“I really like you kid; in an appropriate, non-gender specific sort of way, of course,” Said Sal.
“Jimmy, you’re gonna’ go places if you follow a few ground rules.”
“What do you mean, Boss?” Jimmy asked.
“It means you have to change your ways of doing business. You can’t go around cracking coconuts–like you did with Herman the German. So what if he didn’t sell, locally grown, sustainably produced agricultural products?
“Where was your empathy? Why, in the old days, I woulda’ head-slapped you already. I’m going to be more sensitive and give you one more chance. Don’t screw it up.”
“Don’t thank me. Thank Big Eddie for bailing you out.”
“Eddie, what the hell are you doing? I’m braggin’ on you and you’re falling asleep on me?”
“Sorry Boss, I was meditating,” Eddie answered. Sal’s face was beet red.
“Do your meditating somewhere else–on your own time.”
Big Eddie hadn’t been the same since bariatric surgery–in a quest to become “Not-so-big-Eddie.” Last night at Luigi’s he’d ordered vegetarian lasagna. Lucky for Eddie, Sal hadn’t noticed. Eddie’s Yoga classes would have been the last straw.
“Don’t neither of you lunkheads get too comfortable. I’m not done talking.” Sal was on a roll. Big Eddie craved a fresh-fruit smoothie in the worst way, but kept quiet.
“This business has changed. Think of what we do, as Sal’s Security Services. I want you two guys to become security consultants. Instead of intimidation, arm-twisting and gourd-cracking, you’ve got to play to people’s fears and anxieties.”
“It’s like being a bartender. Bartenders listen. You should say things like, ‘How ya’ doin’ Pal? What can I help you with? That’s a tough break. I’m here for you.’ Listen to people, be sensitive to their needs. Even if you don’t feel like doing it.”
“They sell salty snacks at bars; and how about salty, movie theatre popcorn?” Do you two, knuckleheads have any idea why they do that? Sorry, that was insensitive of me. Do either of you two gentlemen have any idea why they do that?”
“So, they can sell more drinks, Boss.” “That’s right, Jimmy. Keep thinking that way, and I’ll keep you around. Think of people’s fears as salty snacks. We will quench their security needs–just like those, 64 ounce, refreshing, cold drinks.”
“Big Eddie, you’re lookin’ good. You’ve dropped some weight, got those double chins tightened up.”
“Thanks Boss,” Eddie answered. “Still got a ways to go.”
“Jimmy, stop wearing that stupid baseball cap turned around backwards. We’re professionals–want people to like us.”
Both of you could stand to be more sensitive. Jimmie and Eddie looked as if they’d been shot. Sal fractured many bones over the years–none of them sensitive.
“Next week you’re both going to sensitivity classes. Don’t look at me that way. If you want to work for me–you’ve got to go.”
Sal, alleged, but never convicted, wise guy, became Sal–mentor, philosopher, proprietor of Sal’s 21st Century Security Services. That was then, this was now.
Jimmy and Eddie looked spiffy in their new, dark green uniform shirts. Eddie sighed, contemplated going home to play with Biff, his new boxer puppy.