Short

Let’s talk about “short” today.  I will not presume to give you the meaning of short.  In life, many of the best things are short.  In fact, we aspire to short some times.  For example, we almost all like:
  • Short stories
  •  Short sermons
  • Short courses
  •  Short speeches
  • Short equations
  • Short explanations
  • Short directions
  • Short naps
  • Short doctors and dentist visits
  • Short lectures
  • Short trips
  • Short sales
  • Short commutes
  • Short list of things to do
  •  Quickies
I decided to write a poem for this blog on the subject:  Here is a poem dealing with things that could fit the above list:
SHORT:  By John Persico Jr. 
Yes, sorry for the humor, but that is the poem.  I am not sure if it will qualify for the world’s shortest poem, but I would bet it is in the running.  
A long time ago, as opposed to a short time ago, I received a phone call from a potential client.  He asked me if I could do a five day course on quality improvement in one day.  I could not believe the stupidity and arrogance of the man.  To think that I would be able to, much less even want to cut all of our vital extremely important information down into one day.  This was the height of stupidity and arrogance.  I turned him down, I hope politely.  Slightly later in the day, I was talking to Jim York who was our sales manager.  I was regaling him with the story of the above client’s arrogance, naiveté and ignorance.   Jim asked who it was and would I mind if he called him.  I said of course not and give him the client’s name.  A few days later I saw Jim again and he told me he was going to do the one day class for the client. I smirked and thought to myself “well, better you fall on your face, then me.”  When I next ran into Jim, I asked him how the class went.  He said very matter of factly:  “It went very well. The client would like us to do more of these short classes for them.”  I was completely chagrined because of course I was hoping Jim would have fallen flat on his face.  Short beat long at the track. 
Years later I was at a Demontreville retreat in Lake Elmo.  I attend these 3 day retreats every year and they are a shortened version of the 30 day silent retreat fast advocated and made part of the Jesuit regime by its founder Ignatius Loyola.  I was sitting listening to a sermon briefly describing the purpose of the retreat and what we could hope to get out of it.  This was my fifteenth or sixteenth retreat and I already knew the answer to both of these questions.  However all of a sudden it struck me.  I had been attending these wonderful retreats for over 15 years and they were “shortened” versions of the original 30 day retreat.  My head filled with memories of my arrogantly telling Jim York how we could never condense our material into a short one day class and even if we did, it would be worthless.  I have since wondered if I could do a 3 hour Jesuit retreat or even a 3 minute retreat.  I suppose anything is possible if you have the desire and imagination. 
 
My moral today is that we should never laugh at anything even if you are sure we understand it.  Perhaps short is better than long for many things.  Some of the greatest leaders in history were short people and many actors wear elevator shoes to look taller. Maybe we should try to make things shorter rather than bigger. Do we really need bigger cars, bigger homes, bigger motorcycles, and bigger portions?  Maybe we need to makes things short and simple.  
What are your favorite short things?  Do you have a list of short things that you enjoy? Are you sold on bigger is better or can you think of things that you can improve by making them shorter?  Who is your favorite short person or short story?

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