answers to problems and ones who had more questions or more problems. 

Some people actually call to tell me they agree with me. Thatís a rare treat. The best kind of calls are like the one I received about a week or so ago. I got a call from someone I have not seen or spoken to in a decade or more. The last time I saw him, he was a young project manager working for one of my big glazing contractor customers. In the meantime he has grown up in the business and now runs a branch for the same company. (And, by the way, it is a good one.) From a green youngster he has become a productive and responsible manager who represents some of the best in the business, and is one of the young guys who will be the driving force in the industry for the coming years.

It was a call just to say hello because the column reminded him that he has not spoken to me in a long time. I remember that back when he was just a kid and while I was dealing with his bosses I dealt with him just like I did any other adult professional. It was easy because that is the way he did his business. Maybe thatís why he remembered me and called to say hello. Thanks for the call. I appreciated it. 


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