SO apparently, the creator of the Slinky® was incredible wealthy at a young age and then left his wife and 6 children for a cult.
Those of you that know me know that I’ve grown tired of zingers and one-liners due to their overuse, but, I must admit that this opener was undeniable.
This morning, on my walk home from work, I was very tired. I got to my street for the homestretch and I could feel the cotton sheets caressing my face in my subconscious. Just then, a white man walked up to me.
“You look like you’re dressed for an interview!”, the man said, quite jovially.
“I’m actually on my way home from work.” I wasn’t trying to show that I really wanted to go because he’d went out of his way to come and talk to me.
His name is Bob Swaim, and I had no idea how big a deal he was until I Googled him a second ago.
Bob is about 5’10”, white haired, bushy eyebrowed dude who falls somewhere in between typical Central Pennsylvanian and Southern Gentleman, aesthetically. Bob disclosed to me that he was a bike collector (see link above) and was in town for PSU’s Ag Progress Days. After suggesting that I check that out, he asked me questions about my job and I told him I was a night auditor.
“I bet you have all sorts of stories then, huh?” He let out a sincere chuckle. “I have a friend who’s a funeral director and he wrote a blog about it. It’s hilarious! He’s got a couple stories of his own.”
His friend’s name is Caleb Wilde and his blog is here, if you wanted to check it out. Looks interesting to me.
Bob went on talking to me and asking me questions and alluding to the fact that he thought I was a business student. As tired as I was, I found myself sort of warming up to this strange man. He’d engage me in something that seemed so alien but felt so right – a face to face conversation with a stranger.
We got to a point in the conversation where we were talking about where I’d come from, and he took particular interest in my background, asking me about my interest in communications media.
“So, is that like TV and radio stuff? I guess it’s everything, haha!”, Bob said.
“Actually I’m moreso interested in audio engineering. This hotel gig is more transitional.”, I replied.
The next part rocked me.
“That’s good. It’s better to struggle for a long time and then be successful. If you don’t struggle a while, you won’t have any foundation.”
My interest was piqued. Where did that come from?, I thought. I’ve been having a rough week and struggle was really weighing me down. This is why I love old people. No offense, Bob, I think you’re awesome.
“Say you were given a couple million dollars right now, Vince. It would probably ruin your life.” I was still listening. “That’s just like the guy who invented the Slinky. He was about 28 years old when he got rich off of that thing. He ended up leaving his wife and six kids for a cult. Crazy, right?” Indeed it was.
“It’s really better to struggle all your life and THEN be successful. If you gain success too early, you won’t be grounded. It was nice meeting you, Vince! Have a good one.”
He walked away. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn’t, but he encouraged me so much this morning. It’s funny/sad that this man striking up a friendly conversation with me is odd. I’m really glad I opened up to it though. God truly used him, with tact and precision, simply to encourage me to continue to go through what I am going through. I’m amazed.
To quote my awesome roomate, Mike Swanson:
“You act surprised, but you shouldn’t be.”
I hear you, God.