Skip to main content

Let’s Reclaim Critical Thinkin

By Tim Hayes The young man, fresh from earning a bachelor’s degree in musical theater, found himself auditioning for a small troupe in New York City advertising itself as a company of actors performing skits and songs for school assemblies. Thrilled with the opportunity and ecstatic to have been accepted into the traveling troubadours, he […]

Business Blog: The Truth Works...

The Big Idea: People will forgive honest and sincere repentance. By Tim Hayes She was busted, and she knew it. I had her dead to rights. One of my daughters, maybe three years old at the time, with her hand literally in the cookie jar. So I removed the treat from her little fist, sat […]

Bless You, Ms. Rita Jean

While this particular school year will certainly stand out for its abrupt shift to home-based learning, this story may actually have greater resonance than ever. By Tim Hayes Dismissal on the last day of school. Hundreds of elementary-age students poured out from their school building, heading for buses or their parents’ cars, bursting with the […]

Tug of War

By Tim Hayes Tug had some free time one crisp autumn afternoon during a four-day sales conference in Washington, DC, and decided to take a walk around the National Mall. Soon he happened upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the stark, striking, severe, yet unsettlingly peaceful granite “V” descending below ground level, carrying the engraved names […]

Business Blog: Doing Solitary ...

By Tim Hayes The Big Idea: Rigid chains of command stifle healthy dialogue. Many years ago, when I was a PR greenhorn at a large corporation, I had returned from an assignment at a field office and approached the first floor elevators to get back to my little cubicle. Ahead of me walked the CEO […]

A Band, Some Babes, and Buddy

By Tim Hayes Negotiations had hit a snag. The two sides needed to walk away from the bargaining table for a while. Good thing, because their respective mothers had begun calling them to dinner anyway. I had three shoeboxes full of baseball cards, purchased at the local family-owned corner store, quickly looked at, then unceremoniously […]

Baked Potato

By Tim Hayes So it wasn’t exactly Tom Sawyer and his gang. We never faked our own deaths, explored in mysterious caves, or floated down a river on a raft. But we did bake some potatoes. Sort of. Right behind the houses across the street from mine stood a field. A miracle of a field. […]

Eugene and the Band Camp Blowu...

By Tim Hayes On a scorching late August morning, our high school marching band’s drum section, yours truly included, gathered under the limited shade of a withering tree at band camp, to work on our cadences – the drum patterns that the entire band marched to during parades and when coming onto or off of […]

Heaven Scent

By Tim Hayes When I think of my Grandma, I think of the scents she created. A young bride, married at the age of 15 in 1920, she bore six children, including my mother. Over the course of her life, she made a safe, happy, thriving home for her own offspring, and a source of […]

Business Blog: CEO as Storytel...

The Big Idea: People may hear facts, but they listen to stories. By Tim Hayes Amid economic challenges, companies need to transform themselves, adapting to survive and even move ahead. But given the volume of coverage and advisory-oriented information out there, surprisingly little attention is paid to the role of one important person – the […]

The Hozzleberry Rosary

By Tim Hayes Every now and then, you just get skunked. With no time for adequate preparation, you end up improvising, making do with what’s on hand. Occasionally you get lucky and it works out, but most times the resulting lack of quality pretty much matches the lack of foresight and forethought. This dictum holds […]

More Scenes from a Pandemic

By Tim Hayes And now, for your reading pleasure, more Scenes from a Pandemic: = = = = = The hair situation has careened into irrefutably problematic territory. It feels as though there is a separate, living, increasingly uncontrolled organism atop my head. It has heft. It has motion. It has a sentient aura that […]

Business Blog: Potentially Ugl...

