A Square Peg In A Round Hole

imagesCA32RQ2ODaily Prompt: We Can Be Taught!

Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure — not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.

“I’ll never forget that as long as I live.” That is a phrase that we often use when speaking of a moment of great elation, tragedy, reversal of life course, or moments of truth. The amazing thing about them is that they are not planned, it happens at random, and unforeseen. Most unusual about them is that often little thought or recognition is given to those events. They occur as if only another breeze, another breath, another sunrise.

Occasionally we can freeze-frame those moments into our memory and preserve them like a precious gift.

It’s like a moment in a movie; the whole world seems as if scripted for your moment. It is the close up. It is the “You can’t handle the truth” moment, it is the “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” conclusion, or “Hell, the fall will kill us,” humorous reality.

What is equally fascinating about these moments is that we don’t remember many of them, but others remember them as being particularly poignant and memorable.

That is what great story telling is about, finding what is memorable in the mundane and making it meaningful for others.

I always remember moments when extraordinary kindness, compassion, and understanding has come my way.

It was the summer of ‘73. I had the responsibility of a wife and three children. I had a job that could not support us. There were job openings at a factory that paid well. My family’s future hinged on getting a job there.

An aptitude test was given and I qualified. During the interview process the HR person determined I did not possess the skills needed for employment at the factory.

I was crushed. I recall tears pooling in my eyes. “Sir, I really need this job. It takes no skill to push a broom. I will do anything. I just need this job very badly.”

Without looking up from the a papers on his desk he said, “You can’t expect us to fit a square peg in a round hole.”

“Please, give me a chance,” I said.

He made a movement as if shooing a fly.

On the way to my car a man caught up with me. “Hey, son,” he said. “I overheard you. I do hiring also. Show up Monday morning in department five. You got a job.”

I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

The factory eventually started the process of closing down. I was able to find a better paying job.

Five years later I’m secure in a new job and doing well. My company hired the HR man who turned me away six years earlier. He was not hired into our HR department, but on the floor, operating machines like a commoner.

It was lunch time. He sat directly across the table from me. He quickly pulled out the Wall Street Journal and began reading. It was like a barrier between us. I’m certain he had no memory of me.

As he read he talked to the men on both sides of him. “This company is completely insane. You have somebody, like me, with vast experience in management and HR and they stick me behind a machine. My skills and experience are going to waste. What kind of outfit is this anyway?”

I had enough of his whining about his lot in life and judging from the eye rolls of everybody else in earshot so where they. I finished my meal and grabbed hold of his Wall Street Journal and pulled it down. “You know what they way, sir, ‘You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.’”

Everybody later expressed appreciation for shutting him up, but none knew the whole story.

I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

Square pegs just need to have the edges rounded in order to fit in the round holes. It also takes others with vision to recognize the potential we all have. We all need just a little adjustment to fit.

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  1. I wish that I could have used that notable saying in quite a few instances where I worked for 35 years. I’m sure your comment gave that man some food for thought or at least I hope so. Indeed, those square pegs are abundant in just about all areas of life.

Blather away, if you like.

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