Let’s talk about what STAY LOOSE is. It’s a philosophy. It’s a way of thinking and behaving in all kinds of so-called unyielding and rigid situations where you think everything is set in granite. There is not much that is established in stonework. STAY LOOSE as a way of behaving with people or events suggests spontaneous flexibility. You would think that you must shake someone’s hand if they shove it out at you. Don’t you just naturally offer your hand too? It only seems right. The next time that happens try instead to keep your hand at your side. Now look at the other person carefully to see what they do. What they do is look at you and after two seconds lower their hand to their side and go on with what they were doing. There is only one good reason to not shake hands. It’s so you won’t get germs. A lady came to the door and had a name tag around her neck because she was selling something door to door and she offered her hand and California Gibb didn’t move one muscle except for looking at her and she went on with her spiel and dropped her hand and went away after about 45 seconds more of explaining her product into which C.G. did not buy. To STAY LOOSE requires that you possess the assurance to do it. A huge dose of quiet confidence can usually be found in a STAY LOOSE attitude.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
It happened back in '82.
"Hi my name’s Merkley, what’s your name?” It was the way the unprompted ruse started out. It was in a supermarket in Park City. Merkley had turned to his date who was right behind him in the checkout line. She was the stunning Ms. Lourdes Carvalho 5’ 8” bombshell from Sao Paulo who went along with it immediately. With her tabernacle choir consummately trained voice she harmoniously announced her name in return.
“Hi, I’m Lourdes Carvalho,” she said in a practiced voice so rich why even try to resist it. She caught on to the spur-of-the-moment ruse fast, very fast. They shook hands like they were meeting each other for the first time and all the people in the checkout line are watching as these two people are meeting and striking up an acquaintance spontaneously. Or so it seemed. Everyone is held up for a quite entertaining few moments and they are all absolutely surprised. The cashier too is totally stunned because he doesn’t know what’s going on. He becomes somewhat mortified besides when Merkley and Ms. Carvalho the looker dish then slowly embraced and kissed each other a long time. ‘Long enough for the cashier to scan the bread and the cotto salami and then they slowly disengaged. They quietly paid for their own respective groceries with total composure separately.
Then they both walked out quietly and individually and not with each other like nothing happened. They played it totally straight like two people who did not know each other but met and then were kissing in the checkout line and then parted. Sixty seconds later they had an uproariously good laugh on the parking lot outside the store and could hardly stand up they were laughing so hard and reveling in the idea that they were actually loose enough to do it.
Friday, March 21, 2008
March madness time the 21st day of the month.
This is a new entry and it's been a couple of months since there was one. It's going in because everyday some wacko will ask you to testify as to the veracity of some unknown idiotic fact and you're supposed to know it all. There's a way to handle this but you've got to do it deadpan.
It's called SPAM and we start off with a comparison to a yummy sandwich that you might find at one of those street vendors all covered with dust from the dried up manure on the road and coming too, from the passing animals and people.
SANDWICH ANALOGY So we have a problem. How is an individual supposed to appear like he has brains and at the same time since one is without the exact answer, get out of being expected to know it all?
We all ought to be using the SANDWICH PROTOCOL OF ACTIVE MANAGEMENT. It’s called SPAM for short. Here's how it works. You can say you do not know. That would be the outside of the sandwich, the two pieces of bread. That way you can end any more humming and hawing. But then you follow that up fast with “but I do know.” That would be the center filling of the tasty sandwich.
That too, could be enough, although once heard, it opens up further questioning. But then you can say again that you really do not know. It's the brown bread again. With that we are beginning to go through the back and forth routine, like someone opening up the sandwich more than once to see what’s in it. Keep in mind in all of this the following salient point: It is precisely what is needed. It is a type of response that stops an inquirer from either feeling that a speaker is not knowledgeable or that she acts too smart. In the process of replying to questions heard, you could easily follow up your first answer with a re-statement that you really do know a little something about what you're talking about.
Now an interesting element of balance is beginning to be heard by the other individual listening to your argument. For one thing he perceives that you are a tad loose to say the least. This moment of equilibrium in your reasoning takes a few seconds to begin occurring. In the going back and forth between the two positions a sort of loose balance is beginning to be perceived. Even though you are not totally sure about what it is you can share as an answer to the questions, you are, in some ways, quite sure.
SMART AND TASTY VICTUALS It is a good sandwich filling of tasty certainty between a couple of slices of chewy uncertainty. Wrap any and all thin slices of ignorance around spammy admissions of lucid comprehension. Or vice-versa. Either way. Two thin slices of knowing on either side of a hefty filling of inexperience also makes a satisfying intellectual victual.
