Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Role Model Kauai Sis

Who are John and Katie?! I kept hearing their names on ET the other night while not watching. I do a lot of TV listening. I finally gathered that they're a couple on a reality show that I never watch or heard of. Oh well. I'm only one person, I can't be expected to know every "celebrity" out there. It's bad enough that there are thousands of celebrities, now we must contend with real-ebrities, those reality TV people. Give us a break!

On the other hand--if nothing else, I'm a queen of perspective--why shouldn't "ordinary" people be considered celebrities. Why should only actors or musicians or models or athletes or political figures or TV newspeople or authors or doctors or lawyers or or or....get to be rich and famous anyway? Honestly! There are a lot of wonderful people out there who are more deserving.

On this Memorial Day (ok, I'm a day late...see blog below for "Procrastinah, crastinah...")--of course I remember my Dad, but I remember him EVERY day--for some reason I remembered Mr. Tanga. He was one of my bosses at my first job when I was 17. Obviously being a lowly office clerk I had several bosses, but Richard Tanga was the "bossiest." I must acknowledge my granduncle (or is it great uncle?), Tadashi Kato, who got me the job (the first and last time I ever benefited from nepotism) and looking back, it was a terrific job to have as a first (invoice clerk at Davenroy Drycleaners). Uncle Kato was the accountant/office manager and a benevolent, competent boss who supervised me from two doors down and taught me my various tasks, but it was Mr. Tanga, a real "character", who supervised the department for which I made invoices and taught me more memorable lessons.

At first I was a bit taken aback by his gruff manner, but I quickly became used to his forthright style and sometimes unconventional antics. He would grab a metal wastebasket and straddle it as his chair, light a cigarette and start crooning a tune. He'd give me advice while making observations about the many laundry deliverymen such as "You have to watch out for the quiet ones, Colleen." Sure enough, one day out of the blue, the quietest one shocked me by asking me for a date. There were other bits of advice that stayed with me for the past 40 years such as "you don't need an alarm clock, just tell yourself to wake up at a certain time," or "Every morning when I wake up, I drink a glass of warm water, that's why I don't get sick." "Finish the job, finish the job!" he'd scold me if I did something "half-assed". I have mimicked Mr. T. to my hub on occasion, I admit.

Looking back, I see now that he was my first mentor and the first adult to speak frankly to me on an adult level and I wish I could've thanked him for that. I can't remember everything he told me over those 2-3 years, but yet his whole attitude influenced me in a positive way, most of all his sense of humor and his no-BS frankness. Although we never crossed paths after I quit Davenroy almost 40 years ago, I have always regarded him as a memorable character and an important influence in my life.

We should all hope that we, who are not even real-ebrities, can somehow make a positive and lasting impression on a young person and are remembered fondly for the rest of his or her life. Who knows, they might even blog about you 40 years from now.

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