Five Things that Really Scare Me

Yup it’s Halloween. I just read how Halloween has now surpassed Christmas as the holiday for which people buy the most outdoor decorations. Sometimes I look at all the hoopla around this minor holiday with great amusement. I know that people love dressing up for it (we do it too. Take a look at our own annual Halloween Costume participants here). Other times I think the devil must be laughing his horned head off in you-know-where as he shouts with glee at how it’s grown. After all, cute little goblins and friendly ghosts have a way of just taking the edge off real evil, you know?

So, for lots of reasons, Halloween is scary. And in honor of this, I’d like to share five things that really scare me. They are personal and in no particular order:

1. The economy. Our economy scares me not so much because it is down so much right now, but more because no one, but no one, has any idea when the downturn will end. It’s very difficult for any company to plan when it has no basic assumptions upon which to base that planning. All the internal economic indicators we use here indicate that we have bottomed out and are on an upturn, but growth is at a snail’s pace. And we have “experts” on 24-hour “news” channels telling us that could change again any minute. This is very scary.

2. The law. On a bad day, the law and the lawyers it breeds. I have seen a number of cases move forward these past few years where the notion of right and wrong was irrelevant. What mattered was the ability of the lawyers to make money from it. From the price-fixing suits in Europe and here as well, to the demands for the return of alleged “preferential payments” in bankruptcy cases , justice is just a cloak for greed. And this scares me too.

3. The media. Of course I don’t mean the business-to-business (B2B) media of which I am a part. We try and cover the news in proportion to how important it is to the industry we serve. I mean those 24 hour cable channels and those who are always looking to sensationalize anything. Witness this message I got from one of our editors on Friday:

Deb–The national television show that shall remain nameless would like to speak with any attorney handling recent cases (within the past seven years) involving individuals who have been severely injured or died as a result of plate glass shattering when they inadvertently walked or somehow collided into it.

They are interested in cases where the injuries would have been minimized or non-existent if safety glass had been in place instead of the plate glass. The incidents should involve doorway entrances or windows in homes, business, schools, hotels etc. They are not interested in cases involving automobiles, coffee tables or wired glass cases.

They are looking for compelling cases involving people of all ages, but especially interested in accidents involving children or young adults. They are looking to interview a victim and an attorney for their report. They’d like to hear from people within the next week so they can schedule interviews for a report airing in mid November.

Hmmm… do I call them and explain the old Federal Safety Glazing laws and the building codes that followed? Do I opine how, if someone was injured by plate glass in a door, that glass was most likely put in their illegally? Will they understand how the majority of glass installation companies are reputable and care about safety? Probably not, because this is not what they want to hear. Scary.

4. The Post Office. Because I am a publisher, the post office scares me. We all got a nice letter from the Postmaster last week saying “hey don’t worry, reports of our impending demise are not true.” I believe them. And I see the media (see number 3 above) going on about how the post office is losing billions of dollars a year without ever getting at the real story, which is that a lot of those losses are due to the fact that it is required by Congress to pre-fund its retiree health benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion dollars. Pre-fund, post-fund, the fact is that there just is not enough money to do it. Like many things involving entitlement programs, it’s a scary nightmare that needs fixing.

5. Incompetence. I am sure that you, like me, see it every day. Can’t say I’ve never been guilty of it either, though not on purpose. But when it’s incompetence in the glass industry—whether people who put in the wrong type of glass knowingly (see #3 again) or who replace windshields improperly, it makes me tremendously sad when our industry falls down. The people I know who work in it are so much better than this and care so much more. I want us to be admired and not brought down by bozos.

Okay those are my five. What scares you?

Video of the Week

I can’t imagine this was tempered or laminated, but it is a cautious reminder of how quickly glass can become a cause of injury:
http://www.break.com/index/man-shatters-glass-door-2169239

More Kudos:

To two of our employees this week.

First, to Tara Taffera, the publisher/editor of DWM/SHELTER magazine who, as I write this on Sunday afternoon, is competing in the Marine Core Marathon in Washington DC. I can’t tell you how proud and envious I am of her. She has been running for awhile and set this Marathon as a goal, trained for it for almost a year and now, as I follow her online, she is just reaching the finish line. Congratulations Tara!!!

Mr. and Mrs. O'Mara dancing their first dance as husband and wife.

And congratulations to Katie Hodge, the editor of WINDOW FILM magazine who married the very wonderful Patrick O’Mara yesterday afternoon in Virginia. Though the weather may have played a few tricks on us, the wedding, and the infectious happiness of the bride and groom, were a real treat.

Ever the trooper, Katie is leaving for the SEMA show on Monday to cover it for WINDOW FILM. Pat’s going to join her later in the week, though both are adamant that the SEMA visit is not substituting for a honeymoon which will come later.

2 Responses to “Five Things that Really Scare Me”

  1. Jerry Anderson says:

    Deb–Your blog really hits the nail on the head regarding lawyers — I have often said over the years that lawyers and labor unions (that attempt to control productivity) are the largest threat to our free enterprise system. Compounding the lawyer threats is Congress where a huge percentage of members hold law degrees.

    Jerry

  2. Debra Levy says:

    Thanks Jerry it is great to hear from you. I forget sometimes Congress is composed mostly of attorneys. Maybe that’s why they exempt themselves from most laws.

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