Stolen Identity, (ch. 3)

It is mid April at the Edgerton household—a couple of months since we left the Edgerton couple emerging from Holt Refrew. (At that time, husband and wife were on a carefully orchestrated shopping spree to more suitably clothe the new Lanc.) Lanc and Clare are sitting in the same living room, except that it is no longer the same. The grey feel has been banished. The room sparkles with new bolder curtains and upholstery. Clare of course, always looked trim and attractive, but George—sorry Lanc now—has settled into his new personality, accepting it as a long lost but welcome friend. They are watching reality TV after dinner—neither of them could recall which exact programme. It is perhaps a bit of a dull diet for both of them but they are taking it in like holy water—maybe harmless in itself though promising great things.
Suddenly Lanc leaps from the couch and points at the offending screen. “Do you know what that damn thing is doing to us?”
Clare is completely mystified, but shocked into alertness. “Who’s doing what to whom?”
“That damn TV show is eating our time!”
“I still don’t understand you. What do you mean, ‘eating our time?’”
Lanc is on a roll. “That stupid reality programme is growing fat by eating our time. The more we feed it the fatter it gets. If we all stopped feeding it, it would simply cease to exist.”
Clare smiles tentatively, “You’ve got some kind of an interesting metaphor going there, Lanc baby. But you’ve lost me in the process.”
He stops to consider his words. “Look Clare, it’s like this. You’ve heard of TV ratings?”
“Of course.”
“Well that’s simply a measure of how much we, the watchers and listeners, are feeding a programme with our time. The more we feed it the higher the ratings. The higher the ratings the longer it will stay on the air. But it’s OUR time. We’ve only got a limited amount of the stuff but these programmes have an unlimited appetite. As long as we feed them, they will go on forever.”
Clare pauses to consider. “Is that really the catastrophe you’re painting it?”
“Yep. I think it is. If we weren’t watching these stupid people voting each other off of the ship or the island or whatever, we would have that time to spend on other things.”
“Like what?”
That slows down Lanc for a bit. “Like, well, er, like something constructive.”
“Give me an example of something constructive.”
“Well, we could be watching an educational programme or listening to an opera, or even reading a good book.”
“And why would that be better than watching this ‘stupid reality programme?’” Nevertheless she switches off the TV.
Lanc stands there in front of the empty screen struggling how to explain what was happening to him. “Clare, it’s two or three months now since you helped me to find and create the new me.” She nods.
“I’ve really enjoyed this process and I so appreciate your help in getting me here. But just lately I’m feeling frustrated. Sort of all dressed up but nowhere to go. I mean, so I’m new and charged—so what? What am I supposed to do now. If it’s just to sit and watch this or that guy or gal get voted off whatever, then I might as well go back to being George.”
“Oh, for gawd’s sake, Lanc. Don’t do that! If you did I think I might walk out on you.”
“Clare, don’t ever walk out on me, please. You’re making me what I am. You’ve got a responsibility. I’d be lost without you.”
She blushes a little at his praise. “Now I think I see your concern. You’re retired, you just got a new life, you’re all revved up, and you’re bored doing nothing. But you don’t know what to do or where to go. Is that it?”
“Well let’s examine your options. I suppose you could go out and get another job.”
“Scrub that.”
“You’re right. You don’t need the money. You need an interest.” She pauses again. “What about… No… but… you might do volunteer work?”
“What kind of volunteer work?”
“Well, look at it this way. Despite going ‘grey” after you retired, you had a successful business career and you gained a lot of smarts from that—skills that other organizations could use. Lanc I think you’re very saleable. Maybe we should take another tack. What are you interested in now. Sports? Small businesses? Performances like opera, stage, ballet, or church, things like that? Politics? Management consulting?… I’m running out of ideas. Any of these turn you on?”
“Gee. I don’t really know. I don’t know enough about any of those things I guess. I think I might know the right opportunity if I saw it. But how do I know where to look?”
“Lanc, have you ever heard of an organization that sort of marries up various art groups with commercial businesses?”
“Can’t say I have.”
“I believe there is one. Used to run programmes that were designed to encourage young business executives to volunteer in small arts organizations, you know, stage, ballet, opera, music.”
“But you couldn’t call me a young executive now!”.”
She arose and went to the desk. “Maybe they’ve got something more. Let’s look them up on the web.” She fools around with the keyboard. “Yes here we are. I think this is what we want.” They explore the keyboard with the mouse. “Wow!” she exclaims. “Look at the ‘artsScene’ entry. **‘Inspiring interest in the arts… Offering ways to engage in the arts, artsScene … also provides mentor opportunities with senior business leaders to the arts.’ Lanc, I think this might be just your thing!”
“Yeah… maybe… I’ll think about it.”
“Lanc. You don’t sit and THINK about opportunities. They re too fleeting. You DO something.”
“Like what?”
“Like phoning up the head of this association, or whatever it is, and seeing where you can fit in. Here’s the number. Go into the study and do it now.” He hesitates. “Lanc, do it now!” He indicates that she should come with him. “No, I won’t hover over you while you speak to him or her. You’re flying solo on this one, baby. You can do it.”
Thus goaded into action, Lanc phones the number he had been given. It is answered by the annoying but customary recording. He follows instructions and dials the extension of the president.
