Thursday, October 19, 2006


Another insightful occurrence this week has given me a paradigm shift.

While working my dream job, I stop in the cafeteria and am shocked to see my man Ray flashed up on the TV screen. The purpose of the screen is to display birthdays, quality alerts, and plant successes such as “130 days without accidents”. Well today Rays’ picture flashes on the screen and it says something to the effect of “Our Condolences to the Ray Hill family”.


I go to Human Resources and have found out, Ray has passed away. Not the best way to be notified, but it’s reality.

Now, let’s be truthful. Ray wasn’t my greatest friend. Nothing annoys me more, then when someone passes away and suddenly he or she was all things to all people. When Proof (from D12) passed away, suddenly everybody in the Detroit area knew Proof. “Aww I just seem him the other day” or “I was just kickin’ it with his cousin”. When Tupac died, everybody was a Tupac fan. When someone dies, people come out of the woodworks claiming all kind of unsubstantiated dealings with that person. Why not? Who can dispute it. The person is dead.

Let’s call Ray exactly what he was. He was a cool guy who worked on our assembly line. Not a good friend, not even a friend so to speak, but an associate. Ray was the guy who was a fatherly type, and when you walked out to the plant floor, he would take off his glove, give you a pound and ask how things were.

He was the guy who reminded you of your father and gave you the encouraging words that you needed to hear. After a difficult meeting he would tell you not to keep your cool, walk around the plant and go back and fight another day. As my marriage fell apart he let me know that I would be a better person and that I can move on knowing I tried my best. He pushed me to keep my small business up and running. With all the good advice, smiles and encouraging words, never once did he mention his Cancer. Ray lost his first wife and child in a fire years back, but you would never know from his demeanor and attitude.

These people are few and far between. Now I’m not necessarily over saddened by Ray’s untimely departure, but it has thrown me into one of my deep thought sessions. I know Ray would be telling me to keep my head up, keep pushing until I reach my goals.

Once you are an adult no one keeps pushing you to become a better you. Children in today’s schools are told they are doing a good job when they are average. At work people are told they are working hard, and doing a “Great Job” when in fact they are just performing their jobs to expected levels. Whatevery your trying to accomplish, Ray would remind you that people who aren’t nearly as talented, or smart, or driven as you have already accomplished what you are trying to do, so you have no excuse.

You can go years without hearing anyone telling you that you can work harder, that you can do more, exercise more, think more, plan more. Where is that motivating push in society. We have become pansy asses, afraid of criticism and failure.

Ray’s spirit will be another tool in my arsenal to keep pushing toward my goals. This blogsight, my Sisters’ my friend Big Steve, and my girlfriend are all motivators to keep pushing. I am surrounded by people who dish out honest advice, constructive criticism, and lead by example.

Let’s give a shout out for brother Ray! Rest in Peace.


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