Debate was something you could not do by yourself. You had a partner, and you won or lost together, and there is something about being closely linked with someone else that has always worked better for me. Growing up I was Dad’s assistant, always anticipating the tool he would need, and having it ready. So it is not that surprising that I enjoy the energy of working with someone else closely. On this particular weekend, I was teamed up with a woman who I worked really well with, and we won a lot of rounds and tournaments. She was also a great Orator, and she had to participate in a Semi-Final which meant she could not go to the store… which explained why I was in line buying tampons…
… which is never easy for any man, but a 15-year-old boy, in a suit with a BIG butterfly bow tie, on a Saturday… at a Skaggs Albertson in North Dallas, Texas – walking down the aisle that most boys avoided… Luckily she was very specific, so I knew what brand, color, etc… and quickly found it and went to check out. It was good preparation or the adult world… there are often times when you look around, and… it is you that has to do something. Ready or not, this Feat is here, and you have to complete it… or at least attempt it. I paid the clerk who luckily was a woman who asked no questions, and simply rang up the sale. I was so glad she did not need a price check 😉 Oh, and I am pretty sure my partner won the Oratory contest at that tournament and went on to be a very successful lawyer…and the person who talked me into running for Student Body President 😉
I ran out of room yesterday to talk about Neon Park – the artist behind all of the Little Feat Album covers except their first. They set a style that matched the music – quirky, odd, full of references that are fun to explore. In researching the music for this week I have found that many of the lyrics (and covers) have a lot of sexual overtones that I completely missed…or are not there 😉 Either way, by the third album, a core band was completed for the most successful period. Paul Barrere was a friend of Lowell’s from High School and joined as a second guitar player who was proficient on both slide, lead, and rhythm, allowing Lowell to switch off on some songs. It also bent the music to be much more New Orleans Funk based, and you hear that pivot on this album, along with the long jams that would become a trademark. This version is live and you see Paul featured during his break, and the easy way they partner together.
The album didn’t sell well at first… but luckily in that era, Warner was known for sticking with artists, and they developed a loyal following particularly with musicians, many of whom across the country couldn’t quit their day jobs and pursue their dreams… but saw those who did and supported them. Their next album took off, and with Waiting For Columbus, it was “discovered” and is one of the songs that defines them to this day. It is the story of a man who meets a woman in the lobby of the Commodore Hotel, believing her to be the love of his life – only to find as he tells the story, the other people at the bar add details – all realizing they have all be had by the same woman.
I ran across a definition of partner one time that sticks to this day: someone who knows something that if disclosed would damage your reputation… and never would. People may see that as naive, but I have seen it, experienced it first hand, and believe that it works. Think about my partner trusting me to do that task for her? It is something that every person needs to define for themselves – what Feat would you be willing to do on behalf of someone else? Lately, I have been demonstrating that to leaders – looking over my shoulder – remembering times when I did that, and realized… I had to do it. Never easy, and may or may not be rewarded, but critical to teams. I have been blessed with so many partners over the years, and it pays such rich rewards I am puzzled by those who don’t. It is risky, sure. but as we listen to this staple of Little Feat, think about what will keep you from being a… Dixie (or otherwise) Chicken.