The Big Idea: Don’t fear honest evaluation. By Tim Hayes One winter here in the Northeast delivered sucker punch after sucker punch. We soldiered on under record snowfalls that made transportation difficult, tempers short, and electricity iffy. The local utility company liked to tell us that power interruptions could and would be worse if they […]

Miss Four of Diamonds

By Tim Hayes Growing up in an urban middle-class neighborhood, boys like me dreamed of getting a mini-bike. And not a small bicycle, mind you, but a mini-bike – a miniature motorcycle. The noise, the power, the ability to go a hell of a lot faster than your scrawny little knobbly-kneed legs could take you. […]

Spam, the New Plastics

By Tim Hayes Glancing through the news items online the other day, one headline virtually leaped off the screen and emblazoned itself onto my eyeballs. “In Midst of Pandemic, Sales of Spam Skyrocket.” Huh? Did I read that properly? Spam? That slimy canned chunk of ground-up pig parts that they couldn’t find anything else to […]

Diamond in the Dirt

By Tim Hayes The community park where the Little League baseball games got played as I grew up featured dirt. A lot of dirt. Dirt in the infield, dirt in the outfield, dirt in the dugouts. Dirt in your shoes, dirt in your eyes, dirt in your hair. When you walked into your kitchen after […]

Broke or Dead?

By Tim Hayes You knew this was coming. The hyper-patriotic appeals to liberty being threatened by the oppressive state. The rising tide of economic pain swamping the boat of rational protection of oneself and others. The politicization and weaponizing of a pandemic. Thousands of Michigan residents flooded the state capitol in Lansing this week, toting […]

Business Blog: Dr. Pratt’s Mor

The Big Idea: Leaders should be visible. By Tim Hayes Each morning, as the sun tried to push through the watery cloudiness that stubbornly enveloped the sloping hills of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Dr. Willis Pratt stepped out of his flat and went for a stroll. Usually with a member of the maintenance crew in tow, Dr. […]

Jerry and Frank Take Manhattan

By Tim Hayes A conversation overheard on Broadway earlier this week… “Will ya look at dat, Frank?” “Whassat, Jerry?” “Look! Look around! Can you believe dis?” “I still ain’t followin’ ya, Jer.” “It’s five-a-clock in the aftanoon, we’re standin’ here in the middle’a Times Square, and we ain’t been hassled once all day!” “Why is […]

Blame Me for Boo-Berry

By Tim Hayes Eight years of Catholic elementary education sure served me well as a young lad. That’s not to say my little parochial school didn’t need to do some breakneck, heavy-handed, guilt-sodden fundraising on a regular basis, however. Because, trust me on this, we certainly did. It started with the annual Bazaar, a major […]

Who Are We?

By Tim Hayes Okay, so here we all find ourselves, smack in the middle of a global crap storm. Everyone called on to share the burden, the inconvenience, the frustration, the anxiety, and for far too many, the pain and suffering and loss. And then, of course, entering stage left – the assholes, idiots, and […]

Hello, April

By Tim Hayes What if, at some point today, every inhabitant of planet Earth froze in place, looked up to the sky, and listened intently to a booming, sonorous baritone ringing down at us from the depths of space: “APRIL FOOLS! I just wanted to get your attention, Kids! Ha, ha! Everything will be back […]

A Jarring Transformation

By Tim Hayes Jarring transformations make us sit up and take notice. You look around and nothing looks recognizable anymore. Scary, exciting, confusing, adrenaline-pumping. We see it in superhero movies all the time. A cosmic mishap or a super serum or a surge of radiation or the arrival of a denser molecular alien among us. […]

Idiot Cakes

By Tim Hayes During my senior year in college, many (MANY) moons ago, my roommate and I lived in an apartment with bunk beds, a couch, a TV, an Atari game console, a bathroom, and a kitchen with a sink, stove, and oven. I took the top bunk, we played a lot of “Pong” on […]

The Cleansing Fire

By Tim Hayes Remember “Bambi?” All anybody wants to talk about is his mother getting shot by hunters, and that’s surely a very sad element of the story. But there’s another part of the movie I always found fascinating. It parallels Bambi’s own trajectory, from naïve waif to majestic adult stag, after enduring the tragic […]

