Volume 44, Issue 4 - April 2009

From the Fabricator

True Confessions 
Admission of a Glass Industry Addiction 
by Max Perilstein

A while back I took my daughter Natalie to see the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and it really was an interesting experience. First, I was the only male in the entire theater; those are not odds that I run into often. Second, I was watching my 9-year-old daughter’s future because the lead character is Natalie—just 15 to 20 years older. And third, I realized that if she has any of these addictive tendencies it’s because of me. That thought spooked me beyond belief as my genes are not good.

See, because of these tendencies I could write several industry-related movies with the same premise as the one I saw—such as “Confessions of a Chinese Bash-aholic,” where I discuss the issues of imports from that country. Or maybe “Confessions of a Low E-aholic,” where I write about the awesome low-E products that the primaries are putting out and how they continue to set the bar higher. How about “Confessions of a Blog-aholic,” where I focus on my other forum, an online diary that somehow has become a pretty big destination for people who want to read more about what’s happening in our world. And don’t forget “Confessions of a M&M-aholic,” as that and Pop-Tarts have made up my diet for the last year-plus (sadly, that has ended as I had to go on a diet because I am a pretty blatant “bad food-aholic”).

The Big Addiction
But I think most people who know me know where this is going. There is one subject to which I am for some reason incredibly addicted. One subject that, for some reason, will get me going off on a tangent, and one subject alone that my brother Steve will bring up before walking away laughing as I talk myself into a froth. Ladies and gentlemen, I am an NFRC-aholic. And is this obsession with the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) not the saddest addiction ever? 

It has become so bad that my fingers are trained to type N-F-R-C to the point that when I tried to write a blog post about the National Football Conference (NFC), my fingers automatically typed NFRC. But when all is said and done, I believe my addiction really to be noble. 

When I first stumbled upon this group it truly was an accident. There was a meeting in Baltimore and my co-worker, the esteemed Cliff Monroe, was unable to attend and he asked me to go in his place. Cliff figured that the marketing guy has to have time on his hands; I mean, after all, no one really needs marketing, so why not throw the request towards me? Of course, I took the bait and ran with it. But that meeting changed me. It was probably like the first time my daughter saw a clothing rack or a display of pink furry purses. I was hooked. 

I was hooked on the process that was being discussed that could have significant effects on our industry and it seemed like no one cared or was listening. It was mayhem actually, almost like a grade-school class being led by a substitute teacher with everyone yelling and talking and no one really making any sense. From that moment on I buried myself in the issue, although not the deep technical stuff; I am still a marketing guy after all. I was into the process of why it was needed, who was behind it, what the driving forces were and so on. It became fun actually watching some of the excuses being thrown around and explanations being changed on a dime. 

In Search of a Support Group
But it was, and is, still frustrating. It’s still a program no one asked for and there’s still no proof that it is needed and will be anywhere near efficient or successful. But no matter what happens, I’ll trudge on, as last I looked there’s no support groups for 40-year-old guys who have unhealthy addictions to 501c3’s. 

Anyway, by the end of the movie, my fear of passing on the addictive gene had passed. I actually hope Natalie can latch on to an issue and dog it for the good of the people she works with or the industry she is in and if that happens that will be great. If not, I hope she gets a really high paying job or marries very rich because, if she’s anything like me, the movie shopaholic will be smalltime compared to my daughter!

Max Perilstein servers as the vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass. Mr. Perilstein's opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine. His column appears bi-montly.

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