Every July 4th my wife and I partake of the annual picnic at a lakeshore cottage association on Michigan’s West Coast. Same date, same time, same tent rising from the sandy beach beneath the dunes like something out of Ali Baba, same kinds of shared food (I didn’t know you could make potato salad eight different ways!) and mostly the same people. Including some sames who attended their first picnic there during the Coolidge administration. But every now and then a family extends a bit, and there are new members to meet and greet. We always try to take the first step. Because same is so…same…you know.
Last year a new family joined us and I had the opportunity to meet the father of three rowdy assembly line sons ages 5, 6, and not quite 8. A big guy he was, and soon we were talking sports. He’d played college ball himself, was a rabid fan of four pro teams, and coached his kids in a different sport each season. He had an aggressive, hand-enveloping handshake, laughed easily, shared a few anecdotes, and after our chat was complete he moved on to introduce himself to others as if he were the official greeter and everyone else had just arrived. I had to smile at his “knows no strangers” approach that was so refreshingly “un-same”. Later I remembered that I hadn’t asked what business he was in…although I really didn’t have to. I’ve met a lot of sales reps and managers in my time, and had no doubt I’d just met another. Quite likely a really good one, I thought. (more…)