This site is dedicated to my fondness for fowl. Not in any way that requires years of therapy. It's not even my favorite meat. I just think it's neat. What can I say? I am easily amused.
Plus, it may have something to do with the fact that my first and middle names said together are a homonym of poultry (Paul Troy).

Monday, March 26, 2007

When All You Have Is Lemons

The following is the text of a speech that I will be giving Wednesday night at my Toastmasters meeting. And yes, it is "mostly" true.

When I was growing up, and I’d find myself in a less than desirable situation, my mom would always offer me the same encouraging words of advice.

She would say: Son, when all you have is lemons, listen to me now, she’d demand, when God gives you lemons, here’s what you do, you make a tall glass of…Vodka on the rocks…..with a twist!

Oh wait, that wasn’t my mom. That was Auntie Mame. My mom would say to make lemonade. But do it quietly.

Life is a bittersweet journey. The sweet part of life is the many opportunities that one has to reach great heights from the lowest of lows. In other words: to make lemonade from sour lemons. The bitter part is when those opportunities are missed. In other words: when those lemons are discarded out of disappointment or regret.

When I was little boy I had wanted to run a lemonade stand. Maybe it was a result of my mom’s advice. One Saturday morning my mom and oldest brothers were asleep leaving me, aged 6, and my brother Wesley, aged 9, to our own devices and that was when I decided to open the Troy & Wesley Lemonade Stand Incorporated. I’d be the brains and my brother would be the brawn. I shared this brainstorm with my brother: The Troy & Wesley Lemonade Stand Incorporated. It must’ve been forty-five minutes later when he let me get up from the ground and we began our new business: the Wesley & Troy Lemonade Stand Incorporated.

This was when we met our first obstacle: We had no lemons. The second obstacle: We had no sugar. And while we were only 6 and 8, we were pretty sure that those were the key ingredients in making Lemonade. That was when we decided to improvise. Some may tell you that improvisation is a great skill to be used at every chance, but when making lemonade…not so much!

However, after selling my brother on the idea of the entrepreneurial successes that would lead to corner offices in our tree house, I had no other choice. Given a less than desirable situation, we had to make the best of it.

So, what did our mom have in the kitchen that was sour? After some foraging, we found apple vinegar. Now, this would work, we thought, because not only was vinegar sour, sort of, but it said “apple”. Apple is a fruit. Lemon is a fruit. We weren’t deviating from the original ingredients that much.

Now for something sweet. Honey would’ve been good but my mom was out of honey. We were starting to think my mom ought to go shopping more often. We kept looking. Corn Syrup. Hey, syrup is sweet. Check! We mixed vinegar, corn syrup and water together hoping to get a pseudo-lemonade.

After a few stirs, I was thinking that we might still be okay. I mean, the other kids in our neighborhood weren’t so smart. We did it! We made lemonade, sort of, okay not really, but we made something and, in the process of doing so, we had also made a huge mess. But we did it quietly. There was flour strewn across the kitchen floor and broken eggs on her range top. I am still not sure why we had so many ingredients out. But this was not time to stop and possibly reflect on what a mess we had made, it was time to sell, sell, sell! So my brother grabbed the Dixie cups and I grabbed the mixing bowl and poured into a pitcher. So, with our merchandise in hand, we headed out the back door. My mom would later explain it is not socially recommended to use a crystal pitcher from Williams-Sonoma to sell lemonade. Nor is it very good for your backside!

We came back home two hours later. Would you believe that not one person would buy our lemonade?! But that was okay, because we had fun! That was soon to end. Mom was waiting for us. My brother was made to clean up the kitchen, I was wondering who was looking out for me when my mom rationalized out loud that since the lemonade was my idea, I was going to drink it because in our house, nothing went to waste. After two glasses of the stuff, my mom took pity on me and let me throw the rest of the stuff out. I guess I should’ve remembered her compassion later when I got sick, in her bed.

On that Saturday, I managed to make a huge mess; I made the first of several failed attempts at being an entrepreneur, and created a memory that would bring smiles to faces almost thirty years later. Sure I couldn’t sit down for a week but it was all worth it. So the next time you are left with apple vinegar and corn syrup or you maybe all you have are lemons and sugar, I hope that you’ll remember this story and that you’ll make the best out of the situation. By advice from my attorney, I offer this DISCLAIMER: I will not be held responsible for any and all medical and/or legal ramifications. But I hope that won’t deter you because you should always make the best out of it when all you have is lemons.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Something Yucky This Way Comes - and then happy thoughts for all!

Yucky News...
My mom is back in the hospital; this time with Collitus. Not sure about the spelling here but I am refering to a yucky stomach disease that is contagious, not the stuff in the opening lines of Hotel California. Anyway, she was only out for a week. Previously, she was in there for 3 weeks due to her Galbladder - again, sorry for any spelling slipups. They're not sure when she'll get out.

On a happier note...
I was just chatting with two coworkers about US drug laws, capital punishment, the horrible rape of a nine year old, how someone can be a Christian and still think for themselves, and the idea of killing Chenney. Wow, what a happy water cooler we have, eh?! Diverse people who have their own opinions - we need more of that.

Okay, really, on a happer note...
Doolittle, from American Idol, really rocked the place last night. She is awesome. I agree with Hilda that the boys aren't offering much. We both like Chris Sligh. For a runner up in the guys, she likes the bald guy and I like the beepbop kid. We'll see.

Games, food, drink, and merriment for all....
My friend Matt is taking me and another friend, Erick, out to Gameworks tonight for our birthdays. It is sure to be a blast!