Scenes from a Pandemic

By Tim Hayes There’s some kind of bug out there, have you heard? Sorta contagious, I believe. There’s no traffic on the road, yet somebody bought all the meat from the supermarket. What the hell is going on? As most right-thinking people do, I went straight to Twitter for the REAL story. Nothing but straight, […]

Nimrods

By Tim Hayes Years ago, as each of the kids learned to drive, we shared some thrilling experiences together, as most parents and their offspring do. One evening, after a maiden solo voyage with the car, our young driver came home clutching a torn sheet of paper, which read in angry scribble: LEARN HOW TO […]

A Grudging Respect

By Tim Hayes High on my list of favorite movies sits one that most people never heard of. It features three elements of a film that appeal to me most – it’s set in Pittsburgh, it stars Sylvester Stallone, and it’s funny as hell. It’s called “Grudge Match,” and tells the story of two senior-citizen […]

A Debatable Process

By Tim Hayes One’s an unrepentant socialist, the other’s a reprehensible billionaire. One’s a smug know-it-all, the other’s a shrill know-it-all. One’s a stumblebum old man who’s losing his marbles, the other’s a one-note wonder who doesn’t know when to exit the stage. Listen, they’ll tell you all about what’s wrong with their opponents. And […]

Mrs. Hunter, My First Boss

By Tim Hayes It’s been said in the business world that the most troublesome — yet potentially game-changing – variable in any organization comes in the form of people. The hiring process, when you get down to the nub of it, can be a tremendous gamble. You may get lucky and hire the perfect candidate, […]

CPO Coat

By Tim Hayes Thirteen is a tough age. You’re still figuring out where you stand on the chessboard of popularity. Who’s in, who’s out, who’s knocking on the door. The steamy, sticky ooze of peer pressure seeps into your consciousness, setting up housekeeping in your brain, until you evict it somewhere after high school graduation. […]

Musings at Mid-Flight

By Tim Hayes As my consciousness burst forth from what had been a sound sleep, I could tell I had somehow become airborne. Or, perhaps more appropriately, earthbound. Twisting like an Olympic diver, I saw the nightstand whiz by. After my jaw had smacked off and been scraped by the sharp metal corner of it, […]

Field of Screams

By Tim Hayes Making a living as a self-employed entrepreneur has its advantages. Freedom, variety, exciting engagements, continually keeping abject terror at bay, to name just a few. But ranking near the top, for me anyway, comes the dress code. When with clients, of course, it’s business appropriate. But when working from my home office, […]

Proven Wrong, Thank God

By Tim Hayes The first time I saw the place, it made me confused, angry, and upset. Eight years later, I got married there – loving it then, and loving it still. Allow me to explain. My family had piled into the Chevelle and taken the 60-minute ride to visit one of my cousins, a […]

Glasses, Tinted Rose

We said goodbye to my mother-in-law this week. What follows is my eulogy, a tribute to someone who – despite wearing “rose-colored glasses” – was not naïve. She was optimistically realistic, always seeing the good in people and situations, making her so easy to love. Rest in peace, Mom. Glasses, Tinted Rose From the hills […]

Beefsteak Blessings

By Tim Hayes Our eldest daughter, an accomplished professional woman now, with two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, celebrated a birthday this past week. Our pride in all she has done and become has no bounds. This story occurs some years ago, when she was a lot smaller and the world seemed a lot simpler. […]

A Single Tear on a Silent Nigh...

