“I Guarantee My Work”

The following is an edited  re-posting of a true story I Posted on April 10, 2008 I am left with guaranteed memories because of it.

 By Trudy A. Martinez

“I am here,” a young woman announces as she taps lightly on the counter to gain my attention. Then she leans over the counter, smiles, and whispers, “You can tell everyone else to go home–the job is mine.”

“Do you have an appointment?” I ask abruptly while pretending to have not heard her last remark.

“Most definitely,” she answers smiling in anticipation to my next question. She begins to introduce herself: “My name is Margo–.” Before she finishes speaking her finger is on my clipboard, pointing to her name. “There’s my name right at the top of your list–,” she hesitates and then adds, “–where it belongs.”

I think to myself, “This young lady is certainly self-confident (a main requirement for the position of New Accounts clerk I am interviewing for). But, she appears almost too sure of herself.” I call her into the conference room, request that she take a seat, and then ask her point-blank, “Why do you think you are the best choice for the open position here at the bank?”

She smiles and quickly exclaims, “I guarantee my work!”

“You what?”

“I guarantee my work,” she repeats.

I can hardly believe my ears she says she guarantees her work. I sit in silence, not knowing what to say next. Never had I been at a loss for words before; this is usually a fault of the interviewees. I only ask her one question; but yet from the very moment she makes her presence known to me, she begins to demonstrate all the qualities I am looking for. “Margo, you stir my curiosity. What do you mean by your statement: ‘I guarantee my work’”?

“Curiosity killed the cat,” she replies. “But you need not be curious, my work is accurate; I don’t make errors. But if you find one and prove me wrong, I guarantee I will fix it.”

I hire her. But because she is so overly confident that her work is error free, I begin to scrutinize it, looking for one fatal error. A year passes; no errors surface. I become lax. I stop looking. “Perhaps it is possible for someone to do their work error free,” I think.

I feel confident can trust and rely on Margo to follow procedures without my looking over her shoulders.

Then I went on a business trip for the bank for a few days. When I return, the vault teller requests I enter the vault with her to prepare and fill an order of cash for a merchant. I did. While there in the vault, I notice there is a stack of $100 dollar bills segregated from the others. I ask, “Why are these bills here separate from the other bills?”

The vault teller replies, “Margo asked that they be kept in the vault, separate from the other bills, until you return. She says: ‘ They are counterfeit.’”

I ask, “Does she know who passed them?”

“Oh yes, a new account customer opened a time certificate with them.”

I inspect the bills. They are definitely counterfeit. But since an employee of the bank accepts them as legal tender, I fear we are now faced with an operating loss. This is a first. I had never suffered an operating loss for accepting counterfeit bills. I think to myself, “When Margo makes an error, she does it good. Why didn’t she notify the police or the F.B.I.?” Only Margo can answer my questions. She knows procedures. Ignorance is definitely not the reason. “Why didn’t she follow procedures?” This whole thing didn’t make sense.

I approach Margo and ask, “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

She knew immediately what the one word question meant.

“The manager told me to wait until you return.”

“How did the manager get involved with it to begin with?”

“He brought the customer to my desk. I thought he knew him.”

I excuse myself saying, “I have to make a few calls before 5:00 P.M., I’ll get back to you later concerning this matter.”

Immediately, I call the “Feds,” explain what happened, beg their forgiveness, and make plans to entrap this mystery man if by chance he attempts to do it again.

Margo had shared with me his statement: “ I will be back to open another account when my certificate at another bank matures. That’s a promise.”

The F.B.I. gave me instructions. I had to fill Margo in. But because of the frantic hassle and the circumstances, precious time slips away and so did Margo–she left the bank for the day. “Oh well,” I tell myself, “Tomorrow is another day.”

The next morning disaster hit. A family emergency occurs delaying my arrival at the bank.

When I did arrive, Margo met me at the door. “It’s fixed,” she exclaims!

“What’s fixed?” I inquire.

“My error,” she stammers with excitement, “I told you: ‘I guarantee my work.’”

What had she done? My mind cannot conceive how she can correct such an error.

