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Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Man Standing - Malcom X Bifocals

Kids,

How wig was today?

After 47 years of life, after 30 years of baking in the show, I started off my morning with a voicemail from the optical department saying....

"Hey this is Cynthia from Vision World, your glasses are in and they are awesome!"

Typically sales people like to lie if it helps them make money, but by the tone in Cynthia's voice, I think she was actually serious. You see, several weeks ago I just couldn't see anymore, and my head hurt from staring at monitors and Droid all day.

It was as if my eyeballs simply fried on the spur of the moment.

It may be that I neglected them too long, or perhaps trying to read Moby Dick on a cell phone was the final straw (thanks Quee Queg), either way I had to shove vanity and street cred out of reach and hoist the white flag of surrender.

Now I know some of you people who read this blog, and the first thing you'll say is "Klecko, are you an Idiot? glasses are more than fashionable, they are bad a**!"

For most people, I would agree, but the only problem is.....Danny Klecko is a mongoloid. I kid you not, in fitted caps I wear 8 1/4 - 8 1/2. See what kind of frame options you get with that melon.

As a kid (back before we were raised P.C., my peers lovingly referred to me a either TARDHEAD or BOBBLEHEAD.

So I canvased the Twin Cities finer optical scene, and after much duress It was brought to my attention that if I didn't want to look like John Lennon or Richard Dreyfuss, I would need to get sun glass frames with bifocal lenses inserted.

Cynthia was proud to alert me that technology has come up with a new lens where the bi focal line is invisible....I interrupted her right there.

"Cynthia, - if you are too old to be glam, you gotta rock tribal leader, since my frames are black plastic, if I keep the line, I'm totally throwing down Malcolm X!"

At that moment we were soul mates, she went on to tell me all about her frame ideologies, but my mind drifted quickly.

So off to work, back in the shop and I pick up the frames. I'm starting to kinda feel old so I decided to try them out. Next I walk into my office, pull up e-mails, and to my delight I get one from Peter Nowicki. Mr. Nowicki is the last Bread Masters that I have that is still in the industry.

Master Galloway vanished, Master Kiwus died, Master Zolick has been retired for over 10 years, Master Ludke became a government accountant, and now when I read through Master Nowicki's e-mail....he announced that as of March 2nd he is retiring from SuperMoms.

OMG, at first I felt sick to my stomach, just like I did the day I heard President Reagan died, or the morning I was told Johnny Cash passed away. I'm a reasonable guy, but there are certain people, and certain experiences that transcend time.

I swear to Caesar I thought the "MAN in BLACK" would be like Melchizedek and live forever, but people shedding their mortal coil is a whole different thing than having your support base gradually dissipate.

It's not like I visited Master Nowicki more than twice a year, but every time I drove through Washington County, or every time I drove by a Super America gas station I felt.....I don't even know what to call it, but I know it always reminded me that there was not just a business, or a system out there that I plugged into, but there have been people who couldn't be any more different than me in their personal lives, but they were willing to put religion,politics and the overall knowledge of what a "F" up I've been earlier in life, and still they mentored me.

Why? Because (now I'm getting all New Age - sorry G.O.P.) because we both had a reverence for how holy baking can be,you hear people say "it's in my blood." I believe that about my commitment, and even more so I know my teachers felt the same way,but I also believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that I rose to the top of my field because I i didn't merely accept training, I begged to be an indentured servant.

It's the only way to achieve greatness. You can never-ever-ever have (or even desire to have) equal footing with a Master. If you did, your growth would cease to exist.

I've called this blog LAST AMERICAN BAKER for many reasons, some of them I'll go on to tell, and others I won't be at liberty to, but one thing is for sure.....today's society and standards would forbid the training I received.

The days of working 50 12-16 days in a row are over. The days of not reporting fist fights, gun pulled, the days of shift leaders leaving "controlled items" in locker #43, the days of building unions, and breaking unions simply are not allowed anymore.

Instead they become memory's to old men who argue as to which perceptions are valid and which ones are nothing more than bull****.

All those hours,& recipes and strategies. The opportunity to watch people promoted and kings deposed, after awhile they are nothing more than memory's that float through our memory just as static flour drifts upward into OSHA required ventilation systems.

For the first time in my career.....I'm alone. sure there are others in my guild who have played as long, but none of them were Klecko mentors.

For the first time in my career - I am on my own. I'm not sure I like this at all.

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