Grasshopper Soup: The Nutty Professor | SierraSun.com
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Grasshopper Soup: The Nutty Professor

Bob Sweigert
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; Once upon a time there was a small business owner who was extremely wise, at least in his own estimation. He was immensely proud, and rightfully so. He had years of experience working for other people, and learned all he needed to know about running a business, taking care of employees and conducting himself like a true gentleman.

He had seen it all. He was personally committed to becoming the kind of boss who was fair and honest to his employees. He was going to do things the right way, and treat his employees with respect and dignity, not like the big shots he had worked for in the past.

He had a partner who worked with him frequently, and even ran the business for him sometimes so he could take time off to enjoy life.

His partnerand#8217;s first impression of him was that he was a well-intentioned hot shot with a chip on his shoulder the size of a ski boot. But, he gave him the benefit of the doubt, being somewhat intrigued and amused, and came to think of him as The Nutty Professor.

The professor was very long winded. He could talk and talk and talk in relentless detail about business ethics and sports, but his most favorite topic was human stupidity. In spite of his good intentions, he could be overbearing and negative, and loved to repeat himself.

Trying to get a word in edgewise with him was tricky, like trying to hand feed a rattlesnake. If you ever actually got a chance to offer an opposing perspective, however positive, you could be met with silent scorn.

The Nutty Professorand#8217;s business required frequent daily communication with people in vehicles all day via cell phone. In spite of his superior intelligence, the Nutty Professor seemed oblivious to the science of physics as it pertains to sound waves and satellite signals. As is true with two-way radios, in a two-way phone call it is possible for one person to hear just fine while the other hears nothing at all, or static.

But the major obstacle to communication was the landscape. There were mountains and deep river valleys everywhere. Holes where no cell phone signal could survive. Miles upon endless miles with no bars on your cell phone. Sound waves trying to penetrate solid granite and go through sunspots without interference. A golden silence.

If he was on the cell phone with you and heard you say, and#8220;What?and#8221; he would get mad as hell and call you names, as if sunspots were all your fault. But he was such a talker on the phone, half the time he couldnand#8217;t be heard it didnand#8217;t matter anyway.

As if to prove the static and bad connection on your end of the call did not exist, he liked to get angry and loud. He would slowly scream every syllable of his lengthy message, making himself even more difficult to understand.

His partner found the situation quite humorous, but it got a little old after a few years. He wanted everybody to enjoy their job, so he got to thinking a little bit about how he could be even more accommodating. Since the Nutty Professor hated to repeat himself so much, his partner decided to make sure he never had to. So, from then on, whenever he couldnand#8217;t understand a word the professor was saying, he just shouted back, and#8220;OK!and#8221;

During one badly scrambled conversation the professorand#8217;s partner said, and#8220;10-9, youand#8217;re breaking up. Are you eating something? Whatand#8217;s that noise? Is that the TV in the background? 10-9, 10-9?and#8221; (10-9 is the official code for and#8216;repeatand#8217;).

Much later, when the channel was clear, the Nutty Professor answered a call from his partner with all the dignity and respect he could muster and said, and#8220;You are such a moron!and#8221;

The Nutty Professor had become the very thing he despised.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 28 years.


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