“Margo,” I say in a calm reassuring voice, “Face it, your error is not fixable. It cannot be erased as if it is chalk on a chalkboard.”

“But it is,” she replies, “In just that way too–like chalk on a chalkboard.” “You see,” she continues, “The man who gave me the counterfeit came back.”

He said: “I have an emergency. I need my money back.”

“So, I give him–I give him just what he asks for. I give him his money back — his counterfeit bills.”

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Don’s Show in Las Vegas

Story-line by Trudy A. Martinez

The Zappos.com Las Vegas Marathon (2007)clip_image002

Here is what Don had to say about the Marathon race:

Copy of DSC07990 [A before the race photo]Photographer:  Grace Blanton

I have to admit – it feels good to have dropped 30 pounds these last six months by running and better diet.  Less weight – no white beard – people don’t think I’m 60+ anymore [I am only 46].  It had been 10 years since I last ran an organized race – which was [the] LA Marathon back in Mar 1997 [26.2 miles] . . . I only took up jogging again last May to lose weight.” Vegas Marathon Story“My Time for [the] 13.1 mile . . . [race] . . . in low 30 degree temps [was]: 1 hour 56 min 33 sec . . . my time is on page 13 of 83.  Not bad for old man.  My goal was to break 2 hours . . . 9 mile a minute pace . . . ended up with 8.54 pace. . . Now – the goal is to NOT to gain 30 pounds again!  Hard to do when you are naturally lazy like me!clip_image001” Don Blanton

5. And I'm NOT too old after all. They chased me to the end. [After the race photo]photographer: Charity Blanton

 The Zappos.com Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

There are pictures at the Marathon web site.However, GramaTrudy personally likes the family style photos; they tell a more interesting story. You know how they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  And what is there to deny when the story is told in living color! 

 Check these photos out (and the story-line)! 1. I came by so fast the picture blurred

I came by the photographer, Charity Blanton, so-so fast  the picture got blurred. 2. Yes, that's my tounge hanging out. I am panting like a dog Yes, that is my tongue hanging out (click on photo to enlarge and get a better view).  I am panting like a dog.

 photographer:  Charity Blanton3. I finally passed them I finally passed them.  It took some doing.4. Just so I can say, it's not often I have women chasing after meJust so I could say, “It is not often I have  women chasing after me!” 5. And I'm NOT too old after all. They chased me to the end.

And I am not too old after all.  Those women chased me to the end.

photographer:   Charity BlantonNevertheless, truth be told, there was this one . . .clip_image002[6] who just would not give in . . .clip_image002[8] So like a gentleman, I let the lady go first. And as you can see . . . She’s a foot ahead of me when she hits the line!

[Note:  The photo story line was told by Don’s mother-in-law aka: Grama Trudy.  Since she was not able to attend the race herself, she drew her own conclusions from the photos that were presented to her for viewing – Trudy A. Martinez]

A Concept of Truth: The Truth–Nothing But theTruth

By Trudy A. Martinez

“Put your right hand on The Holy Bible,” the bailiff says. Then he continues, “Repeat after me: I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” In this scenario if a factual statement of things is not made and instead, an untruth (a lie) is communicated, the untruth is referred to as perjury, a voluntary violation of an oath to tell the truth; therefore, it is punishable by the law.

A friend asks, “How do you like my new dress?” She smiles and twirls around, allowing the dress to billow out. Her eyes are beaming with excitement, anticipating an affirmative answer. Before I am able to reply, she adds, “Tell the truth.”

My mind regurgitates:” . . . the truth . . . nothing but the truth.” Then I blurt out, “I don’t like it–the print is too bold–the color doesn’t flatter you skin.”

“How could you! How could you–What did I ever do to you?” She stammers as tears fill her eyes.

“You said to tell the truth. Is it my fault sometimes the truth hurts?” I ask, defending my answer. Under the circumstances, it is evident to me the truth is not what she wants, at least not in the sense I imagine. Instead, the truth is something that is acceptable as true to her.

