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September 13, 2011 by David Gillaspie

Then Figure Out How To un-Make The Call

Operators Standing By

How often do you get a chance to be definitive?

In the movie The Deer Hunter, Robert DeNiro held a bullet and said “This is this,” to his friends.

Very definitive.

A bullet is a bullet, not a flower. His friends still wondered what the heck he was talking about, but the audience knew the deal.

Before instant replay and review and coaches’ challenge in sports, the referee made the call in a game and it stood.

Baseball isn’t into review and replay yet. They can still make the bad call and make it stand.

In some ways the human eye, human instinct, is the best way to make the call. Gambling, point shaving, and cheating changed things.

Thank you, crooked referee.

When it comes down to being friends, making the call gets tougher. For example, if a friend asks you to be the best man at his wedding, you feel honored he made the call and say yes.

After the wedding you learn the best man is the one cleaning up the rental chapel because all the groom’s other friends are either too cool or too lame to put a chair away or break down a table.

Still, you do it. You made your call by agreeing. Didn’t read the fine print? Ooops.

Friends do odd things, but since they’re friends, you let it slide until you ask a simple favor and they quit on you.

That’s not making the call for friendship, and it hurts.

Another example: There’s one beer left in your house and you open it. One of the regular guys jumps up and claims it is his beer and he wants it.

He goes so far as to try and take it out of your hand. He’s that serious.

“You want this last beer?”

“I do. It’s mine. I bought it. How many have you had?”

“Asking how many beers another guy’s had is a girlfriend question. Let’s keep things on the man level, huh? The beer is in my hand.”

“Give it to me.”

“You want me to hand you this beer because you want it?”

“That’s right. My beer in my hand. Just like that.”

You’ve had this situation before with friends? What did you do? Did you,

A. Give it up? Or,

B. Not give it up?

Neither one works to satisfaction, and satisfaction is all you really want.

It’s not about the beer.

Side note: I had a band with rotating members who gathered to play on Saturday nights for five years. One night, the last night, one of the guys started slamming a microphone around. I told him to stop, even though it wasn’t my mic. He didn’t stop.

The plan was to jam together, not break things.

My idea to calm him down was asking him to step outside, then lock him out until he agreed to stop being the bad boy.

This harmonica player heard it as a threat, that I wanted to take him outside and pound sense into him. While I liked that idea, I would have worn myself out and he’d still be goofy.

Instead, he stopped playing and packed his gear. The house owner asked what he was doing. He said he was leaving instead of fighting. The final results were me getting kicked out of the band, and being shunned until the best man gig. 

They made the call.

Regarding the last beer situation, do this: put the beer bottle on the counter top and say, “There it is, make the call. Take it or leave it.”

Well the guy took it. If he’d left it, I would have split it with him. But he took it.

“This is your call? You’re taking the beer?”


“Final answer? That is your beer and you’re taking it?”

“I’m making the call. Yes, it’s mine and I’m taking it.”

You have to be sure before taking the next step, so review and remind them of their decision to make sure their call on the field of play stands.

“If this is your call, then finalize it by taking a sip of your Coors Light.”

“I don’t have to. It’s my beer and I’ll drink it when I feel like it.”

Once you get to this point, you’re good to proceed.

“Maybe you don’t understand. You made your call to take the beer, right? Now I’ll make my call: Drink up, the party’s over. Chug your special beer and beat it. Now you’re banned from coming over for two weeks. Hit the road.”

This approach doesn’t always work for everyone. But if it’s your house you’ve got at least a 51 to 49 percent approval rating in man-court.

After you make the call and ban a buddy you’ll miss, you might want to reconsider. Be cautious. If you cave and invite them back early, they’ll think you made a bogus call to begin with. You’ll lose any authority to make another call.

There’s only one way to make it better.

Find a third party friend to deliver a message. Tell the banned buddy he can petition for reinstatement.

Or blog it. Real friends read your blog, even subscribe to it. Make it fun and they will understand.


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