Volume 43, Issue 5 - May 2008

the Business

What’s the Point??? 

 by Lyle R. Hill 

It was only 6:12 a.m. on an unusually cold Tuesday morning when I picked up the phone before it finished its second ring. I then began to offer up my standard salutation but before I could finish…

“Hill, it’s me, Rago.”

I hadn’t heard from Johnny “The Mooch” Rago for several months, although I certainly had heard about him on several occasions during that same time period. And because of what I had heard, the call was a bit of a surprise.

“Mooch, where are you?”

“What do you mean where am I?” he fired back with more than the usual amount of agitation his voice typically carries.

“Well, I had heard that you and your cousin Tommy ‘The Torch’ were mixed up in a little something over on 47th street last month and that…well, you know…that you were, shall we say, laying low.”

“Listen Hill, neither me nor ‘The Torch’ had anything to do with that warehouse fire. It was caused by lightning, and as good as Tommy is, he can’t do lightning. Besides, we’ve gone legit.” 

“OK, Mooch, if you say so, but from what I read in the paper and heard from a couple of the guys, it sure sounded like the handiwork of you and ‘The Torch’ but either way, I’m glad to hear you guys are trying to clean up your act. Is there something I can do to help?”

“Actually, Hill, there is.”

“You’re not going to ask me for money are you?”

“No, no, no, Hill. No money, but I do need you to help me understand some things cause I’m a little confused. But before I get to the details of that, can I ask you a more personal question?”

“Sure, Mooch. What is it?”

“Well, that article you wrote about the old grammar school and going back for Career Day and all that. I mean, it might have been somewhat interesting to a few people, but what was the point? Aren’t you always supposed to have a point?”

“It had a point, Mooch. It was about how some things never change…especially people…and how our lives are shaped very early on and how maybe we don’t have as much control over things as we might think we do.”

“Hey, Hill, maybe those sappy glass industry people will buy that, but I’m not. I don’t understand why they print your stuff to begin with.”

“Then can I ask, Mooch, why you bother to read my stuff in the first place?”

“Cause every now and then you come up with something worthwhile. And that’s the reason I called you today. I’m a little confused and I need you to do a little research for me and Tommy and maybe you could even write something about it.”

“Very funny, Mooch. But what are you confused about?”

“It’s this NFRC thing, Hill. I’ve been reading what they’ve got to say and then I read how some people in the glass industry want to form a coalition to fight against what they are trying to do and I guess I just don’t get it. It kind of reminds me of when we were kids. Remember the old turf wars with that bunch from 19th street, Hill?”

“Yeah, I remember those days, Mooch. But as kids the battles were almost always over reputation and pride. Adults usually fight over money and power…with ego joining the battle on a regular basis.”

“OK, Hill, but I’m a bit of an outsider and while I admit that I’m kinda fascinated by you glass people, on this one…the NFRC group and the anti-NFRC group, I’m not getting it. What’s their point? Or are they like you and don’t really have one?”

“Well, Mooch, it’s a little confusing to me too and there has been a lot of finger pointing and even a little name calling that has taken place. And I’ve heard first hand about some of the heated commentary that’s come out in public meetings so I guess there must be more at stake here than we might think.”

“That’s what I’m hearing too, Hill, and that’s why you need to find out what’s going on.” “So now you’re asking me to tell you what the point of all of this is after you have told me that I am a rather pointless person to begin with?”

“I didn’t exactly say you were a pointless person, and in fact, I specifically said that every now and then you do seem capable of coming up with a worthwhile thought or two. So now I’m asking you to look into this and give your opinion. That’s all. Besides, now that all those lawsuits have been filed over the energy surcharge thing, you could use some new material. 

“Maybe you’re right. OK, I’ll do it.”

“By next month?”

“OK, Mooch, you got a deal. Next month…right here…and I’ll even try to have a point!” 

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