Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Inequality of Men

I would wager that the title of today's little contribution to Internet litter will prompt at least one or two who read it to presume that today I am dipping my toe into politics or some other subject that I normally refrain discussing. Sorry to disappoint. 'Tis nothing of the sort. It actually refers to the inequality of men on the micro-level, drawing a distinction between one man who was a man of valor and another, the personification of a Ken Doll save for his ability to speak.

According to the Thursday edition of the Star-Ledger Lt. Ryan Iannelli, a United States Marine from Gloucester County, became the 139th service member from New Jersey to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. Lt. Iannelli died Wednesday the 28th of September. According to the Department of Defense:

The 27-year-old pilot was killed in a helicopter crash in the troubled Helmand Province in Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, Marine Air Group 29, 2nd Marine Air Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, and was involved in combat operations at the time of his death.

In a piece on on Saturday, Lt. Iannelli was remembered by the Principal of his high school (who was one of his teachers and his assistant baseball coach when Lt. Iannelli attended Kingsway Regional):

"He was one of the nicest, most genuine human beings I ever met," said Kingsway Principal Craig Stephenson. "Always in these situations, people go out of their way to say the right thing, but the thing about Ryan was that he was a gem of a human being. . . . I spoke with several teachers today who knew him. They all said they would want their sons to grow up to be the kind of person that Ryan was."

Among the principles that guided Lt. Iannelli's life was one that came from an apparently unidentified source, "Courage is endurance for one more moment." Irrespective of the source, not a bad mantra to follow. Unless of course you are Keith Zakheim. In that case, adherence to it is - sadly - impossible.

Zakheim is (cue the "irony" music here) the President of Beckerman Public Relations in Hackensack, New Jersey. And by all accounts, he is quite excellent at his job. Apparently last Tuesday morning he arrived at the office - having stayed up late watching Monday Night Football - to discover that there was no milk in the kitchen, which he needed (or wanted) for his coffee. Beckerman PR appears to be awash in employees who use communal resources - such as milk - without replacing them. On Tuesday morning, their President took a rather interesting, unmistakably direct approach to addressing their largesse.

Eschewing the advice his parents had given him about what one's reaction should be to spilt milk, he fired off an e-mail to everyone chronicling his anger at this behavior and - my favorite part - threatening immediate termination for the next employee who committed the sin of using the last of the milk without replacing it.

(Two things here - in the form of true confession. First, I am a lawyer. I work at a law firm, not a corporation. I know not whether the CEO or the CFO outranks the President or vice versa. But, if the CEO or CFO is actually the dude atop the food chain at Beckerman PR, then I hope it is one of them who has been violating the Cow Code. Second, as anyone who has ever stopped by this space knows, I know diddley about making friends and influencing people so public relations is most certainly not my forte. But it seems to me that when steam has to be blown, should it not be blown verbally as opposed to in writing....thus limiting the likelihood of one of the people who received your e-mail sharing it with the media? I would thank that is the sort of thing taught in Public Relations 101. Just sayin'.)

Considering Zakheim's milk meltdown made Wednesday's New York Post, which excerpted his e-mail, methinks that he would have been better off counting backwards from ten before hitting "SEND". Had he done so, those of us - such as me - who possess limited math skills would have forever been deprived of learning that three drops of skim milk is, "an amount that would maybe fill the tummy of a prematurely born mouse."

How anyone knows that I know not. But in the event that you ever are in Greenwich Village on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night and find yourself participating in a trivia contest overseen by The Omnipotent Q
and Q tries to sneak that one by you, you will be well-armed. Other than that scenario - or the perceptibly less likely one that you will be placed in a situation where the life of a prematurely born mouse depends wholly on your knowledge of just how many drops of skim milk to feed it - I am at a loss to envision just how or when you would use that particular scrap of intel. Perhaps it is a question included on the employment application at Beckerman Public Relations? Probably not.

How many of us would yearn for a day in which the most monumental of our problems is the lack of skim milk for our morning coffee. Not for nothing but I presume that in Lt. Iannelli's squadron, he and his fellow Marines did not waste a lot of time dickering over such nonsense.

A lesson learned on the battlefield with practical application in the boardroom. Here's to hoping that over morning coffee on Monday in a certain company in Hackensack, it is included in the lesson plan.


1 comment:

The Omnipotent Q said...

I'm always on the lookout for Trivia, Adam.

Thanks for the shout-out...