A Few Stories

Inspiration

02 If only two choices

Metaxia, my grandmother (Yiayia), was a nice person but like most Greek mamas of her generation she was demanding and controlling. I asked her once why. Her reply was that as a result of being forced to flee Asia Minor from Turkey due to the great upheavals of those days,having lost everything, and having to live in Greece for years without her husband (Prokopios) she decided then and there that if life only gave her two choices then her life, no matter everyone around her, was going to be her way. Stubborn or a survivor?

09 Magnanimous in victory, devastating in defeat

 One must love one’s strategic enemies,not only to better understand them, but more importantly out of respect – for one is only as powerful as his or her opponent; and it is only through great enemies that can one complete great journeys. So – magnanimous in victory. As for defeat, every victorious opponent must always be made to feel like Pyrrus, King of ancient Epirus,whose victorious army suffered tremendous losses against the defeated Romans in280-279BC at Heraclea and Asculum. “Another such victory, and I am undone” as his defeated opponents devastated his army. It’s about respect, love and the future. Of course, to the victors go the spoils of war – Pyrrus achieved long lasting historical fame for his Pyrrhic victory. And for the Romans – perhaps one had to think twice about making them an enemy.

 13 A leader’s worst enemy

There we were on the other team’s one-yard line, fourth and last attempt. I had engineered a slow but steady drive to their goal line. I could have given the ball to our excellent half back or to our excellent fullback. I didn’t; I should have. I called a quarterback sneak where I kept the ball and was stopped dead cold at the goal line. I failed as a leader. Is success burying one’s ego and winning or glorifying one’s ego and scoring for… promotions, pay, whatever?

16 Flying and Frying

Flying at 30,000 feet when I get a sweet sickening (to me) smell. I look around and I can’t believe that someone is smoking pot on an Air Force C-130. I get up and passing a window Isee beautiful orange flashing against a beautiful sky blue – absolutely stunning except that the number 2 engine was on fire. I go to the cockpit and ask to get plugged into the communication system; I wanted to hear it all and then and there decided that if I was to die, I wanted to see the final crash into the Rocky Mountains. What do I hear: the crew debating whether to go up to 35,000 feet and the lack of oxygen will put the fire out and then we make a landing in Las Vegas, “stuck” there for repairs; OR land just below us but in a dry state (alcohol not easily available)? Naturally everyone shouts Vegas and then someone asks, “Has he (“me” that is) passed the altitude chamber?” All eyes are on me as I now have “command” of the ship… “uh, No” only to hear “oh f..k!” The crew panicked as the dry state’s horizon loomed. We made a cool emergency landing with a raging fire – and then spent a few days sober “frying” until the spare part arrived. Panicking destroys both the view and the experience – what really counts, isn’t it?

17 Hope

…a useless desire bringing nothing. A Warrior doesn’t hope. S/he expects, plans, watches, waits…and when the time the Warrior chooses is upon him or her… offense begins. In life, a Warrior wins, loses or draws, and like Yoda does or does not – where does hope fit in except perhaps take the mind to useless and unproductive thoughts?