When Lightning Strikes

Kqrstvrz. Oops! What in the world was that word? Where did it come from? It must have resulted from the fact that lightning ran in on my computer last Friday, and I’m getting accustomed to using it again after I just got it up and running. Well, that’s not exactly true. “I” didn’t get it up and running. But the fact that you’re reading this column is evidence that someone did.
The condensing unit of my central air conditioning system met lightning, too – and the lightning won. Unlike the computer, the AC couldn’t be repaired. But the fact that I’m not sweating profusely as I write this on July 22 provides evidence that I have replaced it with a new unit. Well, that’s not exactly true either. “I” didn’t replace it. But someone did. And you know, that’s what teamwork is all about – people working with people – people sharing and coordinating their areas of expertise with others to get things accomplished.
My wife Jean and I were sitting in the den Friday evening, reading. Then, “Whack! Whack!” The breakers sounded loudly in the utility room as the AC and computer switches clicked simultaneously. I turned off the AC system at the thermostat. Led by the beeping of my computer’s backup battery, I went to my home office and shut down the computer.
Saturday morning began warmer than usual – and heated up as the day progressed. When I turned on the computer it would not cooperate with my instructions. This was the beginning of an adventure. AC tech Randy Starling was in Nashville that morning but returned to Gatlinburg in the afternoon. During a tremendous downpour, he inspected the unit and declared its demise. But good ole’ Randy. As I was taking care of things with Allstate Insurance on Monday, Randy located a new unit, went to Knoxville to get it, and had us cooling off by Monday evening.
Meanwhile – the computer. Once again, as I was taking care of insurance matters, I turned the patient over to Jack Black and John at PDQ Computer Services. Good ole’ Jack and John. Beginning with what I’m sure was electrical CPR, they resuscitated it, saved all its data, and through by-pass surgery and organ replacement actually made it better than it was before the accident.
One of the first things I did upon using the revived patient was check my email messages. After five days of downtime, 523 messages came through. Most were SPAM, even though I do have a SPAM blocker. But I quickly deleted those and moved on to business and personal messages. In doing so, I found a note from a gentleman who attended one of my full-day seminars on the east coast last fall. The message was short. He told me how much he appreciates receiving my weekly columns via email. He also told me, “At age 53, I just lost my first General Manager’s job.” I know, of course, that he is devastated – and rightly so.
I thought how closely the loss of his job parallels my “lightning experience.” How? Well, were it not for Randy, Jack, John, and Allstate, I would have been in a mess. And, I must add, my son Carl II, and my friend and business associate John Dudeff, both computer-savvy, took turns holding my hand on the phone and guiding me through my predicament. They assisted me before I turned the wounded patient over to PDQ – and they helped me to understand some things I should do before lightning strikes again. The point is, the gentleman on the east coast will benefit greatly from contacting people who can help him overcome the lightning that struck him. So many times in my talks and seminars, I have said, “People working with people – people helping people – that’s what it’s all about.”
As the gentleman recovers from his lightning blow, I encourage him to keep in mind that I received a new, much more efficient AC unit, and my computer now works more efficiently and faster than it did prior to the disaster. Family helped. Friends helped. People with areas of expertise helped. There is a great lesson here for everyone.
Carl Mays, author of 13 books and speaker at over 2500 events, can be contacted at carlmays@carlmays.com or 865-436-7478. His books are available in stores, at www.carlmays.com and Amazon.com.
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