“Hello. How may I help you?”
“Well I’m not sure how to answer that. I’m Lancaster Edgerton I have recently retired from RR Insurance. I was Vice President, Finance. Now I have time on my hands and quite a lot of business experience. I was wondering whether you could use me somewhere.”
“That’s an interesting offer, Mr…. May I call you Lanc?”
“Of course.”
“Would it be possible for you to come down here so I could get more information about you and we could discuss where and how you might be helpful.”
“Time is heavy on my hands. You suggest a time and place and I’ll be there.
They make a date for four days in the future. Lanc hangs up feeling a might proud of himself. He goes into the living room and reports to Clare.
So here we are now, the evening of the fourth day later. Lanc has been out all day. He hasn’t been so busy since he retired. Now he is just tired, but a happy tired that comes after a job well done. He walks into the living room. Clare is sitting on the sofa with a book. She looks up and checks him out. Immediately she knows that something important has happened today. “Well?” she asks as she lays aside her book. “Come on!” she adds as he milks her interest for all its worth. “Tell me!!”
He sits down beside her and takes her hand in his. “It’s been quite a day. Yes quite day.” He falls silent.
“For gawd’s sake, GIVE!!! What happened.
“Oh I didn’t think you’d really be interested,” he teases. “Perhaps I should get the drinks first and then tell you.”
“Lancaster Edgerton, if you move from this sofa without telling me right now, so help me, I’ll shoot you!”
“With what?” he asks as he grasps both her hands.
She struggles to free herself and then leans over and kisses him. “Please,” she pleads looking him straight in the eyes.
He laughs contentedly. “Ok. I’ll confess. You know I had a morning appointment with the president of that business cum arts organization? Well, Lucille…”
“Already on a first name basis, I see.”
“Well. Yes. She’s very approachable.”
“Well, you know what I mean. She’s very easy to talk to. I can’t imagine she spends an hour or so with every retired guy who wants her advice but she was great with me. I told her a little about myself and how I wasn’t ready to take up a beer and TV life just yet.”
“So did she have any suggestions?”
“Yeah, Right off the bat without any preamble she asks, ‘What is your passion.’”
“You know, Clare, that really set me back on my heels. ‘What is my passion?’ I didn’t have a clue? I parried for time. ‘I’m not sure what you mean—passion’
“She answered. ‘Come on, Lanc. What turns you on. What are you interested in—besides adding up a column of figures?’
“You know, Clare, I’d just never been asked a question like that before. I guess I just sat there is silence, thinking. Finally I came out of my dream state and said, ‘Well, I’ve always liked jazz. You know stuff from the 40s and 50s. The big band era. That kind of thing. But frankly I haven’t indulged that in years. I just haven’t had time.’
Lucille mulled over my jazz thing and laughed. ‘I’m a great believer in the importance of coincidences. Sort of like someone up there plans them. In any case, we’ve got a coincidence. There’s a small musical quartette, the Razzmatazz Collection, that’s been going for a couple of years. They’re small and new. They make music but haven’t a clue about running an organization. They don’t have the clout to raise any money. So now that they’re getting a few gigs and performing successfully, but they need some experienced help as to how to run a business. Is this stirring up any interest in you?’
“Clare, I’m sure my eyes actually sparkled. ‘Are they any good?’ I asked.
“‘Yes, they’re quite talented. I’ve heard them on a few occasions and I think they have the stuff to go places. You know, they’re in town right now. I’ll see if I can set up a meeting for you with them. Are you available for the rest of the day?’
“I nodded and she left to make a private call to the group . She was back in a few minutes. ‘They’d be delighted to meet you. I’ve set it up for 2:30 this afternoon.’”
“That was fast,” observed Clare. “So what happened this afternoon?”
“Well I went to this house in cabbagetown and I could hear the jazz belting out as I came up the walk. I rang several times but when nobody came to the door, I just walked in.”
“You mean you just opened the door and walked in? That’s assertiveness that you didn’t have before. And then????”
“The leader just nodded to me and smiled but they kept on with the music. It was great! Finally they finished and the leader came over and introduced himself, then the others. I can only remember their first names: Jacob (the leader, he played the horn) then there was Caroline on the keyboard, Greg on traps, and Horace (nicknamed Big Horse) on the bass. Gee, it was great. It was as if we had known each other for quite some time.”
“You mean you felt like part of the group right from the start?”
“Yep. Right from the start. So then Jacob and I left the group and we talked a bit. I told him about my background in finance. He showed me the ‘books’ for the group, which frankly were little more than pencil scratches on toilet paper. I allowed as to how I could fix them up and install a system. Anyway, to make short of it, he ‘hired’ me.I made to leave and they played a fanfare for me. I think this is going to be a lot of fun—and maybe I can be of use to them. So I start next week!”
“Congratulations, Lanc. You handled that like a real pro. I’m so proud of you. I knew I married an exceptional man. We just had to dig him out from under all that corporation crap.”
He smiled at her. Then, “Do you remember when we first met I used to play the clarinet?”
She laughed. “I sure do. But you had to give it up when your job started keeping you up at nights. Pity. You were quite good at it too.”
A dreamy smile came over his face. “Any idea where we stored it—the clarinet I mean?”
She gave a great smile back. “I think it’s in the attic in the top drawer of that old chest.”

