On December 7, 2022

Back in the game

By Dom Cioffi

I’m on a business trip this week about five hours from my home. The company I work for is having their products installed at a remote location and I needed to be available for help in a particular area.

I made the trip on Sunday night so I could wake up and be ready to go early Monday morning. I hate leaving for business trips on Sundays. That’s my day to relax and enjoy the things I like to enjoy. I feel cheated when I have to give up that time, and even though I tell myself I’ll get those hours back later in the workweek, I never do.

I arrived on scene Monday morning. I was the first one there (which is usually the case), so I waited in my truck for the others to arrive. A half hour later a couple work trucks pulled up and six workmen converged on the scene.

I met everyone and introduced myself. These were rugged construction guys who are always suspicious of someone from the corporate office. They were polite but obviously apprehensive at my presence.

My first goal is to always put everyone at ease. I’ve learned over the years that things go a lot smoother when you get the guys doing the hard labor on your side. It took about an hour, but soon enough, I had a good rapport with everyone.

My second goal is simply to capture the information I need while staying out of the way and not slowing things down. I’m good at this and the guys generally notice and are appreciative. The last thing they want is their work schedule being slowed down.

By lunchtime, we all had some good laughs, which does wonders to ease any tension. The owner of the project had food brought in, so we gathered around and filled our plates and started chatting casually.

I ended up walking outside where another guy was leaning over a railing smoking a vape pen. He and I got to talking and for the next 20 minutes I learned his entire life story.

Chris was in his early 30s, he had gotten married only a few months earlier and his new wife had already thrown him out. He was now in the process of trying to get her back. I could tell by his forlorn demeanor that he was at a crossroads in his life.

Normally, I might shy away from engaging in this kind of conversation. I’m not one to take on anyone’s crazy, but this kid seemed determined. He was also taking full responsibility for his actions and never once made an excuse (that has always been my gauge to see if someone is truly ready to change).

The other thing he did was ask questions. He wanted to know what I had done in my own life to find success. I gave him a couple nuggets of wisdom that I’ve also relayed to my son. He listened intently and shook his head often. His eyes stared at me with an intensity that said he was truly listening to every word I spoke. Because of this, I felt responsible to give him my best, most thoughtful advice.

Although he never admitted to using drugs or alcohol, I was confident this was his issue. Something inside this kid spoke to a deep-rooted pain that he was not attending to. Life had dealt this kid a tough hand and he was now dealing with the collateral damage. In so many words, I told Chris that no one gets anywhere good without help. I hope he took those words to heart.

We wandered back inside and everyone went back to work for the afternoon. I watched Chris with different eyes from that point forward. He was a good worker who seemed to be trying his best, but every once in a while, he’d stop and appear to be lost in thought.

The job ended and everyone packed up to head out. We said our goodbyes and hopped into our trucks to leave. Just as I was pulling away, Chris walked over and motioned to me. I rolled down my window and listened as he apologized for dumping his problems on me. I assured him it was fine and that I appreciated him confiding in me. I then looked him straight in the eye and with all the intensity I could muster said, “Be a good man. Deep down you know what that is so just do it.”

He smiled and thanked me and then walked away. His gait looked confident, like someone who was prepared to take advantage of a second chance.

Speaking of second chances, Lindsey Lohan is back in the movies with the premiere of her new film, “Falling for Christmas.”

I love second chance stories that work out. With that said, I’m not sure “Falling for Christmas” is proof of any comeback for Lohan. This film is a cheesy, Hallmark-style holiday tryst that has predictability written all over it. Sure, there’s some Yuletide cuteness to seeing Lohan all bundled up in ski gear, but other than that, it’s an average romp at best.

Check this one out if you’re a Christmas film addict no matter how cheezy the storyline. Otherwise, wait for the new “Avatar” film. A campy “C-” for “Falling for Christmas,” now available for streaming on Netflix.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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