I'm not the type of guy who likes to throw his opinions around willy-nilly. Most of the time, I'm happy enough to just sit back and take in what everyone else has to say. Once in a great while, though, I'll decide to speak up and make my feelings known, and when I do, boy, you'd better believe that nobody pays any attention.
Yes, sir. You can pretty much hear a pin drop whenever Peter Grossman opens his mouth to talk. A pin drop, a couple people speaking directly over him, the sound of someone checking their voicemail, and usually some loud coughing or throat-clearing of some kind.
I may not say very much. But trust me, those around me hear even less.
Maybe it's the fact that I'm a thoughtful individual. Or maybe it's the fact that I don't usually voice my opinions unless I feel quite strongly about them. All I know is every time that I do, people immediately stop whatever it is they're doing, quickly conclude that I'm not at all critical to the discussion at hand, and then roundly dismiss anything and everything that I've had to say.
A man of few words? Yes. But those few words, let me tell you, they carry almost no weight whatsoever.
In fact, sometimes people won't even notice I'm around until I pipe up and say something they hadn't considered before. Afterward, though, you can always tell that they're thinking, "Wait a second, did that guy just talk? Because if he did, I sure as hell wasn't listening." It's kind of impressive, actually, to watch everyone suddenly turn toward you, blink once or twice, and then turn slowly back to their discussions as if nothing at all happened.
What can I say? When Peter Grossman speaks, people usually nod, mutter something indistinct beneath their breath, and then get up to make coffee.
Take yesterday, for instance. Everyone was sitting around the conference table arguing over the best way to cut down on frivolous expenditures. You know: Lots of yelling and throwing out the first thought or idea that came to mind. For 20 minutes or so I kept quiet. I just sat there, trying to work out a solution in my head, trying to give the problem the attention and care it deserved. And believe you me, when I finally found that elegant solution, and had a chance to put in my two cents, I was instantly showered with eye-rolling, knee-jerk dismissal, and please-Peter-not-nows.
In the end, we wound up going with Michael Bromberg's suggestion, which admittedly was the loudest, and which he repeated at least 10 times while gesticulating wildly, but you could still tell that everyone took what I had to contribute with a massive grain of salt.
I guess what I'm trying to say is— [Editor's note: We would like to thank guest columnist Peter Grossman for his time and his valuable opinions on whatever this editorial was about, but due to space considerations, we are forced to cut his piece short.]