By Tim Hayes Nothing felt right that Christmas Eve, and it had put me in a bad mood. I followed my parents, sisters, and grandmother into church for Midnight Mass, only to find that “our” pew – the one we had populated for years – had been usurped by a bunch of “twice-a-year” Catholics.  So […]

Revisiting 25 or 6 to 4

By Tim Hayes Anyone who writes for a living has been there. You’ve done the interviews, you’ve collected the information through research, the “reporting” part of the job has finished. Now comes the second act. Reading through all those notes and printouts and scribbles on one side of your desk, and glancing hesitantly at the […]

The Richest Man In Town

By Tim Hayes It started bubbling up, right on cue, as I knew it would. As soon as Mary throws open the front door and waves in half the town, with scatterbrained Uncle Billy carrying a large laundry basket full of bills and coins, dumping it onto the dining room table – I can feel […]

Plum Pudding

By Tim Hayes Of all the things I miss about Thanksgivings spent as a kid, few can be felt more keenly than going to my Aunt’s house with her family and mine sharing the bounteous feast together. First off, I loved this Aunt. She was naturally funny, warm, expressive, and embracing. I always felt happy […]

Long-Haired Music

By Tim Hayes Imagine being part of a sea of 2,500-plus dancing, shouting, singing revelers as the huge windup of the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” builds…Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhhh, WAAAAAAAA!!!…Shake it up baby! Twist and Shout!” Any guesses where this happened? At one of those knock-off Beatles tribute band concerts? Nope. On the streets of […]

Uncle Jim

By Tim Hayes My Uncle Jim was a bear of a guy, a man’s man, and it was impossible not to like him. He and my Aunt had three daughters, and since my Mom and Aunt were sisters, our family spent a lot of time at their house, and vice versa.  I loved them all, […]

Blockbuster Civility

By Tim Hayes We upgraded our cable TV service not too long ago, opening up expansive (and expensive) new vistas of options to waste time vegetating on the sofa. Indulging in one such stretch the other day, I discovered the “Buzzr” network, where they show old game shows. Clicking on something called “Blockbusters,” I settled […]

It’s Only Temporary

By Tim Hayes The evening prior to leading a day-long intense training and coaching program with about 60 managers of a global manufacturing company, a participant joined our table at dinner and struck up a conversation. This person was very much looking forward to hearing new thoughts and approaches to developing material to be presented […]

Towers

By Tim Hayes “’What do we do now?’ “Go back and watch any movie and you will see this line over and over again. And I dread reading scripts that have no women involved in their creation because inevitably I get to that part where the girl turns to the guy and she goes, ‘What […]

Finish the Play

By Tim Hayes So often in sports, especially football, during the post-game news conference a coach will lament a team’s loss by attributing it to not “finishing plays” – meaning that players failed to sustain their intensity and focus for the second longer it takes to make a tough catch, or tackle a speedy receiver, […]

Wisdom Highlights

By Tim Hayes Got a haircut the other day. For the past couple of years, as the clippings fall from my head onto the black cape, it jars me to look at the collection of snipped follicles collecting on my lap. Apparently, I’ve been turning steadily more gray with every turn in the stylist’s chair. […]

Rooftop Absolution

By Tim Hayes “The event is being held on floors three and four, Sir,” said the trim fellow holding the door open for me the other evening. Three and four? What did that mean? I followed the other attendees to the elevator and we all stepped off on the third floor, where the obligatory hors […]

Chain Break

By Tim Hayes For as long as we’ve lived in this neighborhood and its extended environs, we’ve seen him. Sweating in the summer, huffing in the winter, but always there. Like the tides, regular, predictable, a steady presence in an otherwise turbulent and chaotic world. Running. Down the steep quarter-mile roadway to the closest main […]

Sometimes the Tuba Loses

By Tim Hayes “Hayes, come and see me after school today – there’s a question I have for you,” said our high school band director. “Okay, Mr. B,” I replied, wondering whether I’d done something that would land me in trouble. Turned out not to be trouble, exactly. Only troubling. Later that day, in the […]

Bus Stop Stories

By Tim Hayes Driving out of our cul-de-sac the other morning, I spied a cluster of little kids, backpacks slung, faces eager and a little anxious, surrounded by moms looking every bit as nervous and excited. It’s been a few years since our little neighborhood has had that many young children, so the corner bus […]

