What is it like being the best? You are asking the wrong person. I have never really been the best at anything, to be honest. I was not the smartest student in school, but I tried. I spent many years of my childhood playing baseball, but was surely not the best… I was an ok fielder, decent at batting and could steal some bases here and there, but certainly no one feared me when I came to the plate, but they knew I would try and would take my swing. Any head-on look at my nose will tell you how good of a fighter I was as a kid. Never known for being the best dressed, a badge I continue to wear proudly to this day, actually. Never known for being the best looking, but someone in High School apparently thought so, although I don’t remember who.
And no comments, please, about the PENN STATE attire… I was young and dumb. I am #Drexel4ever! I was FAR from the best in college, but as always…was known for trying hard, never quitting… yawn, right? Out into the world, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and full of mostly unattainable dreams. During this time, I was always comparing myself with those I thought were the best. How could I be smarter, faster, and tougher than them? What could I do to be better, considering I was small, not that smart and had no good looks to speak of? If I don’t say that, many will respond to this Newsletter and say it anyway. Trying is something I quietly and relentlessly work on. The people in my office would disagree with the ‘quietly’ part as they see my tenacious attitude I carry in this business and my willingness to argue and fight at the drop of a hat. Relax Denny... take a chill pill is something I sometimes hear. Well… I hear it a lot, actually. I am secretly obsessed with TRYING to be the best. I cannot escape it, and frankly, I don’t want to. The most I can do is try to control it so as not to freak everyone out. But in my mind, I am incessantly Calculating, Assessing, Predicting, Hedging and being Relentless. This is what I call my CAPHR routine. I do it constantly… with everything. I would compare it to (although I have never had one, nor will I) a runner’s high or a release of dopamine to my system. I didn’t do this as much when I was younger, although some say I did, but I don’t recall it that way which is all that matters. But now, I can tell that I do, I can see that I do and can feel that I do. It is no longer about being the best; it is about the pursuit to be the best. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey". That fits perfectly for me. In fact, the bumpier the road, the better. The minute you stop slashing and burning, you get weak and then you lose. It is like dangling a carrot in front of a racehorse. If he ever got it, he would stop. So please, knock me down… I love to get back up. It is almost as fun as being knocked down. I hate to say it, but this is my/our business SPOT ON! We are knocked down every single day by regulatory agencies, clients, planning commissions and neighbors. Hell people are PAID to knock me down. They are hired, brought in, and recruited to knock me down. They meet ahead of time to discuss how to knock me down and on their side is every regulatory body you could swing a stick at. Don’t believe me? Try litigating if grass is green at our county courthouse. If the Township says grass is red, our courts will uphold their decision. But this is exactly how I like it… you are just pushing me into the routine that brings me happiness over and over. As I have said many times… no one is happy when I am in town. I bring nothing but change in the form of stormwater, traffic, light pollution and those dreaded school-age children that will need to be educated. WAAA GET OUT OF MY YARD!! Send your letters, organize your Facebook campaigns, come out to the meetings, appeal me and tell me how little I know and how stupid I am... you are simply feeding my CAPHR routine… so by all means… I will gladly take a second and third helping!
Growing up, I had four older cousins right next door to me. Being older and bigger, I was low-hanging fruit to be picked on, and it would piss me off to no end. My cousin Wayne would always make me cry one way or another. “Here Denny, touch this spark plug wire or sneak up on those geese out in the field (which upon getting about 3 feet from I realized were decoys). Hysterical right??!!! I’d get mad, want to fight, lose, go home crying, calling him every cuss word I could think of. Five minutes later, I would be back for more… take a swing at him, get hit back, lose, cry, cuss and go home… this time twice as mad. Five minutes later… back for more with a bat or shovel or something. Yeh, I am sure this explains a lot. But the point is… I knew my ass would get kicked, probably deserved to get kicked, but I went back for more and more. Good life lessons? For sure. Learn to get picked on, suck it up… learn to get your ass kicked, it is going happen in more ways than you can imagine, especially if you become an engineer and join our team… get up and go back for more, learn to love it! Keep trying to be better and be the best and you just may be the best. I won’t, but I will love to keep trying.