Alexander’s Nugget: “Hunting Rats and Lightning Storms”

BLOG,Nuggets February 5, 2012 18:50

Today, Chef Alexander Nagi answers PenTales 5 Life Lessons Questions. (Got some heard-learned lesson or some nuggets of wisdom to share? Time to spill them here.)

1. Who is your hero and why?
I truly admire people that have misguided convictions, that are not afraid of being wrong, that enjoy experimenting, not necessarily in a quest for personal betterment, or knowledge, but more from a need to sate their overwhelming curiosities.
For instance, do you think the first person who figured out that hemlock was a poisonous plant did so by conducting a long controlled study on it?   Hell no!  That person just happened to be around one of these heroes I speak of, who was curious enough to think it was a good idea to eat hemlock!  So the villager who came back to camp with the knowledge that it’s in everyone’s best interest to not eat hemlock was celebrated, but in fact, not a person that possessed the qualities I admire.  With that said, it’s true, my heroes either require one of these, non-joiners, to be around, or need to be very lucky.  As was the case for Benjamin Franklin and his son William, when they decided it was a good idea to fly a kite with an iron key attached to it, in a lighting storm!
2. What was your dream job when you were a child?
I love, love, love all animals, every one of them!  So killing rats for $50.00 a day with a bonus of $20.00 for every rat killed, in my Father’s warehouse, couldn’t have possibly been my favorite childhood job, but it was!
My brother and I were equipped with high powered pellet guns, flash lights and a pocket full of slugs for the two vending machines located in the lobby of the first floor of my Father’s warehouse.  These vending machines provided my brother and I with an endless supply of junk food and sodas – what could be wrong with this job???  Oh yeah, killing hard working rats that were just trying to provide for their families…and during the holidays no less.  You see, this was a job my father invented to help us earn some extra money to buy Christmas presents.  You can see the irony here, right?  Peace on Earth and all that and here I was, trying to find a good vantage point to kill from.  While my friends were packing groceries in bags, shoveling driveways and working on Christmas tree farms.  I was wrestling with thoughts of killing defenseless animals for money!  So why was this my favorite childhood job you ask?  It’s simple!  We were lucky enough to never see a single rat!  My brother and I used our collection of empty soda cans to create a sort of, “tin can alley” to practice our marksmanship.  Some of the best moments of my life were spent with my brother over those five days.  We had some great laughs and for the first time in our young lives, connected with each other, creating a bond that’s still with us today.
Years later, I asked my father if he ever solved his rat problem at the warehouse and he said, “never heard of or saw a rat in that building in all the years I owned it” then he gave me a knowing smile as if to say, spending time with family during the holidays is always time well spent, no matter what you’re doing.
3. Is there any motto you follow?
“The truth will always set you free!”  You might not be the most popular person if you live your life with that as your motto, but your word will never be in question.  Some hurt feelings along the way are a small price to pay to preserve your integrity.
4. What’s something that you think always holds true?
Math!  It’s the only universal language that spans the universe.  In my opinion, math is so “true” that it has the ability to rob us of free will if we study it enough.  We’re all very complex equations living within a greater, more complex equation that’s solving itself.  With any luck this giant equation we’re all a part of will have a solution that repeats itself.  So if we’re very lucky, or very unlucky, we may be seeing each other again…and again…and again…
4.What’s something your parents told you that turned out to be right?
Aliens are coming to take us back home…oh wait, that hasn’t happened yet.  Ummmmm, awkward…
How about, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!”  Its a saying my father pounded into me from a very young age and it has served me well for years.  I find myself using the line quite often to help my staff stay focused on the job at hand, or to help them get back on track if they make a mistake.  It’s a saying that provides any situation the ability to end well if the person who believes it doesn’t give up.
Oh and…
“You’ll understand when you have kids of your own” :).  Boy, do I!

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