The concept of truth is difficult to explain and to teach children. Everything around us seems to lie. As a result, our actions speak louder than words.

For instance, when my daughter attempts to teach Chandra, my granddaughter, about traffic signals (they are in the car), every time they come to a light my daughter explains and then reacts. “The red light means stop,” she says to Chandra as her foot presses on the brake to stop the vehicle. “The green light means go,” she says as she removes her foot from the brake and places it on the gas pedal and then presses downward to accelerate the vehicle. Then my daughter explains the yellow light. “The yellow light means slow down – get ready to stop.” she says.

“That’s not true, mommy!” Chandra blurts out quickly. Then she continues, “The yellow light means hurry and go fast!” She looks up at her mommy with her big brown eyes fixed in a stare, confronting her. “You step on the gas when you see the yellow light.” Then she says as she continues to justify herself, “Remember when we are walking across the cross walk, mommy?”

“Yes.”

“The green light tells us to go. We went-we start walking.” She smiles and then continues. “Before we get across–the yellow light comes on.” Chandra continues, as a smile forms on her Mommy’s face. You said, “Hurry up–we have to go fast and get to the other side before the red light comes on,” she stammers. “So the truth is, Mommy,” she says as her eyes beam with delight, “the yellow light means hurry up and go fast!”

In an attempt to prepare my two oldest daughters for the world, I tell them to always tell the truth–the whole truth–no matter what; they are warned that if they do not tell the truth–the whole truth, they will be punished.

My youngest daughter is four. Her sisters are eleven and nine. The four-year old is very impressionable and wants to be just like her sisters. She follows them around everywhere. Then one day, she came running into the house, crying: “I got a big ow-w-ie!”

“Oh honey,” I say, “let me kiss it and make it feel better.”

“No,” she says. “I need a big bandage.”

“I’ll get you one.”

“No,” she replies. “I-I–do it.”

“Are you sure you can reach them?”

“Yes,” she answers. “I’m a big girl.”

“Okay, go ahead–if you have any trouble, call me–okay?”

“Okay,” she stammers as she stumbles out of the room, limping and holding her knee.

A short time passes. I hear her coming down the hall. I am in the kitchen, peeling potatoes for dinner. I didn’t bother to turn around. I just ask, “Did you manage okay by yourself?”

She replies, “Yes, Mommy,” as she hurries past me toward the living room where her sisters are sitting on the living room floor playing a game of Monopoly with a couple of boys from the neighborhood.

All of a sudden, screams fill the air.

“Mom!” exclaims one.

“How could you–you little brat!” Says another.

Laughter begins. The laughter nearly drowns out the screaming.

“What is going on in there?” I think as I drop what I am doing and make my way to the living room to find out. The laughter gets louder. The two girls are still screaming.

“Mom!”

When I enter the room, the little one is standing with her back to me. Her hands are over her ears; her tiny fingers are spread apart, covering as much of her head as possible. The boys are rolling on the floor, laughing as hard as they can. “What is going on here?” I ask.

“Look at her–just look at her,” the two oldest girls yell in unison.

“I-I–got a big bandage.” The youngest replies softly.

I look. There on her knee, tied in back, is a sanitary napkin, a Kotex to be exact. “Where did she get the idea that this is a big bandage?” I ask.

The two older girls look at each other. Then blurt out, “It was easier to tell her it is a big bandage-then–to explain the truth.”

“Then,” I say, “You got your just reward–leave her alone–she has a big owwie!”

I took the little one’s hand and we left the room as the laughter echoes behind us.

I add a remedy, saying, “The way to avoid embarrassment or disappointment in the future is to tell the truth–the whole truth!”

Granny

By Trudy A. Martinez
 

Normally in the morning when my grandmother awakes, my aunt will attend to her needs, but this summer, I am to be her little helper. When I agreed to be her little helper, I had no idea that she would be my alarm clock. Promptly at 5:00 A.M., she goes off: “TRU-U-U DY.” she calls out, pronouncing each syllable of my name separately as if to transform it from one name into two. The sound of the vowel is intense, imitating the doleful howl of a wolf.

