My friend, George, who earlier readers of this column will remember as the ginseng evangelist, is a wise man in many ways. He’s also a freaking lunatic, as evidenced by his decision, when I offered him an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the country, to haul us off to Wasau, Wisconsin, in July, to study domestic ginseng cultivation. That’s right, with New Orleans, San Francisco, the Rocky Mountains and the glorious Southwest on the table, George chose rural Wisconsin so he could learn how to grow ginseng. That’s the lunatic part.
The evidence for wisdom is contained in a pearl he has shared with me in a variety of different circumstances: there are always more solutions than problems. I repeat: there are always more solutions than problems. This gnomic morsel, I think, suggests that every problem has a variety of solutions so the universe of solutions is larger than the galaxy of problems. Something like that. This has given me hope in many difficult situations: if I take my time, examine the problem from different angles and breathe, a solution will appear. Since it’s always worked—I am a man with no problems right now other than single-digit temperatures outside the Tiny White Box and a particularly gassy Sam (is a dog) inside—I have to give George credit.
I first met George four years ago, when he was completing a stay as a resident of the state facility for the convicted and I was director of Liberty House. Since that time, George was first a good resident, then a good volunteer, then a good paid employee of Liberty House in charge of donations and volunteers. If you’ve dropped anything off at Liberty House in the last three years, George is the energetic 70-year-old man who looks like a professor of history, a Vermont shopkeeper or an ardent vegetarian, all depending on your background.
I left Liberty House in August. Things change. Priorities change. Despite George having become a fixture, organizing the food and clothing so generously donated by the community, his position has been eliminated effective December 31. I assume there are reasons for this decision, but it hasn’t been any of my business for the last four months. George and his future, though, are my business. Hence, this.
I’d like to help George find a job before Christmas. He’s hard-working as hell, smart as hell, talented as hell, honest as hell and, despite his lunacy, a great employee. He started off as a volunteer at Liberty House, soon spending so much time that I couldn’t help but create a paid position for him. In the time I’ve known George, he has been scrupulously, religiously, annoyingly honest about anything not belonging to him. One time in particular, while he was going through donations, George found a brown leather belt with a zipper on the back. When he opened it, $600 was inside the money belt. With no cameras to record his behavior and no way to identify the donor, most men would have applied the moral calculus of “finders keepers, losers weepers” and pocketed the money. Not George. He brought me every penny of it. This kind of thing happened over and over, George finding large and small amounts of money inside pockets while processing donated clothing, and bringing the cash to be listed as donations to Liberty House.
George, age 70 but with the energy of a man 20 years younger, seeks employment. His organizational skills are outstanding as is his character. While he can be a pain in the ass, he works as hard as three other employees. I would trust him in any situation, and he has shared Thanksgiving with my daughters and me on more than one occasion, not as an act of charity on our part, but because George is a good guy and a family friend.
If you need an employee who will give you every bit of energy and knowhow that he’s got, and will work until the job is done, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org ) your contact information and I’ll pass it on to George. If you end up hiring him, you may get a dollop of wisdom like, “There are always more solutions than problems.” If you or your family is planning a trip, though, don’t let George know. He’s a freaking lunatic in that area.