Brother Dave said he knew a hippie who could beat me assembling partitions, beat me like that proverbial rented mule. But that won’t true. Nobody I ever saw could beat me at assembling partitions, especially a hippie.
The fact that I hadn’t made any partitions in 25 years, since my wife, Donna, and I moved to Knightdale, N.C., from Charlotte in 1971, really didn’t matter. Give me a few days, I’d be just as fast as ever.
Dave was telling me about this hippie because, in 1996, I started making partitions again, driving on weekends to Queen City Container, his box shop in Charlotte. I needed the extra money. Dave and I had decided to buy an ATV, a King Quad, to ride up at Snowbird, in the mountains of North Carolina, and an ATV was a luxury I couldn’t afford.
But it was all just a bunch of talk, on his part and mine, because I was never going to get to go head to head with this guy.
And then, one Saturday afternoon, in walked the hippie. I knew who he was right off — he had rings in his pierced ears. I had been back at it, assembling partitions, for several weekends and had regained my old form. And on this day, I was already warmed up, rolling, ready to show him who was who.
You know where this is going, don’t you. He did beat me, badly. And he didn’t even know we were racing.
When I knocked off work I stood nearby and watched him for a few minutes. I was surprised. He wasn’t beating me at my own game — he had a different, faster, way of putting partitions together. I asked him about that. Instead of copying the way other people made them, he told me, he had spent a whole day trying to figure out the best way.
He wasn’t just faster than me, he was smarter.
NOTE: For another partition assembling story, see “Motivating With Money,” posted on Dec. 1, 2017
Coming Friday: Pretty Woman