I was just reading Zuki’s annual lament which always follows the annual sales meeting. It is sort of a combination of Willy Loman and Terry Malloy with just a dash of Holly Golightly.
I think everyone knows Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman. Willy is the old salesman who just doesn’t have the energy to answer the bell anymore. There is an additional connection in that Willy has two sons as does Zuki and I think they even have the same names – Biff and Happy.
Terry Malloy is played by Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. And just like Zuki, Terry was forced to throw a fight at the peak of his career. Terry is also famous for the quote which is often heard as a woeful cry coming from Curmudgeon Corner: “I coulda been a contender.”
Actual quote from movie: Terry: “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Charley.”
The dash of Holly Golightly is perhaps less obvious to the untrained eye. Holly, as played by Audrey Hepburn, is a character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s which was written by Truman Capote. Comparing Zuki to a Truman Capote character (or Audrey Hepburn for that matter) might seem a little off the wall but there is a quote from the movie which is right on the nose:
Holly Golightly: “Promise me one thing: don’t take me home until I’m drunk – very drunk indeed.”
Now none of this is meant as criticism of Zuki. All Curmudgeons enjoy reminiscing second only to the joy they derive from complaining. I have a dear friend in Minneapolis who I worked with off and on going back to 1974. We speak by phone every other week and each call is filled with “remember the time when …”
Those of us who have entered the fourth quarter know that we don’t have much to look forward to except maybe an overtime period – and that will be played under the old rules of sudden death. Nonetheless there is no need to be maudlin. Guys like Zuki and JJ ought to stop and give thanks for what they have. They are both above ground, they are both gainfully employed, JJ has his “nieces” and Zuki has Biff and Happy but most importantly they have each other.
Zuki says the Springsteen song “Glory Days” captured the moment as all the boys stood around the bar at the Nuggets game. It definitely serves that purpose, not to mention it is a pretty good song. When I look back on my career as a travelling salesman I always think of John Fogerty’s song “Centerfield” but not for the obvious reason that the guy wants to be in the game. No when I think back to that song, I am always reminded that Mrs. Bagwan thought the line “put me in coach” referred to the seat selection process on an airplane.
The song lyrics which sum all this up the best come from a Peggy Lee song. I was at her show at the Waldorf in New York in 1969 when Miss Lee introduced “Is That All There is.” As a 21 year old that night I hated the song and certainly did not understand the meaning. Now at 66 I still don’t like the song, but unfortunately I do fully understand the meaning.
“Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is.”