**Quoted from website

8 Responses to “Stolen Identity, (ch. 3)”

  1. Silvana Ness says:

    I loved this one, Lyman.

    Such an imaginative and unexpected development. Funny and touching at the same time.

    Very enjoyable.

  2. charles Kirby says:

    Here we go: And then what happened ???

    I am as frustrated as Lanc., if you know what I mean… ck

  3. Toni Henderson & Frank Cox says:

    Love the new blog! Much easier to navigate and the photo is great (if I do say so myself). Of course the photographer had a great subject!

    Just read this aloud to Frank for evening entertainment. Delightful! Lanc will be happy to know that we don’t own a time eating TV. Much more fun reading together. Thanks for providing the material Dad.

  4. Libby Buchanan says:

    Great. I really liked this A satisfying bed time story. Goodnight!

  5. Libby Buchanan says:

    I liked this one ,a really satisfying bed time story. Thank you. Goodnight!

  6. Rosie says:

    Fantastic Lyman, The new beginning & following one’s passion always inspire’s me ….. Wish I had a corporate job before following my passion to make it sweet. Always inspirational.

    Also love the new blog & photo. Very becoming. You inspire along with your stories.
    xo Rosie

  7. John Crossley says:

    That was a surprise Lyman. As an old financial guy, I think I could go for a gig like that. Very enjoyable. Now you know Lyman we must really find out how he did with the Clarinet.

  8. Peggy Moxon says:

    Lyman,Just fine to read something with a happy ending. And we do know about volunteer work, don’t we.


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