In this way people are made to apply their own minds to the thing they ask of you. And if you’re in a Stay Loose mind set, it is definitely what you want. You might wonder how this can be. As they hear you carry on your own personal debate about whether or not you know everything or how come you know nothing about the question asked, almost always the inquirers have in mind anyway their own tentative takes forming on a forthcoming answer.
But now they begin to see that the questions phrased have more than one facet to them. Some people like a good cold spam sandwich with sandwich spread.It is in the combining of prepared foods that appeals to them. Tuna with celery is fine. Knowledge and ignorance have always gone hand in hand. Tomatoes with pickles are savory. Wisdom with doubt is a winning combination. It all demonstrates that an accommodation can always be made to the questions asked even if there is not a complete pat answer being applied to the solution. Do you like dealing with a dummy? Or would you rather deal with a know-it-all? So which is best? The answer is only partly clear. How about seeing if you can get in touch with those irritating feelings that develop whenever you think of either one of these hard-to-take entities, the dummy and the smart-aleck. Look at some obviously thoughtless phrases by dummies that you hear uttered regularly. They are on the unthinking side of mouthing off. These expressions pop up daily at work and in casual chitchat. They represent an unawareness of what it is we say when we blab.
So that's it for now and you know what? Keep it in mind and try it out. There's going to be an opportunity coming at you faster than you maybe realize. signed, H. B. Merkley Salt Lake City
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
"I don't know," Ken Taylor said, not sure what the summer held for work, standing at his locker across the hall from Merkley's during the last week of high school, never figuring he'd be the Canadian Ambassador to Iran, getting six Americans out by fixing them up with Canadian passports.
"If you go to Stanford you won't have to be 2nd class to anybody," said uncle Dr. Marion G. Merkley to Merkley before his unc became the Utah State Supt. of Pub. Instruction, who got doctored at Stanford U.
"Yah I remember you," says Frankie Laine looking at Merkley in Las Vegas as Merkley was introducing a friend to him.
"Where do we go?" Petula Clark asks Merkley as she takes his arm and they head for a buffet at the Calgary Inn.
"I'd like to thank Prof. Merkley for asking me to speak," said Harry Walker, Regina Mayor, as he began lecturing one of Merkley's management classes.
"Oh, you're Dave's Dad," she says and it was Gwen Stefani of Grammy winning and Superbowl half time fame, sharing a hug and posing for a pic with Merkley, knowing his son Dave, who is pretty well connected.
"Do you sing second tenor?" she asked. It was Janie Thompson wanting to find out where to place Merkley in a minstrel show she was doing, and this was after she had been one of the great singers of the big band era with Skitch Henderson.
"Get the silly thing and get out," said the former U.S.Commissioner of Education, Sterling McMurrin to Merkley about finally getting down to work on his doctorate.
"Hey how are you?" Eddie Firmage, one of the smartest legal scholars in the world says to Merkley, and who used to be Merkley's wrestling partner when they were freshman at BYU with whom Merkley has second cousins in common, notably Nathan E. Tanners kids.
"It's the campus report," Sandy Gilmour, bigtime NBC news man says to Merkley in the days when he was calling Merkley at KALL Radio from the Univ. of Utah to give a report on the air of what was happening on campus, before he went big time.
"Nice to meet you," Governor George Romney says to Merkley at the airport on the Gov's 50th birthday.
"Hi," Mitt Romney, son of George shouts over at Merkley after Merkley shouted Hi prior to the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olymics.
"It's Brando," Glenn Olds, Pres. of SUNY and later Kent State Univ., says to Merkley about an original drawing on a hall wall at Old's house at Oyster Bay, for which Marlon sat and posed.
"Thank you," says LeGrande Richards, the oldest living great orator in the state, to Merkley, after Merkley had helped him on with his coat outside Snelgrove's ice cream store in Salt Lake City.
"The rent's pretty cheap," he said to Merkley. It was Louie Youngkeit, renting space in his house to Merkley when Merkley was a college student and years before Youngkeit became a fringe candidate for President of the United States.
"Boy that was scary," John Rains says to Merkley after a one hour radio interview, and bringing Merkley up to speed on the fact that Rains is the grandson of thee Claude Rains in the movie "Casablanca".
"Good pipes," Andy Bumatai, Hawaii's premier comic describes Merkley's voice at the Manu Lani Hotel during one of his performances and he's conducting sound byte interviews in the audience and he comes over and Merkley says a few words in the mike and Bumatai notes the dulcet quality of Merkley's state of the art tones.
