Volume 47, Issue 4 - April 2012


The Guy on the Porch
by Lyle R. Hill


He’s sneaky … he’s conniving … and most would call him dangerous. He is Johnny “The Mooch” Rago and the sight of him standing on my front porch peering into my window sent a shiver up my spine. A normal person would have knocked on the door or perhaps rung the doorbell, but then again, “The Mooch” is anything but normal. He simply stood there, a menacing hulk of a human being, waiting to be seen. Now maybe I should have just pretended not to have seen him and let him stand out there in the cold until he decided to either leave or ring the bell. But I have known him far too long. Since our early days together growing up together on the west side of Chicago. He wasn’t going away, not him. He’s as relentless as he is dangerous. I opened the door.

“Mooch, how long have you been out there?” I asked, trying to sound like I cared.

“I don’t know. Maybe an hour,” he answered.

“And you were just going to stand out there and neither ring the bell nor knock on the door hoping that someone would see
you and invite you in?”

“You know, Hill, it was good for me to stand on the porch, all alone, in the dark. It helped me think. Really cleared my mind. You should maybe try it sometime.”

“Personally, Mooch, I think you’re a little crazy, but here’s the deal. I’m going to make you a cup of coffee so you can warm up and then I want you tell me what you want and why you’re here. Then I think you should leave … by way of the back door.”

“Listen, Hill, after I tell you what I have come up with, you will probably want me to move in with you permanently because this could be it.”

“This could be what, Mooch?”

“The big one, Hill. That one great idea that lurks inside the mind of every great man. The one that is going to bring fame and fortune to us. Well, maybe not fame, but fortune for sure. I’m talking big money here.”

“Is whatever you have come up with legal, Mooch? Because as we both know, you have a long history of ideas that were not so legal and although I would think that by now you would have come to recognize the errors of your ways, I’m not so sure.”

“Hill, this thing is totally legit and you’re gonna love it.”

“Okay, let’s get this over with, Mooch. Let me have it.”

“Bobbleheads, Hill.”

“Bobbleheads, Mooch? What about bobbleheads?”

“Hill, where have you been? Don’t you watch TV? Bobbleheads are everywhere. Advertisers use them like crazy. The biggest fan attraction at a professional sporting event these days is the game where they give free bobbleheads of a player away to the first so many people that show up for a given game. People sell them, trade them, haggle over them … they are ridiculously popular and in great demand. It’s time to cash in.”

“Bobbleheads, Mooch. Your idea is bobbleheads? First it was bean bag dolls and now bobbleheads?”

“Not just any bobbleheads, Hill. Our own exclusive line of those silly little things and I even have a name for our line … it will be called the BAGMEN line.”

“I’m a little afraid to ask, but, as we both know, Mooch, I have no choice so go ahead. Tell me what BAGMEN stands for.”

“Okay, but only because you asked, Hill. It stands for Bobbleheads of Architectural Glass and Metal Executives and other near-do-wells.”

“And now I suppose you will give me some examples of exactly what these bobblehead things are going to look like, Mooch.”

“I am so glad you asked, Hill. First, we will release a bobblehead known as ‘Low Bid Larry’ and his bobblehead will only go up and down as if he is always saying yes, no matter how bad a deal is being offered to him. Next will come ‘Billy the Banker’ and his head will only, but always, shake left and right as if he is always saying NO. Then we’ll have ‘Artie the Arrogant Executive’ whose head won’t bobble at all, but will instead simply be locked in place, unable to say yes or no to anything, thus avoiding the chance of ever being wrong.”

“I think I see where you’re going with this, Mooch, although I am having my doubts about this actually being as great an idea as you are making it out to be.”

“Hill, we’re dealing with egos here and, let me tell you, there are some big ones to deal with, and I am convinced that in no time at all, every guy or gal who thinks he is an important clog in the architectural glass and metal industry will want his very own bobblehead that will be designed to look as close as possible to the way he thinks he looks.”

“I think you meant to use the word cog instead of clog just then, Mooch.”

“No, I said what I meant. So would you like a few more examples, Hill?”

“Sure. I’m in this deep already so why stop now?”

“Great, Hill. Because next comes ‘Biff the Business Agent.’ He will have a sly grin on his face and a coin slot in his back. Around his neck will be a little sign that says ‘I don’t do nothin’ for nothin’ so put a quarter in my back and I’ll bobble my head off for the next eight hours’ and then, after you put the quarter in, he comes to life and starts bobbling.”

“For eight hours?”

“Are you kidding me, Hill? Of course not. If you’re lucky you get maybe six hours or so out of him not including breaks, lunch and clean-up time. Of course, let’s not confuse him with the other coin-operated bobblehead, ‘Lance the Lawyer,’ who is even worse. You put a quarter in him and he bobbles for two hours and then mails you a bill for 12 hours.”

“Okay, enough of this, Mooch. I’ve got stuff to do.”

“I’ll leave in a minute, Hill, but I got a couple more I need to tell you about. You see, there’s ‘Manny the Metal Manufacturer,’ who has shoes of differing colors and one of his arms missing, and of course who wouldn’t want to order a ‘Sam the Sales Rep’ bobblehead who arrives six weeks late and …”

“Stop, Mooch. I can’t take anymore.”

“Gee, Hill, I’m just getting started. I got a couple dozen more of these to tell you about.”

“Tell you what, Mooch. I’m going to go now so you sit here and drink your coffee by yourself and, when you’re done, you can just leave. By the back door, of course.”

“But what about you, Hill, where are you going?”

“It’s my turn, Mooch.”

“Your turn to what?”

“To go stand on the porch.”

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. Hill has more than 40 years experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at lhill@glass.com. You can read his blog on Wednesdays at lyleblog.usglassmag.com.

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