What a week.
As I alluded to earlier, about a week ago on the eve of the trip to Jackson that I had planned, I was called to an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of a certain do-gooder organization non-profit agency. The long and the short of it is that as of 8:30 os so Thursday week, I am now the President of the Board. Certain other changes were in the works which required my presence here so I cancelled my trip.
The seriousness of the situation really didn't fully hit me until the ISP we use called me at 8 AM the next morning requesting permission to "do a lockout" on a certain computer. After regaining my composure, I gave the authorization. I guess the coffee hadn't kicked in yet.
" You are the President of the Board, right?" said the voice in my ear.
" Yes. I am the President. You may proceed."
It was my Alexander Haig moment. Except, contrary to Haig's sweaty, eye rolling remarks to the camera after Ronald Reagan got shot, I was in charge.
A good part of Friday and Friday evening was spent trying to assist other Board members in getting our arms around the situation by cell phone and e-mail.
As if that were not sufficient high drama for one weekend, little did I know that while I helping to run a non-profit, my brother John was in the Emergency Room at St. Bernard's in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Friday afternoon, he felt pain in his stomach followed by intense nausea. When the pain grew worse, he went to the ER where he was admitted. I got the call early that Saturday morning from Bob's wife Shirley. Shirley and the boys had come down from Conway to be with Clarke while Amy went to Jonesboro.
While the doctors worked him up to decide whether he had gall bladder disease or pancreatitis, I sent a million text messages out: His golf buddy Petey who attempts to teach me the game, his best friend Rollo who is the tallest cardiologist in captivity, Marge and Hugh in Jackson, Don in Chapel Hill, anybody I could think of. Remembered that Hugh's brother is a doc in Jonesboro. Told him to get Barry's ass in there.
The first response was from Rollo: "Huh?" I found it to be particularly apt.
Eventually, he got better. They decided he had pancreatitis of an unknown origin. He came home Sunday night looking "white as a sheep" as one of my old Legal Services clients once said to me.
The fact that he didn't have or surgery or, well, die allowed me to return to crisis # 1. I met with the staff last Tuesday to reassure them that their jobs were not in jeopardy. I was pleased to see that they weren't bearing pitchforks and torches.
I then prepared for my first Board meeting as President on Thursday. Before, that event, there were more messages and e-mails from other members of the Board. I can explain the United States Bankruptcy Code to you but I know next to nothing about Robert's Rules of Order. And I proceeded to display that ignorance for all to see. But we got through it. And nobody resigned or called for my impeachment. But it's early yet.
And did I mention I have a day job? The one that pays me money?
Looking back on all of those events of the past week, I struck by one main thought: How did we ever multi-task and/or manage events involving large numbers of people prior to the advent of digital technology? As hard as last week was, I cannot imagine getting as much done if I had to talk on the phone to relay basic information. With the push of a button 25 people get the message.
Shirley is something of a Luddite. And yet even she sees the value of having a cell phone handy nowadays. Indeed, she talked to me three times today. It is a personal best.
The family is coming over for ribs Sunday night. Everybody will bring something. PM and Karen will bring the new pups over which the little boys will like. It will be fun.
John says he is coming although he is not up to ribs just yet. He started eating solid food last Friday. The way he has it figured, this qualifies him to eat the chicken fried steak he swears he is going to eat tonight. I know the boy is hungry but this strikes me as stupid.
Better keep the cell phone handy just in case we need to get the word out again. At least if he goes down this time he will be in Pulaski County.