The Peabody Hotel is in Memphis, TN. It is a historic hotel, one of the more popular hotels in America. I was there during the filming of the Tom Cruise movie The Firm. I did not see him or anyone else from the movie. The niche of the Peabody is the duck walk they have twice per day. The ducks stay in a suite, so they say, in the Penthouse. Every morning a guy in a tux comes down the elevator with the ducks and they walk down a piece of red carpet to the pool in the hotel lobby. People gather to see these ducks do their walk. In the afternoon they do it all over again.
Alcoa Recycling had a nationals manager’s meeting at the Peabody. I can’t remember the year. I went to this conference. We toured the Memphis facility and took another tour of a processing plant I believe. This was one of the more agonizing moments of my life. The agony had little to do with the trip, the people or the work. It was all about me; it was all my fault. As a fundamentalist with an anger problem it was a recipe for disaster. I simply refused to fit in. I could not have been more self-righteous, arrogant, stubborn or angry. I had standards which no one in my company believed or practiced. It was an exercise in debauchery according to me.
There were wives flirting with the opposite sex. Many husbands were doing the same thing. There was drinking, lewd jokes and more. In one of the plenary meetings they showed an org chart that had “God” under the CEO. It was supposed to be a joke. By that time I was at my self-righteous limit. Sometime during the week I went to my room after dinner, took out my large print KJV bible, laid it on the floor and begin to pray that God might convert them and give me grace to endure this conference.
As I was waiting for the car to come to pick me up and take me back to the airport I was sitting in the lobby of the Peabody watching the player piano and began a rough draft to the President of the company sharing my opinions about the events of this conference. It was a mean, scathing, angry, self-righteous indictment of the company, the people in the company and my utter disgust with their attitudes and behavior. It was the low-point of my tenure. This low point was not because of their sin; it was because of mine. I was totally out of step with reality, my culture, expectations of pagans and a reasonable methodology on reaching my culture. I couldn’t have been more arrogant. I was ticked and they were going to know about it. They were wrong and I was right. I could not see clearly. They were behaving according to their worldview. I wanted them to be as holy as I was without being regenerated and if they were not going to be converted then they should not act like sinners in front of me. Yep, I was winning friends and influencing people. I was influencing people for sure. This was the beginning of their plan to fire me. They accomplished that by downsizing and shutting the plant down two years later.