Hatchet Job

By Tim Hayes Oh, the things we do for love, as the ‘70s pop band 10cc once sang. If only this story were about 10cc. Alas, it is not. This particular tale revolves around another band from that same era, Molly Hatchet. The mere mention of that name still sends shivers. Allow me to explain. […]

Normal

By Tim Hayes Some 25 years ago, the diagnosis first came down. Type 2 diabetes. Not really knowing all that the news would entail, life moved on. A new doctor added to the mix, some advice about diet and exercise, blood tests every few months. Not a huge imposition or swing to a radical alteration […]

Optical Delusions

By Tim Hayes On a rainy weekday lunch period in May, my friend Ken sat across the cafeteria table in our high school as we talked about moving on to college and whatever came after that. Ken liked math. He was good at it, and would go on to major in business and accounting. He […]

Landing at Dunkirk

By Tim Hayes As we climbed into the dark brown Chevelle, all of us, my Mom, Dad, and two sisters, for the drive up to Niagara Falls on a few days’ vacation, I immediately got into a scrap with my siblings over the usual topic. The middle seat in the back. The one with the […]

The Golden Rule(r)

By Tim Hayes At the age of nine, the lesson came home to me in a very real way. Courtesy of the Golden Ruler. And that’s not a typo. Although I suppose the Golden Rule could factor into the story, if you really want to stretch things. No, I mean the Golden Ruler. As in […]

Chef Is Displeased

By Tim Hayes After celebrating 37 of them, we have come to appreciate every wedding anniversary for the wonderful observance it represents, even as the details of one year’s celebration to the next have taken on vastly different directions and colors along the way. We’ve spent days luxuriating at mountaintop resorts. We’ve spent quiet evenings […]

There She Was…Smiling At Me

By Tim Hayes About three days before the wedding, when I was already living in our apartment in Indiana, PA, while my wife-to-be was still living in Pittsburgh, the phone rang after I got home from work, my sister on the other end. “Promise you won’t be mad?” she asked rather sheepishly, knowing how my […]

Falsity, Facts, and Facebook

By Tim Hayes The well-spoken, erudite, respected U.S. Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, uttered a few memorable sentences during his years serving under the Capitol Dome. But, as a one-time professional and ever-in-my-heart journalist, one of my favorite Moynihan-isms remained this gem: “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled […]

I Listened to the New Sound of...

By Tim Hayes The neighborhood kids thought nothing of walking up the hill to the main drag of our little borough, climbing on a bus or trolley into Downtown, walking around the streets and hitting the big department stores and sporting goods shops and pizza places. Just another way to kill time on a summer […]

Don’t Hit The Floor

By Tim Hayes Family legend has it, as my father got the word while in the waiting room at the hospital — because dads didn’t get to go in the delivery room back then — that a son had been born, he did what Hayes men have done down through the generations. He passed out […]

Mastering One’s McGoogles

By Tim Hayes In the silly, funny, harmless, but otherwise forgettable 2001 Disney film, “Max Keeble’s Big Move,” the school bully, Troy McGinty, is regularly – and hilariously – laid low, quivering in fear and tears, at the sight of a TV-character frog named “McGoogle.” Don’t ask. When he’s not throwing smaller kids into lockers, […]

Thank You, Col. Burnham

By Tim Hayes Among the back pages of a magazine many years ago, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, a small ad caught my eye: “P.O.W. Bracelets Available. Let them know you haven’t forgotten them.” For a nominal fee, I sent in the form and a few weeks later, received my Prisoner of […]

The Importance of Strategic Pa...

By Tim Hayes During a coffee shop conversation with a young student from my college alma mater the other day, I heard him say something that made me pause a second. “I think if you’re a decent person who works hard, you’ll do pretty well,” he said. It gave me pause not because I didn’t […]

Moms Are Awesome

By Tim Hayes “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington The Father of Our Country knew how important his mother was to his bearing, his success, his life. And if good old […]