"That was me," Charlotte Sheffield was telling Merkley behind his house in front of his old car on the parking lot in Hollywood after Merkley told her he saw her on TV last night as Merkley is being introduced to Miss USA by his roommate who is dating her.
"Where you been?" Merkley got asked upon his return to Calgary from Honolulu, by Sugarfoot Anderson, who had a part in the real, old, original movie of "Seabiscuit," back in the forties, and the same Anderson who played excellent pro football for the Calgary Stampeders.
"Will Ben Merkley please report to the control booth," said the announcer over the PA system at the Stampede Corral with 10,000 fans in attendance during the intermission of a Bill Haley and his Comets concert, which page had been set up to give Merkley some semblance of recognition."
# posted by B. Merkley @ 11:23 AM
Monday, January 7, 2008
Quotes 2nd group
"I really do like those glasses,"--Orrin Hatch, U.S. Senator about Merkley's Porsche sun glasses. Hatch is easy to get along with.
"So whaddya teach?"--Premier Peter Lougheed of Alberta asking Merkley to admit to whatever it was he could possibly be teaching.
"No relation to the Bennett Glass people in Calgary"--Wallace F. Bennett U.S. Senator saying to me who he wasn't related to.
"Will this get you there?"--Calgary Mayor Don Mackay pointing to a white Chrysler Valiant Merkley was about to drive and wondering if it'll get to Red Deer.
"Use this,"--Lionel Aldridge of the Ut. State Aggies later of the Green Bay Packers letting Merkley use his student I.D. to enter the stadium, with a photo of Lionel who is black and Merkley's pasty white but it worked and L.A. played great for Utah State and then the Pack.
"Four dollars,"-- Melvin Dummar later of "Howard and Melvin" hoax movie fame, claiming he was picked up by Howard Hughes in the desert & a year before that asking Merkley to pay for the gas he had put in the tank at his Willard Utah station
"This is Keeley...expecting,"--Louis Prima introducing me to his wife Keeley Smith and Sam Butera in 'Vegas.
"No way I'm shakin' his hand," Merkley thought going into the men's room and he's coming out to get on his private jet on the general aviation side of the airport, is one of the world's richest people, Mariner Eccles.
"'Scuse me will yah,"--Lavell Edwards whom they named the BYU stadium after, the legend, asks Merkley at a Highland High school game he was watching on his way out and going past Merkley's seat from where he was sitting down the row in the stands.
"Amen,"--Tommy Hudspeth, Calgary Stampeders backfield coach, and later BYU and Detroit Lions head coach affirms audibly next to Merkley after someone at the front of the room finished off a prayer at a church meeting they were both attending.
"Where can I go to the toilet"--Charles Bronson asking Merkley's wife Haunani when she was a lobby hostess at the Westin Mauna Kea.
"You like mo' rice Merkley," said Edith Kanakaole after whom they named the stadium in Hilo home of the Merry Monarch Festival while Edith's daughter Pualani looked on shoveling in her third plateful.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Merkley's quotes. Yes these are actually here. Everyone has them but no one sees how important they are like Merkley does. It's trivia. But you know what? Trivia makes it, so Merkley records them.
"Is this going down?" It was Hiram Fong U.S. Senator asking Merkley about the elevator's direction, that he was on when the door opened, in Honolulu.
"Why don't you come to Rexburg and visit?" asks cousin Sybil Ferguson founder of Diet Center.
"Enjoyed your program," writes Buddy Greco on a card after listening to a late jazz program Merkley was announcing on KSL in the early sixties and Greco's in a car crossing Wyoming in the dead of night.
"Merkley you are a very persistent fellow; you will make it; you will go places"---Nat "King" Cole
"Merkley...with every good wish"---N. Eldon Tanner in a book he gave me.
"He's a disgrace"---quip from a student who got a failing "E" grade in Merkley's 14 week acknowledged snap course on public speaking which the student, 7/8 asleep, attended 6 weeks.
"I'm a singer"--said Anita O'Day after I asked her what it is that she does.
"That was great fun riding a horse into the York Hotel...but I did"---Woody Strode who played the King of Ethiopia in the Ten Commandments, telling me at James Edwards' house in LA what it was like winning the Grey Cup for Calgary in 1948.
"Thanks for the dinner Brother Merkley,"---said Elder Verl Osmond, Donny & Marie's bro after he was a guest for dinner.
