Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Not Me," "Nobody" and "Ida Know."

Do you have kids? A spouse? Employees? It actually doesn't matter who you interact with and how. If you know even one other person in the entire world, you will have heard from him or her when something goes awry: "Not me."

No one is ever responsible for a problem, it seems. No one ever breaks anything, is late for an appointment, tells a lie, steals, or eats the last piece of pie.

"Not me!"

Bil Keane and his son Jeff have made a very good living with their comic strip, Family Circus, where every time the kids in the family get into some mischief, little ghosts named "Not Me," "Nobody" and "Ida Know" hover overhead while the kids deny all responsibility.

It is not only a problem with cartoon kids. It is a problem with real kids, and real adults. We're trying to move into our new home and every time something goes wrong, there's a cacophonic chorus of 'Not Me' that can be heard around the block. It's not the builder's fault that the driveway isn't done and that a delivery truck had to be sent away twice because there was no safe way to get the appliances it carried to the front door. It's not the sub-contractor's fault because he wasn't told that we already had possession of the house. And whose fault is it that the yard and driveway are littered with nails, coffee cups, cigarette packs and assorted building debris, and that there are ruts a foot deep, and no sod?

"Not Me," "Nobody" and "Ida Know."

Oh well, this will all be over in a few days. Then I will take a two-day nap and wake up just in time to send my son off to his first day of high school on September 5th, and then fly to Panama again on September 10th. That, at least, will be fun. My partners and I will be meeting some investors and several people interested in purchasing building lots at our Roca Milagro development. I will enjoy that.

I just hope that "Not Me," "Nobody" and "Ida Know" don't have relatives in Panama.


  1. LOL.

    Or cousin, "Whatever" or aunt "yeahbutanyways"

  2. They might not live in Panama, but they sure took up residence in Illinois last year. We undertook a simple project of renovating two bathrooms. Easy, right? Those three clowns turned a six week project into a six month project, I kid you not, and my husband had to call them back to retile his shower TWICE! We are just making do with the only dishwasher in the house, me, rather than try to begin work in the kitchen. My sympathies are with you. If you find "I Can", "I Will," or "I'm Sorry," let me know.

  3. Being in the maintenance department, I keep on hand a large stack of "I was wrong and I am sorry"s.
    Constituting the least used sentence in the whole English language as they do, they tend to have one of two effects: 1. Complete and utter surprise (sometimes generating fainting spells among women customers) and 2. Appreciative thanks, often in conjunction with the above.

  4. You nailed the approach, galt-in-da-box. My employees are instructed to 'take ownership' of any problem, regardless of who was actually at fault, and to stay on the situation until it is resolved to the customer's satisfation. The angriest, most upset customer usually backs right off if he sees that someone is genuinely interested in fixing a bad situation. If we tell someone we'll call them in five minutes, we call even if there is nothing yet to report, just to let them know we do what we say. Your maintenance department is lucky to have a guy like you!