Friday, June 19, 2015

Best Quote

An executive said recently that her final question to an interviewee is: “What is the best quote you remember?” I challenge anyone to read that and not think of a quote of their own.

Since quotes and clever sayings have been an abiding hobby of mine (I recently ran on to a daily calendar page from 1972 upon which I had written, “Fragile as November ice,” which apparently appealed to me on that day), my mind was flooded with quotes. Most of my remembered quotes are either amusing or snarky in some way, and not fit for repeating in an interview situation, so I was discarding them as soon as I remembered them. One, however, might work.

The event was the Ak-Sar-Ben rodeo, and one of the events-within-the-event was for a few of us from the Nebraska National Guard and Reserve units of all branches of the service to receive medals from the Governor, James Exon, recognizing us as Outstanding Soldiers. The irony cannot be ignored, but that isn’t the point.

At the preceding dinner, the speaker was not the Governor, but an admiral who they must have flown in from somewhere else because I can’t think of a job for an admiral in Nebraska. We braced ourselves for something sleep-worthy, and I will never forget his opening—“I feel like the movie star’s seventh husband on their wedding night. I know what’s expected of me, but I don’t know how to make it interesting.”

Make it interesting. What a concept. When writing or in any job, that isn’t a bad motto. It stuck with me for something like 40 years, and I thank that Navy officer wherever he went, whatever he did and hope he lived up to his advice. Oh, and I still have the medal and a picture of the gov and me.

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