"Mind if I smoke?"---Rene LeVesque later Quebec Premier asking Merkley if he could light up in a small stuffy conference room at the Univ. of Saskatchewan.
"'It's green"-- Lowell Thomas, friend of Lawrence of Arabia & CBS commentator noting the traffic light as he and Merkley crossed N. Temple walking south on State Street in Salt Lake City
"Disc jockey huh?"---Ella Fitzgerald at the Hollywood Bowl questioning Merkley's dubious status.
"Nice to meet you"---says R. M. Nixon to Merkley after a speech in Hilo in 1960.
"'See you man," Jim Pike of the Lettermen says as Merkley leaves for a mission in Hawaii in the late '50's.
"Thank you very much," DeeDee Corradini Salt Lake City Mayor who brought the 2002 Olympics, upon hearing Merkley say she was buff.
"What do you think?" Merrill Bateman asking me to say something when I really didn't know what to say, as usual, in a committee meeting, no one knowing he'd be the next president of BYU while Steve Covey looked on snickering.
"So where should we go?" Lani Kai (Lani Woodd) friend, songwriter, co-star actor with Gardner McKay in TV's "Adventures in Paradise" and Woody Strodes step-son asks Merkley as they sit in Woodd's '58 Thunderbird on Sunset Blvd. in front of the Seawitch.
Friday, January 4, 2008
My cousin Jack Gibb wrote a lot and lectured a lot on trust and developed a theory he called TORI. When I was young I stopped at his house in Portland on my way from LA to Calgary in a '49 Merc and had breakfast with my great aunt, his mom. And she was asking me about what I'd majored in and I told her and she said well you know Jack is in that field and he's pretty well known and he's with the Behavioral Sciences Institute in La Jolla and I'm so green and naive this was all news to me and I say "Oh," and go on eating. My aunt Ada, his mom, was the salt of the earth. Jack was a great man. His bro and my cousin too was the dean of the graduate school of management at BYU, Bill Dyer. Jack's article "Is Help Helpful?" has shaped some of my management style.
For example some of the time and you've probably run into this, you can offer help and be rejected totally. And then there are the times when you want to do it yourself and somebody appears to be butting in when they say they would like to help. Jack goes into that type of situation in his article. The piece has shown up in some textbooks and journals. But on the loose thing knowing that help can be unhelpful can make a person choose to be brutal when someone pleads with him to go up a tree to get a cat when almost everyone knows that a cat will, someday, come down on its own. And there are a ton more situations that don't require someone to go hairbrain nuts just because an event is occurring, that, in the mind of the panicky, may seem to need an immediate remedy. Perhaps it may need no help at all. Other than listening to the person's problem and going Hmm, hmm, so the cat's up the tree. I wonder if you've thought about opening a can of sardines and placing it at the foot of the tree. Hmm.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
During the time the class was underway, the story was told a number of times about an old teacher long ago who once taught a class in human relations. It was explained how this ancient teacher would emphasize the critical need to stay flexible. The story goes that there was once a student who wanted to remember what the old teacher was teaching about human relations. While the old teacher was teaching, the student would write in his notes the things that the teacher was saying. The student went over the material persistently in order to know it better for when the final exam came around.
As the ancient professor's class rolled on, the student with the notebook wondered if he could remember the notes which he had written. Then the final exam was announced. To help himself prepare for the exam, the student cut his jottings to one page. The night before the exam he was still concerned about his recall abilities so he trimmed his notes to a half page. The next morning with exam angst gripping him, he reduced his notes further to a paragraph. But again this was not manageable enough so he condensed everything to one sentence. Five minutes before the exam was to start he took a big step. He summed up the whole course and boiled it down to two words which he figured he could remember once he began responding to the test questions in the exam room.
The student went into the exam room knowing his time would be brief. He sat down and thoughtfully began writing his answers. On the brink of writing something, he stopped in his tracks. He had forgotten the words. The words were the essence of the course that the ancient professor had taught incessantly. They had everything to do with how we could act more loosely and effectively instead of going berserk when we don't get our own way. It was a great story told by Steve Covey. Later on in Covey's class my own exam time approached. I thought and wondered about how I could ace it. The exam came. Walking into the room, I picked up a blue test booklet, carried it to a desk, and sat down and began writing. In seconds I was done.
After approximately a six second response, two pithy words had been written. they were on paper and now possessed a life of their own. It was written. Once in a while, decades later, people who had heard about this gutsy risk, ask about what it takes to pull something off like that. They want to know how I could be so cool in writing a two word final. Keep in mind that when you take an exam, see if you can arrange it so you can take it in a form more to your liking.
