Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012


by Lyle R. Hill

I answered it before it could finish its third ring, offered up my usual salutation and waited for the person on the other end of the line to make themselves known.

“Hello Lyle, it’s Deb Levy and I wonder if you have a moment or two for me.”

In the North American universe of glass, few people are better known or as well respected as Ms. Levy. And rightfully so.

“Seriously Deb? Of course I have time for you and, to be quite honest, I was kinda expecting a call from you right about now,” I replied.

“Hmm, and exactly why would you have been expecting me to call at this time”?

Bright women this Levy lady. Always asking the pertinent question. Always gathering information and sorting through it with that steel trap mind of hers.

“Well Deb, this month marks my 20th anniversary of writing columns of one sort or another for good old USGlass magazine so I more or less thought you might be calling to congratulate me or something along those lines.”

“That’s quite interesting, Lyle, because I have been going over the records of the past 20 years as they relate to your efforts and indeed, it is the reason for my call.”

I knew it! She doesn’t miss a thing. Probably wants to know how I want my gold watch engraved. A steel trap I tell you.

“Seriously? “How nice of you, Deb.”

“Yes, Lyle, and in fact, I even had some statistical analysis done on your 20 years of work and the results were quite amazing, although not totally surprising.”

Wow. Statistical analysis … on my work. Is she good or what? I wonder if she would be offended if I just took the money instead of the gold watch. You know, times are still pretty tough.

“Seriously Deb, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. You know, for you and your staff to pull together and analyze my work. I guess all I can say is that I am honored.”

“Lyle, would you like me to share the results with you?”

This is so her. Caring enough to not only gather but then to share vital and meaningful information with her team members. You know, maybe I shouldn’t take a chance on upsetting her. I’ll just take the gold watch and be done with it.

“Yes, Deb. I would love to know the results of your efforts and I would also like to hear what conclusions you have drawn from the analysis.”

“Well, Lyle. I actually brought in a team of journalism experts and had them perform a thorough review of all of your work using key word and phrase indicators as well as what is known as a content evaluation matrix. Using these various methodologies they were able to determine your Journalism Utilization Numerical Kinetic quotient.”

Holy smoke. Forget about the gold … I think we might be talking platinum here!

“Deb, this is all quite amazing. I’m speechless. What were the final results?”

“I’m so glad you asked, Lyle. The panel of experts determined that it was best to divide your work into four categories based on a given article’s primary content. You scored highest, 51 percent actually, in the category labeled as ‘Silly With No Obvious Value’ while your lowest score, 6 percent, was achieved in the ‘Informative and Useful Content’ category. You also got an 11 percent in the ‘Some Might Find It Amusing’ category and a 32 percent in the ‘We Have No Idea What He Is Trying To Say’ category. Your Journalism Utilization Numerical Kinetic quotient, or as we in the trade say, JUNK score, was .0037. This is the lowest score ever produced for a person who is allowed to write for a regularly published periodical of any kind.”

Maybe I got a little ahead of myself. There’s nothing wrong with a nice silver watch.

“Seriously Deb? The lowest score ever?”

“Well Lyle, let’s look at some of your recent contributions. Last month was that Edgar Allan Poe parody thing which I read five times and still never quite understood. The month before that it was a story about some guy losing his shoes on a plane trip into Chicago and your last three weekly blogs have been dominated by an ongoing saga involving a lost Dora the Explorer backpack.

“You see Lyle, it’s been a tough few years now for most people but things are starting to turn around and there is a fair amount of optimism in the air. New product developments and the overall increases in construction spending are positive signs for all of us. So there are good things to write about and it’s time that you took your assignments seriously.

“OK Deb. I’ll try. Anything else you want to mention to me?”

“There is one more thing, Lyle.”

Sure she’s been rough on me - that’s her job. But by golly, I just know the watch is on its way. And even if it’s just a silver one, that’s OK. I mean, have you seen what silver is going for these days?

“During our review, we noted that you have not completed an assignment on time in over three years. You’re always late. We sent you a calendar Lyle, but I‘m wondering if you own a watch?”

“You know Deb, now that you mention it, I don’t own a watch.”

“Then buy yourself one, Lyle. And make it a good one.”


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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