Next time I’ll warn people before bringing a manatee to work

Live and learn, that’s what my grandfather always used to say.

I tend to be one of those people who has to learn through experience, and sometimes, that means learning the hard way.  When I was a kid, I put my hand on a stove burner, and thus, was taught the concept of “hot.”  It took a speeding ticket – 62 in a 25 – before I quit driving like a bat out of hell.  And then last week, when I abruptly showed up at the office dragging a manatee in behind me on a dolly, well, let’s just say I’ll give people a heads up the next time I decide to do such a thing.

The funny part of all this is that, whenever I do make an error, I tend to never make the same mistake twice.  I remember the searing pain from that burning hot stove on my hand back in 1986, or that awful feeling in my gut when I knew the police officer had caught me cruising in my BMW way too fast in 1998.  And I will always – always – vividly recall the shrieks of co-workers as they watched me pull a 1,100-pound aquatic mammal into our office building the other day, shouting things at me like, “What the HELL?!” or “What IS that?” and “Are you out of your God-forsaken mind?”

Whoops!  My bad!   

Don’t get me wrong though: I plan to bring these so-called “sea cows” into work more often just so they can see what life is like outside of the water.  But I’ll warn people before I do.

Without these little life lessons, what would we become?  Our adult lives are built upon the paths we take and the decisions we make.  Sometimes, the decision can be as simple as, say, which deli meats to put upon a sub sandwich.  Then you have more difficult considerations, such as keeping the sideburns or letting them flourish.  And then other times, you wrongfully decide to tell no one that you plan to lug a 10-foot herbivorous ocean beast straight into the halls of your workplace, slopping water and mucous all over the floor and walls as it flops around, and groans, grunts and barks audibly, trying to send signals to the rest of its manatee group, which, unfortunately, are still moping around the warm waters of the south Atlantic somewhere.   

All this, apparently, to the chagrin of your bosses.  Uh, hello?  I don’t recall anything in my contract that said we couldn’t bring marine mammals into work. 

Bud Light or Miller Lite?  Central air or window unit?  Give people a heads up that I plan to bring one of the most endangered species on the planet into my healthcare-supply distribution service company – or don’t? 

Apparently, I chose wrong.  But I’ve learned a valuable lesson:  People don’t like manatees.  Hopefully, my colleagues enjoy pregnant African Rhinos, because they’ll be meeting one next week.

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