“TRU-U-U DY,” she repeats. As the stress of the syllables gain intensity, the tone of her voice rises, producing an irritating ring in my ear. Then just as abruptly, her voice drops to a sweet mellow tone that sounds almost like a whisper. “Are you up, Buttercup?” She asks. The expression of endearment (Buttercup) softens the rude harshness of my awakening and soothes my senses.

“I am now.” I quickly reply, preventing her from repeating the episode. “What on earth can she want at this hour of the morning?” I think as my brain slowly came out of its dream-like state. “Perhaps, she misplaced her cane.” I reason as I hop out of bed. “Granny needs her cane,” I assure myself, “–to find her way to the bathroom.” I continue to justify my thinking as I make my way down the hall to her room, “The cane is like another leg to Granny, strong and sturdy; it assists her old weary bones by holding up her aggregated frame.” As I approach the doorway, her words greet me.

“Buttercup,” she says sweetly as I enter the room,” I want you to give me my shot this morning.”

“You want me to do what?” I said, questioning the words tingling in my ears; they send chills down my spine, feeding the surface of my skin with blossoming goose bumps.

“I want you to give me my insulin shot,” she repeats.

“Aunt Peg said she will give you your shot before she leaves.” I shudder to think I will need to do it. “I am only nine years old.” I add, trying to convince her I wasn’t worthy of such an honor. “Besides,” I continue “I don’t know how,” thinking the matter is now settled and my final reply will put an end to such an outrageous idea.

“I’ll teach you,” she quickly replies in a reassuring tone. “You may be only nine,” she says, smiling. “But you look and act much older.” As she continues to butter me up, she reaches for my hand, grasping it and squeezing it gently as she speaks. “I am confident you can do it,” she says. “Say you will,” She pleads. “Say you will.” Granny’s eyes are small and gray; they appear like passage ways that led into the inner depth of her being, pleading with me long after her words cease.

“Okay,” I stammer out slowly, hesitating and then adding, “But, –I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t. Now go–get the insulin out of the ice box.”

“You mean the refrigerator, Granny,” I say laughingly, correcting her and bringing her back into the present as I leave the room.

When I return (moments later), I find Granny sitting on the edge of the bed with her feet dangling. In my absence, she seems to have been transformed into a different person. Her eyes are no longer pale gray. Instead, they appear dark and sinister. The gentleness disappeared; now they are huge, monstrous eyes, piercing the depth of my soul. I feel like Little Red Riding Hood, wanting to scream out, “Granny, what big eyes you have!” while anticipating her answer: “Better to see you with my dear.” My mind races. Then I notice Granny’s glasses are no longer sitting on the night stand; they are sitting on the bridge of her nose. I giggle inwardly and smile. The glass is thick, thick as the glass of a coke bottle; they magnify; they intensify her every glance. Occasionally a slight tint of a rainbow can be seen when she moves her head slightly.

“What’s the matter with you Buttercup?” her sweet voice hums.

“Oh, nothing,” I reply, smiling sheepishly.

“Get the syringe out the bottom drawer,” she orders. I obey. She gives me step-by-step directions on how to fill the syringe with the insulin, interjecting how much she hates for my Aunt Peg to do it. She says, “Your Aunt Peg jabs the needle in my leg as if she was attacking a wild animal.”

I laugh as I gently prick her skin, push slowly inward, and release the medication from the syringe as she instructs.

“Ah-h-h,” she exclaims, “–that didn’t hurt at all! You did well.” Then she looks at me questionably and asks, “Why were you laughing?”

“Granny,” I said bravely, “When I came back to the room just now–”

“Yes,” she says, coaxing me on when I hesitate.

“I–I imagined you were–.” I hesitated again, and then blurt out, “The Big Bad Wolf.”

Granny roars out laughing, waking Aunt Peg who instantly appears at the doorway like a hunter seeking his prey. When Granny finally gets a grip on herself, she says, “Buttercup, you just made my day.” The she turns to look over at Aunt Peg and says, “You’ve been replaced–I’ve already been shot today.