In the exam room itself, out of respect for the other 25 students allotted a three hour span in which to struggle over tricky questions on a worrisome final, the author stayed three more minutes. Having paused in that fashion in order to reflect to myself how ridiculously easy that little leadership caper had been, I stood up and walked to the front of the class. I placed the exam, without any fanfare, on the front table at a spot designated for placing the completed exams. The other students were amazed. Of course they were amazed. They were conventional students using conventional, typical minds to write out answers. It was such a fast finish. How can you take an exam that fast. They couldn't figure it. They murmured.
GIST OF COVEY
If you had understood the basic Covey, with an appreciation of what the uncomplicated S. R. Covey actually was, and what had been professed daily, and you had responded on the final in a manner absolutely consistent with what he was professing during the entire course, and then doing this on the exam, then my friends, then, it is precisely true, in fact, without a doubt, that if you had written "stay loose," on the first right hand page and been done with it, then, bam, like John Madden exults, you would have grasped the pith of the class in a tidy two word final.
Isn't that better than a long drawn-out effort on a warm, spring morning holed up in a classroom. It surely is. And I knew it, and I knew the others knew it. I had no intention of being in that classroom as one of the herd going about writing convoluted, laborious sentences in a blue book. Certainly not when Prof. S. Richards Covey with his Harvard MBA was more or less continually playing on a theme of "stay loose" for an entire semester.
What does it take, then, a super-human genius to get the meaning behind all that. Stay loose, amigo, means stay loose. When you're faced with what shapes up as a stressful scenario there are always methods to lessen the load for you. How you do it is to put stay loose into practice. It involves a risky route to final exam completion. I did it and departed. I was itching to get into the sunshine and into the university's memorable history books, here called the Annals Of Risk Taking Accomplished, or also known as AORTA.
You can imagine how good it was walking out. Think how I must have, in fact, been quietly relieved inside, having shucked off a load of weight with the flourish of a cheap pen. But it was not easy to pull off. The naive might think it could be done easily. In the early stages of deciding to write just two small itty-bitty words on a final exam there was yes, you guessed it, r over wondering if it could be pulled off. Questions of self doubt came up. The big one was "should I?"
Had it ever been done before? Who knew the answer to that? No one the author knew in his small circle of friends. Could it really be pulled off? In the early stages of figuring it out who would know about that sort of unconventional test-taking that you could talk to. No one knew anything like that. Covey had appeared entertainingly creative in class and had, in many ways, according to his own accounts of how he had handled various human relations situations in the past, been operating somewhat outside routine convention.
Covey was quite capable of trying a lot of things other people wouldn't try. So whether or not to actually go ahead with such an outlandish cut-short written answer in a final exam was the question, even if risk-taker S. Covey happened to be the teacher. It was known in my mind well in advance of the test, that the two word answer would be in response to any and all questions the class must answer, not just one, or some of the questions. All questions. The two-word answer was all of it.
Essentially no matter what Covey asked then, the words "stay loose," would be what I was going to write down. The two word answer had become, in my mind, a general response to anything and everything that could come my way as a way of putting me to the test. In the decades to come as a matter of how the two word answer took on a handy utility, the words "stay loose," cropped up regularly as a continuing general response to any manner of discombobulation. "Stay Loose" even became a parting shot. So in that sense, stay loose as an answer to a global set of problems, was a relationship position. It was a way of looking at particular things and all things. At the least it was that day in that exam room. It was a method of responding, generalizeable to an unknown number of challenges.
And with respect to the test, I had no intention to reveal to anyone, anything about my plan or precisely how I was going to write the final exam. In the days immediately before the writing of the examination I met casually from time to time, briefly in passing, with other fellow students walking across the college campus who wondered about the coming test and who vainly tried to predict what sort of exam it was going to be.
Various hypothetical exam scenarios were laid out by students who figured
they could out-figure the professor, but not a word was breathed by me about how truncated I had decided my own final test was going to be. The whole escapade was top secret.
You can imagine that if the plan had ever been suggested, even in confidence to another student, that this two word tactic was an easy way to walk into the exam room and write it, the word would be out. You can further figure that Prof. S. R. Covey could very well at that point come out with a bulletin board warning like "All students will take the allotted three hours and write a minimum of 1500 words..." and so on, etc. So the whole effort would not have worked. It definitely would not have been unique and it would have failed. Tactics told about beforehand lose their novelty and power to surprise. I got a nearly top grade out of that final and a nearly top grade out of the class.