Synergy, Davy, and Me
I didn’t have a brother, but I had a ‘Davy.’ He was my cousin; we were five years old. To make reading this story educational, I will give you a workable explanation of the management term, Synergy. ‘… The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.’
Let’s see now if synergy was in effect with Davy and me … shall we? Davy was a typical little boy, and I gave the appearance of a normally developing adolescent male child. Therefore, if Davy was a handful and I was a handful – together we were impossible. I cannot recall which one of us asserted that the ability to fly like Superman was merely a matter of obtaining bath towels for capes, secured by clothespins. We sought a towering pinnacle to facilitate our take-off. Graciously, I allowed Davy to jump off the garage roof first. Even back then, I was always putting others ahead of myself. Besides, someone had to stay on the ground to run the Radar and Snack Bar. I felt such admiration, with just a twinge of envy, seeing Davy soar off the roof, until he hit the ground like a sack of soiled diapers. We planned to try again as soon as his body cast came off. We reviewed the video tapes and determined which parts of the plan needed some tweaking. OSHA would not send out a consultant to audit our processes but one of the inspectors did return our call.
“You two boys better behave yourselves and restrict your play to environmentally safe toys recommended for children in your age group, or I’m telling on you!” While taking his recommendation under advisement, we busied ourselves by urinating into my dad’s empty beer bottles in the kitchen. We would recap them, then returning the bottles to the fridge in hopes someone would chug down one of our craft brewskies. During the production and bottling phase, Davy announced that based on lessons learned from his test flight, the pilot should have a parachute. Clearly, the money we paid for the consultant, formerly from the FAA, had proven beneficial. We appropriated one of the bed sheets off his grandma’s clothesline., Davy moved away, before the next test. Our family also left the inner-city to settle in an all-white-mid-western-suburb. I would be leaving as the undefeated, undisputed ‘Peeing for Distance Champion of the World.’ It was a hollow victory, since it was my only victory among all the events of our decathlon. There was also: Spitting-for-Distance; Throwing-the-Cat-for-Distance, which had to be canceled because after the first toss we couldn’t find the cat anymore; Throwing-Rocks-at-Passing-Cars, was more about timing until the guy would get out of his car, then it became a sprinting competition. In the sub-categories there was: Belching-on-Demand; Whistling-the-Loudest, and Making-Fart Noises -With-Your-Hand-Under-Your-Armpit event. We were going to add, Throwing-My-Sister-for-Distance, but she got upset and withdrew from the competition early, blubbering something about having to find her cat. We were getting out of the neighborhood just in time. The pressure to join a gang was intense. The two major gangs were the ‘Bloods’ and the ‘Crips.’ While the Bloods had a great volleyball team, the Crips had better benefits. I wasn’t a member as you had to be six (five and a half with parents’ consent). The only gang that would have me was the ‘Rugrats.’ I did have one run-in while I was gang-banging. I was held-up at knifepoint in a vacant lot for my milk money. Even at the time, I didn’t believe my assailant was going to stab me. However, you never know what a seven-year-old, hopped-up on Kool-Aid crystals would do for that kind of money. A quarter back then would be equivalent to at least a thousand dollars now! Life in the suburbs was very boring. This was a rural community, cows outnumbered people. In my sub-division, there were many manicured lawns and not much else. Without Davy, I had to work twice as hard to get into half as much trouble – a good example of the lack of synergy. Whether you are building a space shuttle or just peeing in beer bottles, you can do more with less if you have synergy.
Signed: Grizzly ‘always doing his best to do less’ Gus